I just love the freshness of Vietnamese herbs and the way they are traditionally used in simple salads. My friend Hieu has recently opened a new branch of his restaurant Cay Tre in the heart of Soho – and he always has a great selection of salads on his menu with these delicious fragrant raw herbs – which, for me, is what makes Vietnamese food unique.
A couple of handfuls of Vietnamese herbs, washed (sawtooth, parilla, coriander, Thai basil, knotweed etc)
1 small carrot, peeled, thinly sliced and shredded into matchstick-like pieces
6 spring onions, thinly sliced on the angle
8 mangetout, finely shredded
24 or so emperor prawns, or Red Sea prawns
For the dressing
1tbsp fish sauce
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2tsp caster sugar
1tbsp black rice vinegar
30g ginger or galangal, finely grated
The juice of 1 lime
First, mix all of the ingredients together for the dressing and leave to stand for an hour. Toss the herbs with the carrot, spring onion, mangetout and prawns and season. Arrange on plates and serve.