Here's a recipe for an easy Asian style fish salad. It is loosely based on Larp (or 'Laap' as it's sometimes written) - a salad of minced meat or fish found throughout northern Thailand & Laos (it's often described as 'the national dish' of Laos). But the recipe below is not true Larp, so I'm not gonna call it that. I will try an stick an authentic (e.g a version with home smoked fish and the essential roasted chilli powder) recipe up here at some point, because, although its more work, it's damn tasty. Working at Nahm is really strengthening my belief in doing Thai food the authentic way, which, 9 times out of 10 = the hard way i'm afraid (both in terms of work and the difficulty of finding the ingredients)! I believe it's worth it, but here on my blog i also want to do fair few dishes which are pretty accessible so hence 'Thai-style fish salad'. Should still taste good.
Thai style fish salad
Ingredients (serves 2 as a stand alone dish, or 4 as part of a Thai meal):
- 400g fish fillet - sea bass, bream, snapper or any nice flakey white fish
- Large handful of beansprouts
- 4 or 5 thai red shallots or a small bunch of spring onions
- 2 tablespoons of uncooked Thai fragrant / jasmine rice
- 1 - 2 long red chillies
- Optional: 1 - 2 bird's eye chillies
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 3-4 tbsp lime juice, plus some extra lime pieces to garnish
- 2 sticks of lemon grass
- small bunch thai basil, or large handful of mixed coriander and mint or mixture of above as you please.
- salt and white pepper
- Take your fish fillets, season them with salt and white pepper and put them in a steamer or colinder in a pan and steam until just cooked - about 3 - 4 mins above boiling water. Take out and allow to cool a bit, peel the skin off (if there is any) and flake the flesh into a mixing bowl.
- Take the raw rice and toast in a dry frying pan on a medium heat, stirring fairly regularly for about 5 mins, until toasted. Grind in a pestle and mortar or whizz in a blender until a coarse powder (sounds weird i know but it gives some real texture to the dish).
- De-seed and finely slice the long chilli, peel the tough outer layers off the lemongrass and slice the tender inner part very finely, now slice the shallots or spring onion and throw all this, plus the beansprouts and ground rice into the mixing bowl.
- Now make your dressing - mix the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar together until sugar dissolves. If you want to heat things up then bash up a couple of bird's eye chillies and mix them into the dressing too. Taste the dressing and adjust with more fish sauce / lime / sugar.
- Add two thirds of the herbs to the mixing bowl and tip in the dressing, toss it all through.
- Plate up and garnish with reserved herbs and lime pieces.
N.B ideally dishes like this are best eaten as part of a Thai meal - along with rice, a curry, soup and relish and perhaps some raw sliced veg along side.
pic by www.benbroomfield.com