This past Saturday the C & C Club got together for a delicious Vietnamese dinner. The hostess sent me this recipe and I was delighted to make it.
- 2 Thai, Fresno or serrano chiles, chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 to 2 1/2 or more tablespoons fish sauce
- 5 plus tablespoons unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar
- 3 carrots, cut into julienne or matchsticks
- 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced (1 cup / 115 g total)
- 4 cups packed / 200 g shredded red cabbage
- 3 plus tablespoons chopped fresh mint and/or basil (Thai or Italian) leaves
- 3/4 cup toasted cashew halves and pieces
- Use a mortar and pestle to mash the chile, garlic, ½ teaspoon sugar, and salt into an smooth paste. Scrape it into a bowl and add the remaining teaspoon of sugar, fish sauce and rice vinegar. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Taste and tweak to create a spicy, tart, savory, lightly garlicky dressing.I added more fish sauce and more rice wine vinegar.
- In a large bowl, combine the carrot, fennel, cabbage, herb, and cashew. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well, either with tongs or better yet, with your hand in a gentle massaging motion. The vegetables will soften slightly but remain a little crunchy. Taste and adjust the flavors to your liking, balancing the sour, sweet, salty, and spicy. Transfer to a serving plate, leaving any unabsorbed dressing behind, and serve.