Thai salad ingredients are usually a varied combination of vegetables, herbs and spices. To complete making a Thai salad normally requires a lot of work and preparation. Usually there are many components in each salad dish in which each ingredient has to be prepared and done correctly.
One good thing I like about Thai salad is that most of ingredients are able to be eaten fresh, with less carbohydrate and meat. This makes Thai salads great for weight-loss and healthy focused meals.
Thai salad dishes are probably suited for people who enjoy eating fresh vegetables more than carbohydrate and meat especially red meat.
Let me explain what Thai salad ingredients are commonly used for both salad dishes and their dressings as well as how best to combine them.
NOTE*the following are an examples of commonly used ingredients for Thai salad dishes.
Tomato –Ma-kue Tet
Having flavors of sweet and sour, the raw tomato is often used in Papaya Salad (Som Tum), Glass Noodle Salad (Yum Wun Sen), Seafood Salad (Yum Talay). It is prepared by thinly sliced or quartered.
Ginger – Khing
Ginger is a versatile herb used for several purposes around SE Asian cooking. In Thai salad dishes, the immature and fresh ginger is used in salad dishes due to its less potent flavor. Simply peel the skin off and thinly slice. This Thai salad ingredient is used in a few of my salad recipes which are Prawns Salad, Grilled Squid Salad.
Lemongrass – Ta-krai
A large amount of fresh and thinly sliced lemongrass is usually used in "yum" and "pla" dishes especially with meat and seafood recipes. Its characteristic helps clear out often over powering scents from meat and seafood very well (just like kaffir lime leaves and galangal qualities).
Pick a young and fresh lemongrass stalk which has light pink to white-green color to use in salad dishes. Besides using lemongrass to flavor a Thai dish, it can be eaten fresh in a Lemongrass Salad (Yum Ta-krai)
When slicing lemongrass for a salad, start from the bottom up around the middle and discard the rest part which has less flavor and is a bit harder to chew. You may peel the outer skin off before slicing as the inner seems to be softer. See Thai beef salad - pla nue
Kaffir Lime Leaves– Bai makrood
Its hourglass-shaped leaves are widely used in Thai salads by simply slicing them thinly and adding to the salad mix. It is used sparingly in salad recipes with beef, pork or chicken dishes. This Thai salad ingredient is more popular in curry dishes.
Mint - Sa-ra-nae
This Thai salad ingredient cannot be missed out in Laab recipes. Simply use only leaves sprinkle over the dish.
Coriander Leaves – Bai pak-chee
A small amount of coriander leaves are actually used for garnishing the dishes. However, it can be used as much as you like. See Crispy Fish Salad served with Raw Green Apple.
Celery – Kunchai
This Thai salad ingredient is used in a few Thai salad dishes. Both stem and leaves are usually used for Glass Noodle Salad.
Lettuce – Pak-kad-hom
It is used for garnishing the dishes by placing at the bottom of the dish. It can also be eaten with any Thai salad. When buying, choose the light green leaves as it tastes sweeter. The dark green leaves are quite bitter.
Onions - Hom-yai
It is usually eaten fresh in Thai salads. It is prepared by thinly slicing lengthwise. When buying, choose the heavy one, with a dry and smooth skin. Keep in room temperature to help preserve their shelf life!
Shallots - Hom-daeng
Fresh shallot is used extensively in salads. It has potent flavors and less sweet than onion. Fresh sliced shallot is often used in salad dishes, simply peel the skin off and thinly sliced. Another way to prepare shallots is to deep fry, which wi
Deep fried shallot, thinly sliced before deep fried, is called in Thai "Hom Deang Jiew". It adds sweetness, crispiness and unique fragrant to salad dishes. It is commonly used a lot in Wing Bean Salad
Garlic - Kra-tium
Garlic is mostly used as an ingredient for dressing by pounding with chilies and other combination. It is also used as a component of a salad by thinly sliced. Deep fried garlic , thinly sliced before deep frying. It is then called in Thai "Kra Tiem Jiew"
Dried Prawn – Goong-haeng
This Thai salad ingredient is used in many of Thai salad dishes. Dried prawns can be prepared in many ways before use; coarsely pounded, finely grounded, use whole, or deep fried. Bright orange dried prawns are good quality. It is best kept in sealed bag or frozen.
Dry fried Peanuts – Tua-li-song-kua
You can dry fry peanuts without oil until turn brown. It is often used as pounded mixture or whole. It can be kept in a room temperature in a sealed jar.
Dry fried Coconut flake – Ma-prao-kue
Coconut flesh flake is best used to dry frying without oil. You can use either freshly grated coconut or dried coconut flake to dry fry. It is not recommended to store dry fried coconut as its smell can become unpleasant. It is best to dry fry coconut as you need to use at a time. It is used a lot in Pomelo Salad (Yum Som-O)
Simmered Coconut Cream – Hua-kra-ti-kiew
Simmered coconut cream is made by simmering the liquid until thickened or roughly 5 minutes on low heat. It is used extensively in Thai desserts and sparingly in Thai salads. It is recommended to use simmered coconut cream at a time of cooking and do not store as it tends become unfresh quickly after simmered. It distinctively enhances flavors of a salad dish with its natural sweetened milky cream. Wing Bean Salad
Deep Fried Thai Chilies - Prik-kee-ne-haeng-tod
It normally uses dried bird’s eye chilies (prik khee nu) to deep fry in oil over low heat. Bird’s eye chilies is smaller than other types of chilies and is well known for being very spicier than other bigger sized chilies in Thailand.
Deep fried chilies enhance spice, unique aroma and can be used as beautiful garnish for salad dishes. When buying, simply choose Dried Thai Chili which is small in size.
There is a little secret of deep frying chilies which is to add dried chilies in oil when it is not too hot. It will take a few minutes. Remove when they get slightly darker. I recommend deep frying chilies when you need. Storing them can result in softening and loss of aroma.
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