Water Chestnut Salad
From Su-Mei Yu, Cracking the Coconut
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tbs. palm sugar or light brown sugar
- 1 tbs. sugar
- 2 tbs. fish sauce
- 1/4 c. thick tamarine juice
- 1/4 lb. cooked crabmeat
- 1/4 lb. cooked shrimp, halved lengthwise
- 6 oz. cooked chicken, turkey, or pork, sliced into thin, long strips
- 1 tbs. lime juice
- 2 tbs. unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely ground
- 3 tbs. crispy sallots
- 3 tbs. crispy garlic
- 12-15 fresh water chestnuts, peeled, sliced into 1/8-inch disks
- 4-5 fresh bird chiles, or 2-3 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
- 20 cilantro leaves, minced
- In small saucepan, combine dressing ingredients (except tamarind),
and cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves, about
2 minutes. Add tamarind juice and cook until thickened, another 1-2
minutes. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.
- In large mixing bowl, combine crabmeat, shrimp, and chicken. Pour
on warm dressing; add lime juice and mix well. Let sit 10 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients. Toss well, garnishing with cilantro.
- Fresh water chestnuts are hard to find, messy to peel, and fragile
to slice. The recipe suggests using a cookie cutter to create
fanciful shapes, but this strikes me as utter fantasy. Do not
substitute canned water chestnuts. Fresh water chestnuts have a
distinct sweet, nutty flavor. The only taste canned water chestnuts
have is of the can they came in. You can substitute jicama, which is
easier to peel and work with, but doesn't quite have the taste.
- Crispy shallots and crispy garlic are available in Asian groceries.
To make your own, slice fresh shallots very thin, deep fry at 350F
until brown. Same with minced garlic. Beware: they will continue
to cook after you take from oil, so drain on paper towels and
spread out to expose to air. You can also use dried onion flakes
and/or dried garlic (available in most grocery store spice racks).
- The most successful time I made this dish, I made a number of
There's a picture in the cookbook that in no way resembles what
- No crabmeat: I haven't been happy with the packed, canned
crab that I've been buying. I toyed with the idea of a
pre-cooked Dungeness Crab, but balked at the $9 pricetag.
- Doubled the shrimp to 1/2 lb. Bought medium shrimp, peeled
them, then sauteed them until translucent in a little oil
with a crushed clove of garlic. I didn't split the shrimp.
- I used small chunks of velveted chicken. (I was preparing
another recipe that called
for velveted chicken, so just scaled up the recipe, and
divided the results.)
- I forgot to add the lime juice. I got the order all wrong:
mixed all of the salad together, then added the sauce. I
mixed the tamarind into the sauce before heating. For "thick"
tamarind juice, I used tamarind concentrate diluted with a
Keywords: Thai, Salad, Water Chestnut.