Thai Southern Salad (salad kaek)

I’ve really got into Thai cooking over the past few months.  Made some absolutely superb red and green curries and was looking to branch out when my wife found this book in our local spice shop:

Thai Street Food

Street food.  That’ll be quick to make, pretty authentic and delicious, no?  So we bought it.  At full price, mark you.  If you’re going to buy a book, be honest and buy it from the shop you’re in otherwise these places will either stop selling books or close down altogether.  A couple of weeks after we’d got it, having drooled over many of the recipes, the wonderful descriptions, that author’s identifying when and where such-and-such a dish would be made and vowing to visit when we got rid of the kids, a friend of ours was visiting.  Now she spent some time in Thailand a couple of years back and we gave her the book to flick through, just to verify the authenticity.  It passed with flying colours.

Long story short, if you cook Thai food, get this book.  If you know of a better one, please let me know.

Southern Salad

Page 41, “Bangkok” section.

Serves 2, so multiply up as appropriate.

For the salad

  • crisp lettuce leaves
  • 1 pink onion, sliced
  • 1/4 English cucumber, cut into very thin slices (go ceramic knife!)
  • 2oz beansprouts
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into wedges.

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 2oz coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable stock

To garnish

  • 2oz ready-fried beancurd cut into 1″ cubes (not managed to find that up here, missed it out)
  • 2 medium potatoes, sliced wafer thin and deep-fried until crisp (or a packet of potato crisps – we used kettle chips)
  1. Prepare the salad by tossing the ingredients together, and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok/frying pan and fry the garlic until golden brown.  Add the curry paste and stir briefly.  Pour in the coconut cream and bring to the boil, stirring well.  Stir in the crushed peanuts, sugar, soy sauce, lemon juice and vegetable stock. Remove from heat and leave to cool completely.
  3. To serve, either pour the sauce over the salad and garnish with beancurd cubes and crisps (do not toss the salad as this will be done by the diners), or serve each element separately.

Takes about 20 minutes end-to-end and was devoured by kids and adults alike.  The heat from the Thai red curry paste is tempered by the coconut milk.

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