Sometimes I don't think what I do is really 'cooking'. Not 'proper cooking'!
I don't really weigh things out, it's never very precise, and you HAVE to taste and taste and see what tastes good to you.
I see it as less 'cooking' and more 'faffing about playing with food'.
It's ALL about having fun and really ENJOYING making something good to eat - that's usually simple and quick too.
This recipe is a perfect example ... lots of playing and very little actual cooking.
And it tastes really good.
I love seafood and I love hot and sour flavours - and the lemongrass and lime leaf makes this just really delicious - so full of flavour.
Thai seafood salad - let's get started.
I made a big bowl just for me - so adjust the quantities of course depending on how much you're making.
Here's a list of the ingredients I used, but read through the whole recipe and see where you might adapt or change according to what you've got and what you like.
frozen prawns and squid, defrosted
1 tablespoon demerera sugar plus 3 tablespoons cold water
1-2 birds eye chillies
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
a few slices of white onion
2 spring onions, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 stick of celery, chopped
1 stalk of lemongrass
1 lime leaf, torn to remove the stalk
extra wedges of lime, to serve
You can use any fish or seafood you like (or happen to have). I always like to have prawns and squid in the freezer as it's just so easy then to make something to eat - and generally I have scallops too but not today. Defrost before using - seafood defrosts quickly in a bowl of cold water - then rinse with fresh cold water and pat dry on kitchen paper.
You need to cook the fish first before adding it to the salad - do this any way you like.
The quickest way for my prawns and squid to cook would be to drop them quickly into a pan of boiling water and cook for only about a minute or less ... I did do the prawns like this - they're ready when they've gone from raw grey to completely pink!
But I wanted my squid to have a bit more texture too it and I just like cooking it on the griddle and watching it roll up! (Yep, 'faffing about playing with food').
So I scored my squid tubes, opened them out and cooked them on a very hot griddle and squeezed lime juice over them as they cooked.
Once the fish and seafood is cooked, just leave to one side to add at the end.
The next part of playing with food is to make the dressing - I added one tablespoon of demerera sugar to three tablespoons of water in a little saucepan and brought it slowly to the boil, stirred to dissolve the sugar and removed from the heat to cool. You could stand the saucepan in some cold water in the sink if you want to cool it more quickly.
I pounded up two birds eye chillies (use 1-2 depending on your taste) then added a tablespoon of fish sauce and the juice of a really juicy lime, then the sugar/water mixture.
Stir it all together and taste - see if you need to add anything else. It might need a little more lime juice depending on how juicy your lime was!
Do make this dressing to YOUR taste. I like it very spicy and very sour so use lots of chilli and lime, but you might prefer a sweeter dressing, so just taste and play and experiment.
Next - the salad.
Use what you like really!
I had carrot, some white onion, a couple of spring onions, a tomato and some celery - but you could use anything you like.
Very finely slice just the bottom third of a lemongrass stalk (having removed the tough outer layers) and also finely slice a lime leaf and add to the salad.
If you can't get these then do make it anyway, but the lemongrass and lime leaf are SO GOOD do get them if you can! I'm lucky that my local supermarket sells them so hopefully yours does too.
Add the dressing to the salad, mix well, and tip out onto a plate or bowl and add the seafood
Serve with extra lime wedges to squeeze over.
And that's it!
One delicious, authentic, Thai seafood salad - easy and fun to make and very little actual cooking!