Having just moved out to the countryside, complete with egg laying chickens on my new snow-covered back-door step, I have been automatically drawn to cooking big hearty food – pies, casseroles, roast dinners, muffins… This weekend, the carb-fest continued with rustic Italian chestnut gnocchi smothered in tomato and garlic sauce for dinner, followed by a brunch of fresh poached eggs and smoked salmon on granary toast. By Sunday afternoon I was feeling over faced and over fed.
Fresh, zingy Thai food to the rescue! There is no better way to cleanse your palette and rejuvenate your smugness than by creating a fragrant, spicy and ‘full of goodness’ salad. I reached out to Rick and a few of my other Thai cook books for inspiration but no one had exactly what I wanted, so I went with my instinct – throwing together some prawns, herbs, limes and strips of veg to create this piquant salad.
2 red chilli (heat to taste)
3 x cloves garlic
Handful green beans (trimmed)
1 x carrot
2 spring onions
2 large limes
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp light brown sugar
Handful each of basil, mint and coriander
Cup salted peanuts
1 serving of straight to wok thread noodles
1 x pack of cooked king prawns
Firstly, de-seed and roughly chop the chillies and put them along with the garlic and green beans in to a pestle and mortar and pound until they start to muddle.
Add half of each of the herbs and use the pestle to bruise them into the garlic mixture. Then add the juice of both limes, the sugar and the fish sauce and mix (taste as you go).
Next, prepare the cucumber, carrot and spring onion, all very thinly sliced lengthways or peeled into ribbons, and throw into a large mixing bowl.
Roughly chop the remaining herbs and add to the bowl.
Boil the kettle and in another bowl, cover the noodles with warm water and soak for 10 minutes to separate. Meanwhile, rinse the peanuts in a colander under cold water.
Once the noodles are separated, drain and pat dry with kitchen paper and add to the salad bowl, add the peanuts, prawns and the contents of the mortar.
Using your hands, gently toss everything around to mix in the bowl and serve.