My Thai Salad, my Thai seafood salad to be exact! There’s something very cleansing and pure about this seafood salad. Lots of lovely seafood and vegetables tangled in thick rice noodles with a delectable hot, spicy, sweet, sour dressing that is very light but still packs a punch.
A Thai salad is an incredible thing; the combination of Thai flavours with the variety and freshness of ingredients easily creates a dish that can become habitual in your consumption.
Whilst travelling through Thailand I went to a Thai cookery school in Chang Mai and had a fabulous day wandering through the markets to buy ingredients and eventually cook our lunch.
One of the dishes we made was the ubiquitous papaya salad. Papaya salad is probably one of the most famous salads in Thailand, and most of Asia. I’ve used some of the principles of that salad to create a great my Thai Seafood Salad that the homecook can whip-up out-side of Asia.
One of the things you start to notice when eating in Asia is that a lot of the food always feels really healthy to eat. Very clean and honest food.
What I mean by that is a lot of the dishes were just a combination of really good fresh ingredients and then a really punchy sauce or concentrated paste. But rarely was it a thick viscous type glue that looks like the manufactured gunk you get in a bottle.
It was often a loose dressing, helping to lubricate each strand of rice noodle with a sensual touch of unmistakable Thai flavour.
Unfortunately, in the UK at least, I’ve eaten too many Thai salads or noodle dishes that are caked in a thick sticky gooey sauce that tastes only of sugar, salt and chilli.
It’s a far cry from the real beauty and subtlety of Asian cuisine. Obviously I’m not Asian. I’m also no expert in Asian food. But I can tell the difference between what I’ve eaten in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos and some of the versions I’ve had outside of Asia.
I should clarify; there are some amazing restaurants in the UK serving traditional Thai cuisine that is incredible. And I for one will be forever grateful to those culinary artists that keep serving amazing, authentic and progressive Asian cuisine.
But now for something easy, fresh, spicy and healthy. Did I say easy? I’ve cheated on this by using a packet of ‘oriental vegetables’ which when cooking this for the family and wanting to get it done…QUICK!
This isn’t about labouring away to create the ultimate Thai seafood salad, this is about creating something delicious, healthy and nods to Thailand for its inspiration. But if you want something to cook and be cooked in 5-10minutes, then you’ve come to the right place!
Thai Seafood Salad Recipe – serves 4 as a main:
Thai Dressing – Ingredients:
2 tbl fish sauce
3 tbl jaggery (crushed) – substitute for 2 tbl brown sugar if not available)
Juice of 1 lime
2 sticks lemon grass finely chopped
Dressing – Method:
- Combine all ingredients – taste for balance of flavours (add more sugar/ lime, etc.)
Thai Seafood Salad Ingredients:
350g mixed seafood (shellfish)
300g of mixed Oriental vegetables
2 cloves garlic sliced
2 inches ginger roughly chopped
50g fresh coriander chopped
1 whole red chilli sliced
200g rice noodles
1 tbl olive oil
2 tbl sesame oil
2tbl chopped nuts (optional)
Thai Seafood Salad Method:
- Soak the rice noodles in just boiled water for about 10 minutes, meanwhile..
- Warm through the ginger and garlic (don’t brown) in the olive oil and half the sesame oil.
- After a minute add the vegetables, stir, then add the seafood and remove from the heat once cooked.
- Drain and rinse the noodles before putting into a large mixing bowl, add the remaining sesame oil over the noodles to avoid them sticking.
- Add the seafood mixture to the noodles, then all the dressing and combine.
- Treat the dish like a salad, so once everything is combined, lift out of the mixing bowl so excess liquid is left behind.
- Garnish with fresh coriander, nuts, and slithers of chilli.
Goes well with sunshine, a sea breeze and chopsticks…