Thai Hot and Sour Prawn Salad
½ pound medium prawns (shrimp)
4-6 Thai chilies cut into thin rounds
1 ½ to 2 tsp roasted chili paste
1 to 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 ½ to 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 to 2 tsp granulated sugar
1 stalk lemon grass
1 shallot, cut in half then thinly sliced
1 to 2 tbsp coarsely chopped coriander (cilantro)
3 to 4 tbsp coarsely chopped mint leaves
Mint sprigs for garnish
Shell, devein and butterfly the prawns. Soak in 1 cup cold water with 1 tsp sea salt for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly.
Mix the chilies with the roasted chili paste, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. The sauce should be intensely flavored in heat, salty, sweet and sour tastes. Adjust to your own taste.
Trim and discard the bottom tip and outer layers of the lemon grass. Slice into very thin rounds. You should have about 3 tbsp. Lemon grass is very fibrous so it must be very thinly sliced.
Place in a mixing bowl with the shallots.
Blanch the prawns in boiling water for 20 seconds, just until pink on the outside, but not fully cooked. They will cook further in the lime juice.
Drain and while still warm add to the chili-lime sauce along with the coriander and mint and toss well to coat the prawns. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with a sprig or two of mint.
Serves 2 with rice and other Thai dishes as part of a family meal.