This is a variation on a dish cooked for a dinner party by a Vietnamese-Thai friend. The original dish used salmon - seared so it was halfway cooked - but I changed it to blanched fresh shrimp. You can switch back to salmon, if you like, or use another type of fish that you don't mind eating almost raw. I also added cellophane noodles (also called mung bean noodles or vermicelli, fen si or glass noodles) to soak up the delicious sauce.
Because the carrot and celery are raw, they should be cut into small dice of 5mm (¼ in) or less. If the pieces are too large, the vegetables will be unpleasantly hard.
Cellophane noodles, which are brittle, come in bundles of different sizes. If you need to break up a bundle to get the amount needed for this dish, put the bundle in a bag and pull it apart in there, otherwise the noodles will fly all over the place.
Put the cellophane noodles in a bowl, add enough water to cover by about 2.5cm (1 in) and leave to soak while preparing the other ingredients.
Remove the heads and tails from the shrimp (save them to make shrimp stock or shrimp oil for another dish). Use a sharp knife to cut the shrimp down the back from the top to the tail, cutting deep enough that the shrimp can open and lay almost flat, but not so deep that you cut the shrimp in half. Remove the vein from the back of the shrimp.
Slice the cherry tomatoes into thin discs.
Cut the carrot and celery into small dice.
Slice the garlic cloves and put them into the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or immersion blender).
Roughly chop the palm sugar and add it to the garlic, along with about half the fish sauce. Blend to a smooth purée.
With the blender on, pour in the remaining fish sauce and the lime juice through the feed tube.
Drain the cellophane noodles in a colander.
Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add the cellophane noodles and cook until tender but still springy – do not overcook. Use a large flat slotted spoon/skimmer to scoop the noodles from the water, then drain them, rinse with cold water and drain again.
Heat the same pot of water to boiling. Add the shrimp, cook for about 30 seconds or until they curl, then scoop them from the water. Shake off the excess water, then drain the shrimp on paper towels.
Take a few strands of cellophane noodles and dip them in the fish sauce/garlic sauce. Taste the noodles to check the seasonings of the sauce and correct, if necessary.
Put the cellophane noodles in a bowl and add about half the sauce. Mix the ingredients to coat the strands with the sauce, then spread the noodles onto a serving plate.
Put the shrimp into the bowl that held the noodles, add a little of the sauce and mix briefly, then arrange the shrimp on top of the noodles.
Scatter the carrot and celery over the noodles, then add the tomato slices.
Cut some of the large leaves of mint into chiffonade and leave the smaller leaves whole. Arrange the chiffonade mint and whole leaves over the ingredients.
Drizzle the remaining sauce over the ingredients, then serve immediately.