Vietnamese Lotus Stem Salad with Shrimp (Goi Ngo Sen)

  • Preparation: 15 mins
  • Cooking: 15 mins
  • Skill level: Easy
  • Servings: 4

Description Vietnamese Lotus Stem Salad with Shrimp (Gỏi Ngó Sen)

Everyone hears about the freshness and interesting flavors that make Vietnamese food unique and exciting. Especially for those seeking refuge from salads made up of Green Leaf lettuce covered in oil and vinegar with the hope of taking a few pounds off their waste line. Now, I am not promising that Vietnamese Salads don’t have their fair amount of sugar but they are absent in oil.
The best Vietnamese salad when going out to eat at a large family style beer restaurant with friends and family for me personally is Vietnamese Lotus Stem Salad with Shrimp (Goi Ngo Sen). The crisp provided by the Lotus Stem, the freshness from the herbs, umami from the pork and shrimp, and sweet and sour from the Fish Sauce Dressing make this an incredible side dish to start off with. So when ordering on a night out, I will normally start the feast with this or a similar dish on the menu.


  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 6 fresh medium shrimp (about 5 oz/150 g)
  • 8 oz (250 g) lotus or celery stems, cleaned and cut into lengths
  • 1 tablespoon minced polygonum leaves (rau ram)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon crushed roasted unsalted peanuts
  • Sprigs of coriander leaves (cilantro), to garnish
  • Shrimp crackers, to serve Fish Sauce Dip, for dipping
  • Crispy Fried Shallots
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 4 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots (about 6 shallots)

Method Vietnamese Lotus Stem Salad with Shrimp (Gỏi Ngó Sen)

1, To make the Crispy Fried Shallots, heat the oil in a skillet over low heat until hot. Stir-fry the shallots for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until fragrant and transparent. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
2, In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Poach the shrimp for about 30 seconds until pink and just cooked. Remove and set aside to cool. Peel and devein, then halve each shrimp lengthwise.
3, Combine the lotus stems, polygonum leaves, sugar, lime juice and salt in a large bowl and toss to mix well. Transfer to a serving platter.
4, Arrange the shrimp halves on top of the salad and sprinkle with peanuts and Crispy Fried Shallots. Garnish the salad with coriander leaves (cilantro) and serve with shrimp crackers and a bowl of Fish Sauce Dip on the side.

Chef's Note

Most Vietnamese salads are quickly and easily assembled once the preparation is done, and often requiring no more than a light toss with a small amount of dressing just before serving. To save time, you can buy the Crispy Fried Shallots. These are available in packets or jars in most Asian food stores.

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