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Category: Salads

Sesame Dressing

Sesame Dressing

My mom’s uncle was Michio Kushi, the famed macrobiotic guru. She came to Boston in the early 70s to get a taste of America. At the time, my father, who was always restless in Japan due to his eccentric ways, was cooking in his kitchens. read more

Green Mango Salad

Green Mango Salad

Google just informed me that only two states in the whole country ever search recipes for Green Mango Salad- California and Florida. Which I guess makes sense as they are the two states that grow mangoes, but the rest of you are really missing out! read more

Thai Shrimp Salad (Pla Goong)

Thai Shrimp Salad (Pla Goong)

It’s getting to be that time again in Miami. That time when it’s so oppressively hot but you still need to eat. And cook. Thai Shrimp Salad to the rescue! Bright, light, citrusy, and zesty-it’s summertime in a bowl. And best of all, the shrimp requires just a very quick pass under the broiler, leaving a nice cool kitchen. This is a dish I start to crave as soon as it gets hot, and once you try it, you will too.

thai shrimp salad ingredients

This Shrimp Salad, known as Pla Goong, relies on some traditional Thai ingredients for a very punchy salad. Lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves amp up the citrusy dressing, fish sauce adds funky depth, and chilis add heat. Counter intuitively, that heat actually helps cool you down. It’s not by accident that the hottest locales have the spiciest cuisines. Fresh herbs, lettuce, and tomato round it all out.

Thai Shrimp Salad Dressing

ingredients thai shrimp salad sauce

This dressing is so insanely good! I could honestly drink it. If you can’t find the frozen tubs of minced lemongrass, which I swear by, you will need to get fresh lemongrass stalks. To prep them, remove the bulbs and the tough outer part of the stalks and mince the more tender green part.

thai shrimp salad lemongrass

shallot thai shrimp salad

lime leaf thai shrimp salad

chili thai shrimp salad

Sumo oranges are particularly great this year, really sweet and juicy. If you can find them use that, otherwise a regular orange will be delicious too. Mix the fresh citrus juices, the fish sauce, ginger, lemongrass, and the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

thai shrimp salad juice

thai shrimp salad juice

Time For The Shrimp

The shrimp for this cooks so quickly. Just drizzle with some oil, season, and broil for a few minutes, 3-5 depending on the strength of your broiler.

season thai shrimp salad

Keep a close eye on it, we want perfectly pink and tender shrimp, not tough shrimp that’s been overcooked.

thai shrimp salad broiled

Once the shrimp is cool enough to handle, remove the tails. Add the still warm shrimp (including any accumulated juices) to the dressing and gently mix. Mix in the fresh herbs and tomatoes. I like to serve this with a soft lettuce to scoop up the shrimp, but you could also serve it as a more composed salad. Either way, this Thai Shrimp Salad is going to become your it’s hot, I don’t want to cook, summer go-to. (And to really cool you down, try pairing with either Yuzu Margaritas or Lychee Mai Tais) If you try it, let us know. We love hearing from you! Leave a comment and rate the recipe, and of course tag us in your beautiful pictures @funkyasiankitchen.

 

 

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thai shrimp salad recipe card

