1 lg Head of Boston or other
-soft lettuce, separated -into individual leaves 1 bn Of scallions, cut into
-2-inch lengths 1 c Coriander leaves
1 c Mint leaves
1 c Fresh Asian or regular
-basil leaves 1 Cucumber, peeled in
-alternating strips, halved -lengthwise and slice -thinly crosswise 4 oz Fresh bean sprouts
Pickled shallots (optional) On a large platter, decoratively arrange all of the ingredients in separate groups. Use in recipes where required. This is a basic thing in Vietnamese cuisine, served with all sorts of grilled foods. Such uses of raw veggies herbs are one of the things about Vietnamese cuisine that makes it so fresh and appealing. Vietnamese meals include an abundance of fresh lettuce, herbs, unripe fruits and raw vegetables. These are arranged attractively on a platter and are used for wrapping cooked foods at the table, usually dipped in Nuoc Cham and eaten out of hand. The following herbs, both very important to the Vietnamese, would be authentic additions to the Vegetable Platter: One is the "saw leaf herb" (Eryngium foetidium), or ngo gai in Vietnamese), a coriander relative. The other is polygonum (P. pulchrum or rau ram in Vietnamese), with pinkish stems, pointed green leaves and purplish markings. They can be found occasionally at Southeast Asian markets. If you have access to unripe mango, banana, papaya or apple and star fruit (carambola), add them to the platter. You may select or substitute the ingredients according to availability and personal taste. Yield: 4 to 6 servings. From "The Foods of Vietnam" by Nicole Rauthier. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. 1989. Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; March 18 1991.
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