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Vietnamese Cucumber Salad with Steamed Fish

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Serves: 4

For the Salad
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2-1 tablespoon grated palm sugar or raw caster (superfine) sugar
4 Lebanese short cucumbers, cut into 2cm / 3/4 in chunks
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 large pear
1 small handful Vietnamese mint
1 small handful Thai basil

2 lemon grass stems, trimmed and finely chopped
80ml / 2 1/2 fl oz fish sauce
50g / 1 3/4 oz grated palm sugar or raw caster (superfine) sugar
1kg / 2 lb 4 oz cod fillets
80g / 2 3/4 oz chopped roasted unsalted peanuts


To make the salad, combine the lime juice and sweet chilli sauce in a large bowl and add the fish sauce and palm sugar, to taste. Add the cucumber and onion. Quarter and core the pear, slice it thinly and add it to the bowl. Chop half the mint and basil leaves, add to the bowl and toss to coat. Cover and set aside in a cool place for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, combine the lemon grass, fish sauce and palm sugar in a large bowl. Slice the cod into 1cm / 1/2 in thick slices and add to the bowl. Toss to coat, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Line a large bamboo steamer with baking paper and cover with as many slices of cod as will fit in a single layer. Place over a wok or saucepan of boiling water and steam for 4 minutes, or until cooked through. Repeat with the remaining fish.

To serve, toss the remaining mint leaves and the peanuts through the salad. Divide among 4 serving plates and top with the fish and the remaining basil leaves.

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