Thai Shrimp Salad

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen

Ingredients

Scale
  • 16 extra large peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 lemongrass stalk (or 2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass)
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger
  • 1 large shallot
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, about ½ a large lime
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, about ¼ large orange
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint
  • 4 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 23 fresh hot chilies seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 scallion finely sliced on and angle
  • 1 handful of cherry tomatoes halved 
  • 1 head of soft lettuce like bibb or boston
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. If using whole lemongrass, remove the tough outer leaves of lemongrass and trim off the top ⅔ and the end of the bulb. You will only be using the bottom portion. Slice the lemongrass as thinly as possible. Then chop it up finely.
  2. Peel and trim the shallot, cut in half, and then finely slice across the bulb. 
  3. Turn the kaffir lime leaves over, pull the hard center string off (like a string bean) and then stack the leaves, roll them tightly like a cigarette and shred them with a knife as finely as possible. Then run your knife through the stack a couple of times to chop up the leaves.
  4. Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime, ginger, fish sauce, sugar, ⅛ teaspoon of salt, and the citrus juices to a large bowl. Mix until sugar is dissolved and set aside.
  5. Roughly chop the cilantro and the mint and set aside.
  6. Move the oven rack to the top shelf. Toss the shrimp with the oil and sprinkle lightly with ground black pepper. Lay the shrimp in one layer on a piece of foil or parchment paper and broil on high for 4-5 minutes. (Check to see that the underside of the shrimp has been cooked. In general, I find that you do not need to flip over the shrimp while cooking.) 
  7. Put the shrimp aside until cool enough to handle and then remove the tails. Pour the shrimp and any accumulated juices into a bowl with the dressing. Add the tomatoes and the herbs. Mix gently to combine. Take a small taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  8. Serve the shrimp warm served over a couple leaves of lettuce. Garnish with some sliced scallion.

Sardine Salad

Sardine Salad

We have heard a lot lately about seafood sustainability. One of the best ways to promote healthy oceans is to eat lower on the seafood chain. Less tuna, more tiny fishies. Sardines are a delicious way to do just that. Mild and meaty, they are read more

Japanese Potato Salad

Japanese Potato Salad

It’s the middle of April. Haven’t we done the low-carb/keto/paleo restrictive diet thing long enough? It’s time for CARBS. And my Japanese potato salad is here for you. While Japanese Potato Salad has much in common with its Western counterparts, there are some key differences. read more

Asian Pear Pomegranate Salad

Asian Pear Pomegranate Salad

The holidays may look and feel a little different this year, but perhaps more than ever, we still crave special holiday dishes.  Our gatherings may be smaller, but they don’t have to be any less festive. Especially if you make my hyper seasonal Asian Pear Pomegranate Salad. Fresh and vibrant, the ruby red pomegranate seeds just scream special occasion. Moreover, it not only adds a welcome bite of freshness to a rich meal, but it also doesn’t require any cooking, which is so helpful when everything else is going in and out of your oven. And with a make ahead dressing, Asian Pear Pomegranate Salad is a gift for the busy cook- even if you’re only cooking for your quarantine squad.

Make The Dressing

The dressing for Asian Pear Pomegranate Salad is really flavorful but easy to make. I recommend making a double batch because it lasts a week in the fridge, and you know you are always looking for ways to eat more leafy greens. The dressing has fish sauce, but you can sub an equal amount of coconut aminos to make it vegan. Whisked together with a few other pantry staples like toasted sesame oil for nuttiness, sriracha for a drop of heat, and soy sauce and rice wine vinegar for tangy Asian flavor, this dressing comes together in minutes and is so delicious you will find yourself pouring it over everything you have in your fridge!

asian pear pomegranate dressing

Preparing the Salad

This Asian Pear Pomegranate Salad could also rightfully be called an Asian slaw. And with cabbage, fresh herbs, grated carrot, pear and pomegranate, it’s packed with fruit and veggies.

asian pear pomegranate salad ingredients

I use green cabbage, though you could easily swap that for Napa if you prefer. I cut the cabbage first and salt it. The salt will help both season and soften it. I let the cabbage drain in a colander over the sink while I prep the rest of the salad ingredients.

cabbage for asian pear pomegranate salad

What’s an Asian Pear?

Asian pears, which reach their peak in winter months, look more like a yellow apple than the European pear shape you may be used to. They have a much longer shelf life as well, and stay nice and crisp.  Unlike conventional pears, which can have a pronounced honeyed flavor and soft texture, Asian pears are more neutral tasting but have an amazing crunch and juiciness. They never get soft unless they are ready for the compost bin! Pick pears that feel smooth and firm and are heavy for their size. Skin color may vary between different kinds and they range from a pale yellow-green to an almost bronze color.

