My Thai: Thai Herbal Salmon Salad (Phla Pla Salmon)

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[Photograph: Leela Punyaratabhandu]

Last week, when I wrote about the the state dinner honoring President Obama on his recent visit to Bangkok, I made a promise that I'd share a recipe for the spicy herbal salmon salad with you. Well, here it is.

It's a light, healthy salad, and just in time for that period of the year when we all have just barely recovered from Thanksgiving feasts and are bracing ourselves for more holiday eats in December.

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This salad, like most Thai salads, is very easy to make. There really is nothing to it. It's just a matter of poaching your salmon (making sure you don't overcook it) and slicing up the herbs and juicing the limes while waiting for the water to boil. In less than 30 minutes (15 minutes if you've got extraordinary knife skill), this thing is ready.

Don't have or like salmon? Try shrimp, grilled ribeye steak, trout, etc.

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The only catch? You need the right ingredients. Fresh herbs are a must. Also, to keep this salad what it is (the type of Thai salad known as "phla") you need to use the herbs which the recipe calls for.

However, if you can't find these herbs (mint should be pretty easy to find, though) and care more about having a salad that's Thai-ish and herbal than keeping a phla strictly a phla, have fun with other fresh Thai herbs you can find. Fresh Thai basil and sawtooth coriander come to mind.

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

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