Introduction: Raw Swordfish Asian Salad

About: Bought my own lil' place now. So the first thing I made was my coffee table. Time for more things soon! But about me? I know useless facts that no one needs, love science and all the funny useless facts, tenn…

EDIT: I orginally entered this Instructable into the raw foods contest and it was rejected due to the Soy sauce and the Fish sauce not being considered raw foods. While the sauce's themselves prepared in traditional ways would be considered raw. Store bought soy and fish sauces have components in themselves that would not be considered raw when mass producing them. The soybean component in both the sauces is the main one that is actually cooked when mass produced. There are a couple of guides floating around on the net to produce them yourself in very traditional ways. So maybe next time I'll be doing that :)

Soon I'll be back with some more woodworking instructables. See you all soon!

Hello again Instructables, I'm back...with food!

About this dish

I lived and worked in Chicago for about 2 years a little while back as a food microbiologist doing testing for food companies or research. Some of the interesting research I was involved in was shelf life studies and challenge studies which revolved around having a low pH (high acid levels) to kill a certain level of micro-organisms and then determining how long the product would be good for on the shelf and how long it would be until it expired. Thus, determining an approximate use by date.

One thing that confused some Americans when I made this dish or a similar dish was "how does an Australian know different styles of Asian cooking?" Well, how does the United States know Mexican cooking so well? The same reason, they are our next door neighbours. A suburb, at least in my state of Australia (Victoria), would not be complete without a Chinese and/or a Japanese, Thai or Vietnamese restaurant. Asian cooking is so prevalent in Australia that many finer dining places are doing a fusion of traditional European food and Asian food.


  • Half a red onion.
  • Half a cucumber.
  • A red capsicum.
  • A baby Chinese cabbage (Wombok).
  • A cup of peanuts or cashews.
  • Raw/Kelp noodles (these are not always raw, so check the packaging)


  • 3 lemons
  • Light soy sauce (or dark if you want a more salty taste).
  • Sweet chilli sauce (easy sweet chilli is 1 cup of a juiced pine apple and 5 hot diced chillies, refrigerate it for 1 hour).
  • Brown or raw sugar.
  • Fish sauce.
  • Fresh mint (but the goopy tube mint stuff from the supermarket does suffice).
  • Fresh basil (goopy tube stuff does suffice as well).
  • 1-3 fresh mild chillies, depending on personal taste.

The acid 'cook'

  • 500-600g of Swordfish.
  • 6 limes
  • 1-3 small hot chillies, depending on personal taste.

Some extra info (Please read!)

Extra statement about this recipe. This recipe mainly revolves around the adding or subtracting of ingredients. You can easily sub in any fish instead of sword fish, but note that the pinker the meat the longer you have to leave it in the lime juice. Salmon for instance, should be left for about 8-10 hours for it to be ready to eat. Also if you are lazy, or a vegetarian, this salad with no meat goes quite well for dinner or a packed worked lunch. I have also done this salad with pan cooked beef or chicken, and that works well as well. I've also substituted the cabbage for spinach or lettuce and it's worked fine. So, if you can't find all the ingredients, try to imagine a good substitute for what you are missing and subject to your tastes. The dressing is what mainly makes this a really yummy meal, and getting a good acid ratio with respect to salt, spice and the fresh herbs can be hard. So try not to play with that part too much.

Raw foods have a higher relative risk to bacterial contamination. So please, I take no responsibility for what you are about to make at home and consume. But please wash your hands before handling the raw fish, after the raw fish and before you handle the other food stuff. Simply washing your hands drastically reduces the risk of cross contamination from different foods and from yourself! Make sure you know your ingredients, and if you are totally unsure, don't take the risk and just cook it. Bacterial food borne illnesses are something you do not want to suffer from. Don't think of it just as a bit of gastro. Salmonella or E. Coli can cause organ failure and do significant damage to one's health. So, please, please, please, refrigerate your food stuff and make sure everything is as fresh as possible.

A quick read on salmonella poisoning.

The U.S. CDC info on washing your hands.

Step 1: Create Your Lime Acid Cook (Ceviche Style)

Cooking meat can be done without heat!? Cooking can be done without heat. Cooking something is the act of denaturing proteins or preparing food stuffs. Acid cooking is another way in which to cook. Embrace the acid sourness of limes and lemons.

  1. Dice the swordfish into 1cm cubes and put them into a bowl.
  2. Juice the 6 limes and pour over the fish.
  3. Put cling wrap over the bowl and then shake for a few seconds, making sure the fish settles and is completely covered by the lime juice.
  4. Place the bowl into the fridge for at least 1 hour. We actually left ours for 1 1/2 hours and some pieces were still slightly rare in the centre, which is fine but the longer the fish is left the longer the 'cooking' process continues and the more well done it will be.

Step 2: Spice Up the Acid Cook

NOTE: If you are not a fan or you have a guest that is not a fan of hot foods, skip this step. Seriously, I love hot spicy food. But the longer you leave chilli with something else in a liquid, the chilli infuses all its heat into whatever your about to eat and it will get pretty darn hot.

After the hour of curing is up, grab those 2 small hot chillies and slice them up as finely as you can. Throw them into your acid cook, seeds and all.

If you are not able to complete the next two steps (of making up the salad base and the dressing) in 30 minutes then grab the now spicy acid cooked fish and drain it. If you leave it with the chilli too long, it will get pretty darn spicy.

On another side note: when you typically cook up an Asian dish and you have just soy source to drizzle over it, a quick and easy change to that soy source is 1 cup of soy, 2 crushed lemongrass stems and 2 mild chillies. Add it all together. This can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Step 3: Create the Salad Base

While the fish is curing, prepare the salad.

Add the following to a large serving bowl... and make it a large one, you will hand mix these things

  • Finely slice up the red onion, cucumber and red capsicum.
  • Shred the baby Chinese cabbage and throw it on top.
  • Add the raw nuts.
  • Crush the raw rice noodles and add them.

Wash your hands with soap and water and hand toss the salad.

Step 4: One of My Favourite Dressings.

I love this sauce, the fresh mint and basil really compliment these sweet and sourness of it all.

  1. Juice 3 lemons into a bowl.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of fish sauce.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce.
  5. Add 4 tablespoons of freshly chopped mint.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped basil.
  7. Add 2 finely chopped mild chillies (including seeds).
  8. Add 3 teaspoons of brown sugar.

Step 5: Pull That Fish Out of the Fridge.

Ok, an hour is up. Drain the fish out, don't worry too much about picking off any of the chilli, unless you have someone eating it who isn't a chilli fan, then perform the tedious step of removing the chilli and seeds. Have a taste of one of the pieces. If you find it a bit too sour, rinse the fish under cold water to rid it of some of the lime juice and then paper blot the cubes dry quickly.

Put the newly acid cooked fish on to a small plate.

Step 6: Serve It Up!

Awesome, serve it up in the separate bowls and plates (salad, fish and dressing). The reason why I keep them separate is that if you won't eat it all in one go, adding the sauce to the salad can make it soggy for the next day. But if you have some guests around and think you'll eat the lot up, add the fish over the salad evenly and then add the sauce over the salad evenly. Try to distribute the mint and basil that clumps up in the sauce evenly across the salad.

It's a colourful dish, and an easy warm and hot weather meal.


Big thanks to my partner who helped prep the recipe with me and helped write this Instructable.