Nuoc cham is a Vietnamese sauce than can be used in many ways: as a dressing over a chicken noodle salad or an Asian beef salad filled with herbs and fried tofu, or as a dipping sauce for spring rolls, prawns or oysters. You'll need to prep this recipe the night before, but for a quicker, easier salad, you can replace the salmon with barbecued pork or roast chicken (just strip the flesh off the bird).
400g salmon fillet
3 tbsp fish sauce
60ml peanut oil
2 tbsp uncooked jasmine rice
1/2 Chinese cabbage, very finely shredded
100g bean sprouts
6 red shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 long red chillies, seeded, julienned
4 small dried red chillies, fried in a little peanut oil until black
180ml nuoc cham
Rub the salmon with the fish sauce and marinate overnight.
Sear the salmon in peanut oil in a very hot pan to get a good dark crust on it. Cook to medium.
To roast the rice, heat the rice in a frying pan over a very low heat until it starts to turn opaque. Crush the rice in a mortar with a pestle. (You may wish to use a blender, but I find that renders the rice too fine and powdery.)
Put the cabbage, bean sprouts, shallots and chillies in a bowl and dress with the nuoc cham. Marinate for 5 minutes.
Add the salmon to the bowl with the other ingredients and toss.
Place the mixture in the middle of a large plate and sprinkle with the rice.
SOMETHING TO DRINK
Hailing from the Wachau Valley on the Danube River in Austria, Domäne Wachau Terrassen Federspiel ($23) is a lively wine with white flowers and green melon on the nose, while the palate is dry with a hint of spice and acidity. Its light, dry texture beautifully complements the texture of the salmon.
Photography by William Meppem. Food styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.