Goi is a generic term for “salad” in Vietnamese. But typically it does not include lettuce like most traditional western salads. And just like the term “banh,” there are numerous different types of goi using different veggies, for example, goi ngo sen (lotus root), goi bap cai (cabbage), goi buoi (pomelo), goi du du (papaya), and goi bap chuoi (banana flower) to just name a few. Goi can also be name for the type of protein it contains, for example, goi ga (chicken), goi vit (duck), etc. What is almost a constant, however, is the dressing. Most are dressed with the familiar fish sauce based dressing, similar to the nuoc mam cham, but slightly more tart with additional lime.
The salad goi is also different from goi cuon which is the term for spring/summer roll–not sure why, but perhaps there is lettuce and other veggies wrapped inside. What is different about this particular salad we present today is that the veggies are first “brined” so to speak in salt, wilting it, but still leaving a great crunch!
Goi Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Salad) serves about 4
- 1 bunch of celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal
- 1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on a diagonal
- 3 carrots, thinly sliced on a diagonal or shredded
- 1 medium daikon, thinly sliced on diagonal or shredded
- 1 jalapeno, deseeded and sliced (optional)
- 1.5 tbs salt
- fried shallots
- roasted peanuts. coarsely crushed
- 1 package of instant jelly fish
- chopped cilantro
- nuoc mam cham but more tart with additional lime
- muslin cloth
- 1/2 lb medium shrimp headless shell on and deveined
- 1/2 ts salt
- 3 ts sugar
- 1 tbs white or rice vinegar
- 2 tbs water
- round shrimp chips – banh phong tom (optional)
In mixing bowl, combine thinly sliced celery, cucumbers, carrots, daikon, and jalapeno with 1.5 tbs salt and mix well. Cover and let it set in the fridge for about 1/2 hr.
In the meantime, poach the shrimp. Andrea at Viet World Kitchen has a quick and tasty way to poach shrimp. In saucepan, combine 1/2 ts salt, 3 ts sugar, 2 tbs water and 1 tbs vinegar. Heat with shrimp until it turns opaque and orange, stirring to cook evenly. Drain and set aside to cool, then peel and set aside. You can split them lengthwise if you like to get the appearance of more shrimp in the salad Remove instant jellyfish, rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.
By now the veggies will be more translucent in appearance and appear wilted. In colander, rinse off the salt well with cold water. Working in small batches, place the vegges in a muslin cloth and wring out the liquid—flex your muscles and try to get as much of the liquid out. Return the veggies to mixing bowl, add the jelly fish and shrimp. Serve topped with peanuts, fried shallots, chopped cilantro and dress with the more tart nuoc mam cham dressing. Banh phong tom, the round shrimp chips also make a great accompaniment.
Note: “Instant” jelly fish is can be found at most Asian groceries. It’s much easier to work with then the salted ones. If you don’t have muslin cloth, you can just use your hands to wring out veggies.