I promised in the last posting that I would give you the Thai Salad Dressing recipe. It's quite simple and very refreshing. It is a much requested and favorite pot luck dish and I usually serve it on a platter so you can see all the colorful ingredients. I use lettuce or Napa cabbage (sliced thin), sliced red pepper, slice raw carrot, sliced red onion or green onion (in thin shreds), lots and lots of mint which I think is the secret ingredient, along with some cilantro and usually some leftover sliced beef or chicken. There is no oil so it's very light and it's just so delicious. With all those colors - you just know it has to be good for you!
Thai Salad Dressing
½ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup Asian Fish Sauce
¼ cup light brown sugar + 2 Tablespoons more if limes are especially sour
2 large garlic cloves minced
1 small Serrano chili, deseeded and minced finely
Optional - 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
A pinch of red chili flakes
1/4 - 1/3 cup chopped peanuts for garnish
3 - 4 cups of washed lettuce broken into small pieces or Napa Cabbage shredded
1 cucumber, peeled, halved with seeds scooped out and then sliced into half moons
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
thin slices of one peeled carrot
thin slices of one small red onion or 3 green onions in small shreds
1/2 red pepper - cut into strips
1 cup already cooked leftover roast beef or steak, pork or chicken sliced - can also use squid
Optional: precooked rice noodles (boiled 4 - 5 minutes, drained and rinsed in cold water) - about 1 cup
On large platter, lay down lettuce leaves and layer with cucumber and then add carrot and red pepper slices. On top of that, layer red and green onions. Put meat on top of that. Pour salad dressing all over the top and sprinkle with peanuts. Serve immediately.
Five Element Analysis
Salads are almost always part of the Fire Element and this one is no exceptions. Along with the lettuce and red pepper, there are also Serrano Chilies and red chili flake in the salad dressing, which all to the Fiery Nature of this dish. If you use Napa Cabbage, you are bringing in some of the Earth Element and this element is also included because of the cucumber, brown sugar, carrot, peanuts and beef (if you use it). The lime juice adds the Wood Element and chicken would add more. The mint and cilantro are somewhat Woody as they are leaves, but they are also considered part of the Metal Element because they are such pungent herbs. The Metal Element involves the raw garlic, red onion and green onion along with the rice noodles (if you use them. The Water Element is represented by the fish Sauce so this is the only element that needs enhancing. Using pork as the meat would help or seafood such as cooked squid. But unless you want to make this the whole meal, a soup would be a lovely accompaniment or cooking another Thai dish that embodies the Water Element would make it a balanced meal.