Lotus Stem Salad--Goi Ngo Sen

6 to 8 shrimp, poached, peeled, and halved lengthwise

1 8 oz jar of lotus stems, drained, cut into 2-inch lengths on the diagonal

3--5 TBS rau ram (daun laksa/Vietnamese coriander) chopped 

2 TBS fried shallots

2--3 TBS roasted peanuts, chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely minced

1 red chili, seeded and minced

2--4 tsp fish sauce

2 TBS fresh lime juice

1 1/2--2 TBS sugar

First, make the dressing by mixing the garlic, chili, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar.  Stir well to completely dissolve the sugar.  

After stirring the cut stems with the disposable chopsticks or bamboo skewers in a bowl of water for several minutes, drain.  Place in a shallow bowl and add the dressing and rau ram.  Mix well.  Place the halved shrimp on top.  Sprinkle with shallots and peanuts.  Serve with shrimp crackers.