Isn’t she just the prettiest salad? Just look at those colours! It has been about a month now, and we are both going strong in our ketogenic, low-carb, no-added-sugar diet, and we are pleased to say this Vietnamese-inspired salad fits right into that. This baby is not only gorgeous to the eye, but she is also low in carbs, low in sugar, high in nutrients, paleo, gluten free, ketogenic and south beach diet phase one-friendly. Wham!
She isn’t hard to prepare, too. Of course, without adding any honey or sugar, balancing her dressing is the key to the entire dish, so just taste as you go along so you don’t end up with something so sour, the prawns would curl up even more and jump out of the bowl! Also, please get as fresh ingredients as you can as you would need the sweetness from those plump prawns; purple cabbage and onions to bring in the sweet factor without the unnecessary glycemic load. That, together with the freshness of the herbs, and the spice from the chili can carry the weight of that sour dressing with aplomb.
If you want more low-carb recipe ideas, try our Crab It salad, or our Spicy Chicken, which we serve on sleek little endive ‘boats’. Another favorite is the Pan-Seared Barramundi in creamy coconut-lemon sauce.
- 1/2 medium white cabbage, shredded
- 1/2 medium purple cabbage, shredded
- 1 large purple onion, sliced and soaked in cold water
- I large red chilies, sliced
- About 16 medium to large prawns, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup mint, chopped
- 1/3 cup cashew nuts, toasted and rough chopped
- Additional cilantro and mint for garnish
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Combine all the dressing ingredients and a quarter of the sliced red chillies together. Whisk well to combine.
- Remove 1/4 cup of the dressing and set the rest aside for later.
- Use the 1/4 cup dressing to marinade the prawns, flipping the prawns over ever so often to coat well. Leave to marinade for about half an hour.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the white cabbage for a minute, remove and shock in cold water to prevent further cooking. Drain, dry with kitchen towel and set aside.
- Now to cook the prawns. Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat. When hot, place the prawns on the skillet.
- Pour some of the marinade on each piece, keeping half for when you flip the prawns over.
- Cook for about 2 - 2.5 minutes (depending on size of prawns). Give the pan a slight shake every now and then to prevent the seafood from sticking. Don't let the pan get too hot.
- Turn each prawn over, pour over the other half of the marinade, and cook for a further 2 - 2.5 minutes or until just cooked through. Quickly remove from the pan so they don't overcook.
- Now it's time to assemble the rainbow! In a large bowl, layer the purple cabbage, white cabbage, onions (which have been drained), sliced chilies, chopped mint and cilantro. Repeat until they are all used up.
- Pour over 3/4 of the dressing, and give the salad a good toss (we find by layering the salad ingredients first, you get to stir the salad up more evenly and without the chilies all getting lumped at the bottom). Have a taste before adding the rest of the dressing. You may not need all of it.
- Top the colourful salad with the meaty prawns (all browned from the caramelised dressing), toasted cashew nuts, and remaining herbs. Serve and watch it disappear.