Spicy Thai Salad

I don’t think I’ve seen this many Thai restaurants before I moved to New York. Walking down 9th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, you can find almost one (or more) on each block. Of course we have our favorite ones ,(there will be posts about them, too), but on a lazy Sunday like today, we decided to create our own Thai Salad at home instead of eating out.

I remember feeling intimidated by Thai recipes years ago when I first started to cook. Not only because it’s usually a long list of exotic ingredients, some of the items (such as tamarind and galangal), I didn’t even know how to pronounce the names correctly, and they were only available in specialty stores. Although all these foreign herbs and spices are now more common and are definitely easier to find in regular markets, we still decided to go with a more approachable route and only use the ingredients we can find in the neighborhood markets…. We might hold off on some of the unpronounceable exotic ingredients, but we are definitely not holding off on the flavors in any sort.

Spice Thai Salad:

Serves 2/ Prep time: 30 min

For the Salad:

  • 1 head of lettuce
  • Cherry Tomatoes, cut into halves
  • Red Onions, thinly sliced
  • Asian Spiced Roasted Peanuts
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • extra toppings such as cucumbers, carrots, or bean sprouts

For the dressing:

  • 2Tb      Fish Sauce
  • 2Tb.     Lime juice
  • 1 ts.      Soy sauce
  • 1 tb.      Garlic
  • 1 tb.       Ginger
  • 1-2ts.    Sugar
  • 1 ts.       Chili oil (We like it hot!)
  • 1 ts.       Sesame oil (optional)
  • 1 tb.       Green onion, thinly sliced (optional)

Toss all the salad greens, tomatoes and the extra toppings in a big bowl. Loosely chop the peanuts and set aside, so they don’t lose the crunch before we eat it.

Blend all the dressing ingredients (besides green onions) together. I usually use a spice grater and grate the garlic and ginger into a paste, but it’s easy to just throw everything in a food processor to blend it up, too.  Take half of the dressing and marinate the red onions, too. It only takes about 5 minutes, the onions turn translucent and it simply adds an extra punch to the flavor. Throw in the green onions if you’re using it in the remaining dressing. Let it sit for a few minutes for the flavors to settle in.

Now it’s time to put everything together.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss it till everything is evenly coated, top it off with with the marinated onions, roasted peanuts, and sprinkle on the cilantro leaves, and that’s your delicious Spicy Thai Salad right there. As flavorful as it is, it’s actually very light and refreshing. It is fulfilling too as a perfect summer salad. For those who wants something heartier, top the salad with some shredded chicken, sliced steak, or grilled tofu for vegetarians to upgrade the salad into a main dish. It doesn’t require anything overly seasoned, there’s already a lot going on in the salad… Easy like that!

The last time we made it, we top it off with some grilled steak, medium rare. And I’m just saying, THAT, is one delicious meal!!!

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