Waterfall Salad (Nam Tok)
ingredients
all
1 cup tamarind paste
or ½ cup tamarind concentrate
4 cup palm sugar
about 2 discs OR 5 Tbsp brown sugar dissolved in 3 T water
7 each garlic cloves
chopped
4 tbsp dried shrimp
5 each Thai green chilis
or ½ jalapeno, chopped
zest of 2 limes
juice of 5 limes
1/2 cup fish sauce
toasted ground rice powder
optional
1 each green papaya
julienned yielding about 5 cups packed
2 each carrots
julienned
1 each cucumber
halved and sliced
1 head butter lettuce
washed, spun dry and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 bunch Thai basil leaves
leaves picked
1/2 bunch mint
leaves picked
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
halved
1/2 lb bean sprouts
washed
1/2 bunch scallions
thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
chopped
cookware
  • Large mortar and pestle
  • Mandoline with medium-sized teeth (or box grater or food processor with shredder attachment)
  • Chinois or mesh strainer
  • mixing bowls
  • Citrus juicer
For the Dressing
1
In a small sauce pan over medium heat, dissolve tamarind paste in 1 C water until it breaks down, about 10 minutes. Pass the tamarind mixture through a chinois or fine mesh strainer, reserving ½ C of the liquid. (Alternatively, use ½ C prepared tamarind concentrate.)
2
In a small sauce pot, melt the palm sugar with 3 tablespoons water over medium heat until a syrup is formed. Remove from heat and set aside.
3
With a large mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, chilies, and dried shrimp together until it forms a paste and is homogenous. Transfer this paste to a mixing bowl and add the tamarind syrup, palm sugar syrup, lime juice, zest, and fish sauce (and rice powder, if using). Mix well and set aside.
For the Salad
4
Julienne the green papaya and carrot using a mandolin (or with a box grater, or the grater attachment on a food processor). Combine with the remaining salad ingredients. Mix with the dressing. Adjust the dressing to balance the flavors of sour, sweet, salty, and spicy.
5
Garnish with roasted peanuts.
notes
For a vegan version, omit the dried shrimp and you can replace with re-hydrated seaweed like kombu or hijiki. In place of the fish sauce, add a touch more tamarind paste and soy sauce.