Recipe: Vietnamese-style Prawn & Rice Salad Bowls

I must apologise, because these photos are the sort of thing I was sharing back in about 2017, before I discovered the joys of professional backdrops, and I’d really learnt which spots around the house have the best photography light! I’m still in a holding pattern with DHL for a new backdrop to keep here at my parents house (I buy all of mine from Capture by Lucy, I love that they are food safe, wipe clean, and are delivered in handy tubes that are great for storage!) but it turns out that the window where I shoot most of my beautiful Christmas images has awful light at this time of year. However, these super customisable, bright and wonderfully fresh Vietnamese-style Prawn & Rice Salad Bowls I threw together for lunch the other day scraping around in the fridge and the freezer for fresh ingredients were just too good not to share, even if I’m not quite happy with the photos that go with! 

How is everyone doing, food-wise? I finally went to Waitrose yesterday because we were running way too low on fresh fruit and vegetables (we’ve still got plenty in the freezer and lots of tins and jars of things, but I figured that those ought to be saved in case I returned from the store empty handed) and while it took me well over an hour to do the shop – most of the time spent queuing around the car park to be let in so there were not too many people in the store at one time – it was such a relief to see so much fresh produce on the shelves. Okay, there were still a lot of massive empty spaces on the shelves – for example the only flour I could get was pasta flour but that is okay because I’ve got loads of duck eggs that we were kindly able to buy from a local farmer with their nice yellow yolks to make some homemade tagliatelle, and the only chicken was a solitary packet of chicken drumsticks now destined for a lunchtime batch of Mummy’s Spiced Island Chicken Drumsticks or else a new maple-mustard number that should be up on the BBC Food website soon (well, if the photographer can get the ingredients to shoot it that is!) – but the trip in itself, from what I could buy to the amount of care staff and other shoppers were taking to keep everyone safe and healthy was really encouraging.

So anyway, these rice bowls. Any cooked cold rice will do, whatever you’ve got, but I found a box of a pretty basmati and wild rice mix in the cupboard. Any crunchy veg you’d usually find on an Asian-style salad is perfect here – along with our end of a piece of cucumber, radishes, spring onions and cucumber, snap peas and finely shredded red chillis for an added kick would also be a wonderful addition, or even cubed avocado which always holds up beautifully under an Asian-style dressing. For herbs I’d recommend whatever you have out of fresh coriander, mint (you can see the fresh leaves picked out of a dying bag here!) or even basil, and while I would usually use big, plump cooked king prawns here, those little Atlantic ones that go great in a prawn cocktail worked beautifully in a pinch.  

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Vietnamese-style Prawn & Rice Salad Bowls

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese


A simple, customisable Vietnamese-style prawn and rice salad loaded up with lots of crunchy vegetables and fresh herbs, with a sharp Vietnamese-style dressing served alongside for drizzling.


  • 120g (4 oz) rice (I used a basmati and wild rice mix)
  • 100g (3.5 oz) cooked prawns
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/4 english cucumber
  • 4 large radishes
  • 3 large spring onions
  • large handful fresh mint and coriander
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp sweet chilli sauce
  • pinch sugar


  1. Cook the rice as per the packet instructions. Either drain and leave to cool (but be careful, warm rice left too long on the countertop can grow harmful bacteria) or rinse under the cold tap before leaving to drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the veggies. This is of course up to personal preference, but I like to peel the carrot and slice it into thin batons, peel and half moon the cucumber, slice the radishes and shred the spring onions. Roughly chop the herbs.
  3. To make the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the fish sauce, lime juice, sweet chilli sauce and a pinch of sugar (any will do) until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Divide the rice between two shallow bowls and arrange the prawns, vegetables and herbs. Serve with the dressing on the side to spoon over between mouthfuls.