This is the brightest, lightest way you could eat seafood. Lovely, refreshing ingredients coated with a salty–sour sweet Vietnamese dressing. If you can’t find whole squid, then use one large or two small squid tubes. Poh Ling Yeow,
60 g glass vermicelli
250 gsquid, including tentacles, cleaned
2 leaves iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
1 carrot, shredded or cut into matchsticks
1 fresh long red chilli, thinly sliced
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 continental cucumber, quartered lengthways, seeds removed, cut on the diagonal into 2 mm thick slices
4 radishes, thinly sliced
½ cup roughly chopped coriander, stalks included
½ cup mint
2–3 tbsp roughly chopped salted peanuts
2 tbsp deep-fried shallots
60 ml (¼ cup) boiling water
2 tbsp caster sugar
60 ml (¼ cup) fish sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 fresh long red chilli, finely chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the dressing, combine the water, sugar, fish sauce, vinegar and lemon juice. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Leave to cool to room temperature.
Cook the vermicelli in a saucepan of boiling water until it is tender but with a bite. Rinse well in cool water, then drain.
Slice the squid tentacles into bite-sized pieces. Slice the tube on 1 side only, then open it up with the inner side facing up. Taking care not to pierce all the way through, score a lattice pattern 4 mm apart over the entire surface. Cut in half lengthways , then cut into 5 cm squares. Drop the squid pieces into a saucepan of boiling water, then, as soon as they curl up, remove and immediately drop into a bowl of iced water. Drain well, then pat dry with paper towel.
Place the vermicelli, squid, lettuce, carrot, chilli, onion, cucumber, radish and coriander in a bowl. Tear in the mint. Add the garlic and chilli to the dressing and stir to mix, then add the dressing to the salad and mix well. Garnish with the peanuts and fried shallots, then serve.
• You can buy deep fried shallots from most supermarkets and Asian grocers.