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[Photographs: Leela Punyaratabandhu]

We've got lots of flavors and textures going on here as you can see. But that's exactly what some of us love so much about Thai-style salads. Thai cooks aren't shy about pairing fruits with meat, the sweet with the savory, or the smoky with the fresh.

There's not much to say about the making of this salad for it couldn't be any simpler to make. The only thing to emphasize is that the quality of each of its components is of utter importance. For some dishes, one can sometimes get away with ingredients that are not at their best. This dish is not one of them.

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This means the shrimp should be perfectly poached to achieve the desirable "bouncy" texture, the apples (handy substitutes for the more traditional tart green mangoes) and tomatoes should be at their best (not soft or mealy), the lime (not lemon) juice should be freshly squeezed and not from a bottle, the mint leaves should be fresh and not dried, and the cashews should be fresh and not rancid.

These may seem like a bunch of unnecessary precautions, but experienced cooks, I'm sure, know what I'm talking about.

About the author: Leela is the author of the Thai food blog SheSimmers.com. You can follow her at @shesimmers

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