This is the best recipe I learned in Thailand; lemongrass salad. It involves tons of chopping and prepping, but the end result is worth it. This salad will sing in your mouth.
The textures: crunchy, soft, and rough.
The tastes: sweet, salty, sour, and spicy all together.
Ingredients can be found at any Asian market with a fresh vegetable section. Fried shallots can be found among the other dried veggies and mushrooms. These keep really well in the fridge. Dried shrimp are not as scary as they sound. They are sort of like anchovies in Italian cooking. Buy the smallest you can find, perferably not bright pink, which means they have been dyed. In this dish you barely notice them, they just add a certain richness and balance. Without them the salad just isn't the same.
This recipe is all about proportions. This makes enough for 4, or 6 as appetizers. I would suggest making a double batch of the dressing and keeping it in a cleaned jam jar. It is also great brushed onto chicken before grilling.
4 tablespoons fish sauce
6 tablespoons sugar
4 stalks lemongrass, cut into very thin rings. Stop when the purple rings stops appearing in your circles
2 fresh shallots, chopped very finely
1 carrot, peeled and chopped very finely
1 lime, 1/2 cubed with peel into tiny cubes, 1/2 for juice
8 tablespoons ginger, peeled and chopped very finely
8 tablespoons roasted peanuts
1-2 shakes of red chili flakes
4 tablespoons dried shrimp
4 tablespoons fried shallots
4 tablespoons toasted, not sweetened coconut
1 head of leaf lettuce
1. In a small sauce pan mix fish sauce and sugar. Simmer until sugar is disolved. This will form a syrup. Remove from stove.
2. Mix all the ingredients together, except for the lettuce leaves. in a medium sized bowl.
3. Add fish sauce dressing and stir until combined.
4. Taste. If needed add some more lime juice or dressing.
5. Plate onto a serving dish. Serve with lettuce leaves.
6. To eat, spoon some salad into the lettuce. Wrap lettuce around it and pop into your mouth.
Do you think you will give this a try? Let me know what you think.