Stock up on cilantro, mint, and shallots and you’re well on your way to enjoying the aromatic salads of Thailand. Lightness and the emphasis on balancing hot, sour, and salty elements seem to be the hallmark of Thai greens. Instead of oils and vinegars, try whipping out the chiles, limes, and fish sauce for a change.
Culantro sounds and tastes like that other love-it-or-hate-it herb found on Indian and Mexican dishes. Also known as long-leaf, spiny, serrated, or sawtooth coriander, culantro looks completely different. It has a stronger scent and weaker taste compared to cilantro, but maybe it’s just me.
Thai Wild Mushroom Salad
Yam Het Bpa
makes 4 servings as a side dish
King Oyster Mushrooms.
a few handfuls of wild mushrooms, about 1/3 pound, sliced
2 tablespoons stock
a pinch of salt
a pinch of sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
a large pinch of chile powder
4 shallots, thinly sliced
a handful of mint and cilantro, leaves only
2 tablespoons culantro (pak chii farang)
1 tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ground toasted rice (khao kua)
a few sprigs of Thai basil
sliced cabbage and cucumber
Pak chii farang, aka foreign coriander. ‘Tis originally from the West (Central America).
- Place the mushrooms, stock, salt, and sugar in a small pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the mushrooms are done (the cooking time varies depending on the type of mushrooms you use). Adjust the amount of water you add so that the water is almost completely evaporated when the mushrooms are done.
- Remove the mushrooms from the heat and season with the lime juice, fish sauce, and chile powder. Place in a bowl and toss with the shallots, herbs, and scallions.
- To serve, sprinkle with the ground toasted rice. Serve with Thai basil leaves and slices of cabbage and cucumber.
Mushrooms seasoned with fish sauce, lime juice, and chile powder.
Cooked king oyster mushrooms have a pleasing meaty texture.