Lotus Stem Salad with Shrimp (Goi Ngo Sen)

Lotus Stem Salad with Shrimp Goi Ngo Sen
Lotus Stem Salad with Shrimp Goi Ngo Sen
This image courtesy of Heinz Von Holzen

Editor's Note: If you think you've seen the last word on salads, think again! This recipe for Lotus Stem Salad with Shrimp (Goi Ngo Sen) will quickly become part of your weekly meal planning. You'll love the combination of textures and flavors that are inherent in this dish.

The lotus flower is the symbol of purity. The stems make a delicious salad, as they have a crisp, crunchy texture similar to celery (which may be used as a substitute).

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.

Serves4 to 6

Preparation Time20 min

Cooking Time3 min

Cooking MethodPoaching


Total TimeUnder 30 minutes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get Together

MealDinner, Lunch

Type of DishSalad


  • Salad Ingredients
  • 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)
  • 1½ 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 Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 4 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots (about 6 shallots)


To Make The Crispy Fried Shallots

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over low heat until hot. 

  2. Stir-fry the shallots for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until fragrant and transparent. 

  3. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

To Make The Salad

  1. 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.

  2. 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. 

  3. 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 (page 26) on the side.


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