Tuesday, 7 June 2011

2 Ways with Char Siu Pork: #2 - Char Siu pork salad with Thai dressing

Yesterday, I posted my take on lunchtime wraps, using some of the large piece of Char siu pork I bought from the Chinese supermarket. Here is the supper dish I made with the rest. It is a salad in the Thai style.

Thai salads are not usually eaten as a starter or a main course. They are put in the middle of the table and eaten with the rest of the meal, which will include rice, a soup and either a stir-fry or curry dish. All the dishes are shared by those seated around the table. Eating is intended to be a social experience. Some Thai restaurants still serve food in this way, arriving at the table when ready. If so, the restaurant will describe their service as 'family style'.

I have found that Thai salads make great dinners. They are low in fat, high in flavour and with careful ingredient planning can give you 1-2 of your 5 a day fruit and vegetables. They can make a small amount of meat go a very long way. Another advantage is apart from some chopping and preparation, they are ready quickly, making them a lifesaver midweek dinner when you don't have much time to devote to cooking. If you are avoiding carbs, then some of these salads will be of great help.

Thai salad dressings are supposed to balance out all the main flavour groups; sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. Please feel free to adjust the taste of the dressing if my formulation doesn't appeal. Thai chilis are very hot indeed, so reduce the number if you don't like it hot. Similarly, if you like it hot but can't get Thai red chilis, then use 3-4 mild red chilis.

(Serves 2)

For the salad:
250g Char siu pork, sliced finely
1 handful lamb's lettuce / similar salad leaf
1 handful coriander leaf, chopped
1 handful mint leaf, chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed, and sliced very finely
3-4 spring onions, sliced diagonally
3-4 Thai shallots, halved and then sliced finely

For the dressing:
2 tbsp lime juice (1 big lime should be enough)
2 red chilis (Thai preferably), deseeded and chopped into extremely fine dice
3 cloves of garlic, crushed/grated
3 tsp fish sauce
3 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
½ tsp salt

Chopped fried garlic
Chopped fried onion
(available pre-prepared and in jars in Chinese grocers)

1. Mix up the dressing in a non-metallic bowl and leave for 5-10 mins for the flavours to blend.

2. Mix up all the salad ingredients except for the pork in another bowl. Or go straight to the next instruction.

3. Take the salad mixture and put in two serving bowls/dishes.

4. Pour the salad dressing over all of the salad.

5. Place the pork slices on top.

6. Sprinkle with the topping and serve immediately.

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