Cut Asian pears can turn brown when exposed to air.  So to keep them pretty after I core and slice them, I dunk them in a bowl of water, where I have added half a squeezed lemon. The acid from the lemon prevents the pear from discoloring. Most Asians peel their fruit, especially apples and pears, but I like the color contrast and prefer to keep the peel. Clearly you could peel the pears as well if you choose.

prepping asian pear

Working with Pomegranates

If you’ve never cracked open a pomegranate before, it can be a little intimidating. But I have found a very easy way to get the precious arils (the bright red seeds) out. I just score the fruit along the equator, then using my thumbs, I pry the fruit apart to separate the two halves. However, I do not suggest cutting the fruit in half, as you will have a juicy mess and lose a bunch of arils. Next hold the cut side over a bowl, and tap the back of the fruit with a wooden spoon. Do this firmly and don’t be afraid to give good hard smacks to dislodge the arils.

The arils should easily fall out into your bowl. Finally, pick out any small pieces of white pith that may have fallen into the bowl and wipe up any spilled juice because it will stain. I have found this method to be by far the fastest way to easily de-seed a bunch of pomegranates.

pomegranate for asian pear salad

Toss Everything Together

After prepping the cabbage, pear, and pomegranate, you toss them with all the other ingredients together in a serving bowl, and top with the dressing. The salad is great for entertaining because you can make it all ahead of time and it will stay beautiful and crisp. Just keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Personally, I like to keep the herbs separate until I’m ready to serve because the acid in the dressing will discolor the herbs. Plus, it only takes a couple seconds to toss it again with the chopped herbs. However, leftovers taste great too as the veggies soak up more of the amazing dressing and all of the flavors have a chance to marry. And at that point, no one will be judging your green herbs!

Asian Pear Pomegranate Salad

If you make this gorgeous and vibrant Asian Pear Pomegranate Salad, let us know.  Leave a comment or tag us @funkyasiankitchen, show us the goods!

 

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asian pear pomegranate salad

Asian Pear Pomegranate Salad

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Cuisine: Pan-Asian

Description

A festive and bright salad, perfect for your holiday table!


Ingredients

Scale

For Salad:

  • ½ head of small green cabbage, shredded (about ½ lb)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large carrots, julienned or shredded
  • 2 Asian pears
  • ½ lemon
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
  • 1 handful each of cilantro, mint, and Thai basil leave, chopped
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils
  • 2 tablespoons fried shallots

For Dressing:

  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, from 1 ½ lemons
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce*
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or other chile sauce

Instructions

Make the dressing:

  1. Combine the garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, oil, sugar, and sriracha and either whisk in a bowl or shake in a container until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. You can make the dressing ahead and store in the fridge. It keeps up to a week.

Prep the Salad:

  1. Put the cabbage into a colander and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Toss the cabbage to evenly dissolve the salt and then place the colander in the sink or into a large bowl. This will season and wilt the cabbage slightly, improving the texture of the salad. Let it sit while you finish prepping the other vegetables.
  2. In a medium bowl, add some water and then squeeze the half piece of lemon into the water and drop the lemon into the water.
  3. Wash the pear and then quarter and core the pear.
  4. Cut the pear into ¼ inch slices. Then stack the slices and slice them into matchsticks. Drop the cut pear into the lemon water to keep it from oxidizing and turning brown. Continue cutting all of the pear, dropping it into the lemon water as you finish each piece. Drain it from the water and toss out the lemon right before tossing it with the other vegetables.
  5. Squeeze the cabbage to eliminate some of the water and place it in a large bowl.
  6. Add the carrots, scallion, cilantro, mint, basil, the drained pears, pomegranate, fried shallots, and the dressing. Toss to combine.
  7. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Keeps for a couple of hours.

Notes

*To make this vegan, substitute coconut aminos for the fish sauce.