Thai Salad Dressing
To enjoy a home-style Thai salad dressing, you need to get to know a few base ingredients. It is very important to get the Thai dressing flavor right. It should contain 3-4 flavors; sour, salty, sweet, spicy. To a Thai's taste, spiciness has always led the salad dish with the other flavors used to balance the overall flavor.
4 Flavored Peanut Dressing (Spicy, Sour, Sweet and Salty)
2 Flavored Peanut Dressing (Sweet and Salty)
Key Ingredients for Thai Salad Dressing
Lime Juice – Num-ma-nua
This is one of the essential Thai salad ingredients for dressing. Choose the thin skin fruit and rub it once or twice before squeeze. Doing this will give more juice.
Tamarind Juice –Num-ma-kham-piak
It enhances great flavors of both sweet and sour. To make tamarind juice, simply soak the tamarind pulps in warm water for 3-5 minutes. Squeeze the pulp and refine the juice with a sieve. Tamarind juice can be kept in the fridge over a few weeks.
Fish Sauce – Num-pla
The heart of Thai seasoning is fish sauce. It gives a distinctive flavor which somehow goes well with other seasoning. For vegetarians, you can use light soy sauce instead. The amount of using fish sauce is not very much, roughly 1 tablespoon for a dish.
Sugar – Nam-tan-sai
It is used commonly to make a syrup which can be stored in a fridge. It can be kept for a long time and easy to use.
Palm and Coconut Sugar – Nam-tan-peep and Nam-tan-maprao
Palm sugar usually comes in blocks and you will need to dissolve in water before using. I always dissolve a block of palm sugar with a ½ cup of water over medium heat, or simply put a block of palm sugar and water in a cup and put in microwave for 1-2 minutes. This will help soften the sugar. You may dissolve the sugar in a large amount and store in a fridge. It is extensively used in most of Thai salad recipes as much as in curry dishes and desserts.
Roasted Chili Paste – Nam-prik-pao
It is also known as "Nam Prik Dam" which obviously comes from its appearance. All ingredients would be grilled until burnt and dark before making into a paste and fry with oil. The roasted chili paste consists of chili peppers, garlic, shallots and shrimp paste which all ingredients are required to be grilled before. The small amount of roasted chili paste is used roughly 1 to 2 tablespoons per 1 serving.
Pickle Garlic – Kra-tium-dong
It is fermented with vinegar, sugar and salt. Normally this ingredient is used sparingly in a dressing. The unique flavor adds distinctiveness in a salad dressing. One great example is Mixed Seafood Salad
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