Lotus Rootlet and Cucumber Salad, Lime Dressing and Fried Shallots

Gỏi Ngó Sen

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    4 to 6

    servings as part of a multi-dish meal

Appears in

These tubular lotus roots are an excellent example of how keeping a well-stocked pantry allows you to quickly assemble Asian dishes “on the fly.” All you need are fresh cucumbers, carrots, herbs and lime juice. The rest comes from the cabinets. If you find large, fresh lotus roots, they can be used in place of the canned ones I use here. Just peel them, slice them thinly, and then boil them for five minutes. The rest of the recipe remains the same.

If you want to make this into a vegetarian dish, replace the fish sauce with soy sauce. Conversely, adding cooked shrimp or chicken can elevate this to a main dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 jar (16 oz. / 454 g.) Lotus rootlets (jarred)
  • 1 cup cumber strips, Kirby variety preferred, bite size strips about ¼ inch (0.6 cm.) thick
  • ¼ cup Julienne carrots, Asian style, about inch (.1 cm.) thick (0.2 cm)
  • 1 medium Thai bird chilies, thinly sliced, about inch (0.3 cm.) thick
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. Fish sauce (nước mắm)
  • ¼ cup Lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. Granulated sugar
  • ½ cup Vietnamese coriander leaves (rau răm) or mint leaves
  • ¼ cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Fried shallots or store bought

Method

  1. Empty jar of lotus rootlets (with liquid) into a large mixing bowl. Using wooden or bamboo chopsticks (chopsticks that have a coarse texture) stir the lotus rootlets to encourage their fine fibers to stick to the chopsticks, removing them from the rootlets. This will be awkward: Be persistent, and push them around for a few minutes.
  2. Drain all of the liquid; cut the stems into 2 to 3 pieces each (about 1½-inch lengths (3.8 cm). Into the bowl with the lotus rootlets, add the cucumbers, carrots, chilies, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Marinate 30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Taste the lotus rootlets; adjust seasoning as needed. Toss in the herbs. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with the fried shallots.