The term “man” (plum) here should be explained right away: it is the Southern plum which is the “roi” fruit as called by Northerners. Plum belongs to the Prunus genus of plant. Its flowers bloom in bunches, spreading fragrance. Its timber trunk carries plenty of essence oil. It grows sparsely in many regions along the country, but the species of best taste—deliciously sweet—can only be found in the Western South. The plum in this area not only is very good for heat relieving but also is a rich source of ingredient for many dishes, or being preserved to make drinks or wines. According to people from Dong Thap Province, “Plum salad is the quickest to make, but we must try to find enough plums of different colors. Thus, we have to stop by the main regional fruit market in Cai Be, Tien Giang Province where plums grown along the Mekong River are transmitted to reach all over the country.” On hot days, taking in a chopstick-full of flakes of plum salad, we will sense various layers of flavors unraveled, blended but still clearly distinctive: sour, slightly sour, sour-sweet, luscious; yet all are of the same delicate plum flavor which cannot be mistaken
PLUM SALAD WITH DRIED SNAKEHEAD FISHPrint This
- INGREDIENTS FOR THE SALAD
- 150g white plum
- 150g red plum
- 150g green plum
- 150g pink plum
- 300g one-sun dried snakehead fish
- 50g Vietnamese cilantro
- 50g dry roasted peanuts
- 10g red cayenne pepper
- 30g shallots
- 30ml cooking oil
- 10ml lime extract
- INGREDIENTS FOR THE DRESSING
- 5g ground red chili
- 10g ground garlic
- 30ml lime extract
- 50g sugar
- 30ml fish sauce
- ACCOMPANYING INGREDIENTS
- 4 prawn crackers
Preparation: Rinse well all the plums, remove the stems, cut into morsels of around 5mm thick. Immediately soak them all in ice water blended with lime extract to avoid blackening. Rinse and finely chop the Vietnamese cilantro. Cut the chili into short shoestrings. Peel and thinly slice the shallot.
Process: Grill the one-sun dried snakehead fish over charcoal fire, or fry in oil until crispy. Pound, then shred the fish into bite-size pieces while removing all the bones and the head. Fry the shallot in a pan with 30ml cooking oil until browned. Continue to put in the shredded fish, stir quickly then turn off the oven. Take out the fish with fried shallot and place all on a serving dish.
Blend the dressing: Mix 30g lime extract with 50g sugar, then add 30ml fish sauce, blend well. The dressing is right when it tastes sour-sweet. Add 5g ground chili and 10g ground garlic, stir thoroughly.
Make the salad: Take out the plums already soaked in water, drain till dry then put them in a big bowl. Put in the fish, Vietnamese cilantro and chili. Gradually spoon over the dressing, mix well and taste to favor of sweet-sour flavor.
Arrange the salad on a plate, sprinkle crushed roasted peanut on top. It is served with prawn crackers or grilled rice paper.
The plums are evenly cut, not too small to easily break off or be less crunchy. The salad flavor is sour-sweet, a bit acrid as a feature of plums. The dried fish has a deep fragrance and blends well with the flavor of the plums. The crunchiness of the plums remains.
Select the dried fish with clear flesh, slightly salted (it should be tasted after grilling, before mixing in the salad)
The dressing should not be blended all at once to avoid an excessively salty taste. The salad should be served right after mixing to avoid becoming soggy.
The dried fish should be soaked in water from 1 to 2 hours, then take it out to fry or grill.
EFFECTS OF THIS DISH
It is healthy for persons with asthenic body syndrome, blood lipid disorder, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, diminished memory, difficult digestion, and constipation. It helps prevent contemporary sicknesses, such as heart failure, diabetes, high fat level in the blood, and cancer.
TRAN MINH DUNG Song Tra Hotel (Dong Thap Province) Runner-up in the Southern regional semifinal round of the Golden Spoon Awards 2013