Kerabu (Bean Sprout Salad)

Ingredients

1 cup grated fresh coconut or soaked desiccated coconut

1 cup each of the following – bean sprouts, trimmed. (Scald, if you wish, by running boiling water through them in a sieve but quickly follow with cold water to keep them crisp); cucumber, finely sliced; green beans and snow peas sliced on the diagonal; Chinese cabbage, finely sliced; carrot, julienned

2 tbsp dried prawns

4 spring onions, finely sliced

A handful of Vietnamese mint, finely sliced

6 red chillies, finely sliced (less if you like)

2 tbsp lime juice, (more if you like)

1 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp Natvia (optional)

Method

Roast the fresh coconut in a heavy, dry pan until light brown and aromatic, then either pound it in a mortar and pestle or put in a processor until it resembles bread crumbs brown sugar. (If you are using desiccated coconut, steam it for about 30 minutes first.)

Wash the dried prawns, drain, dry and grind them coarsely, either in a mortar and pestle or processor.

In a large bowl, combine the coconut, vegetables, prawns, spring onions, mint and chillies.

Toss with lime juice and fish sauce to taste. Natvia will give you the sweetness that usually goes with Asian dishes. Use instead of white or palm sugar.

This is a refreshing side that goes well with the dark, highly spiced dishes of the north