As a regular coconut milk consumer I would never dream of using it in a salad. Creamy cold desserts, custard cakes, curries are the only ways I would use coconut milk until I saw this recipe in David Thompson’s “Thai Food”. Since I often don’t use the whole can and the contents don’t keep forever after opening, I was thrilled to discover this original and quick salad.
I must say that as much as I love all the ingredients, I was a bit sceptical about the final result, but I needn’t have worried: this quick side-dish proved as fabulous as all the previous recipes I found in David Thompson’s huge collection of Thai recipes. It is crunchy, creamy, slightly smokey and nutty. Since mung bean sprouts are irritatingly perishable, I was also glad to discover a completely new way to eat them. I would probably get scolded by the very demanding author for using here coconut milk instead of the cream (I have used more of the milk). I have allowed myself also to change slightly the ingredients’ ratios, to adapt the salad to one serving and I have changed the vinegar (see below). To see the original salad, check David Thompson’s book.
TIPS: The dressing can be prepared in advance, but combine it with the sprouts just before serving to make sure they don’t wilt and don’t get soggy.
You can cut the sprouts in two to make the eating process easier.
Preparation: about 10 minutes
Ingredients (serves one as a side dish):
1 cup (about 250 ml) bean sprouts
3 tablespoons coconut cream (I have used coconut milk)
1 tablespoon vinegar (coconut vinegar is apparently used most often in Thai cuisine and it’s easily available for example in my Thai grocery shop; the author advises white vinegar diluted with water and personally I have used rice vinegar here)
2 tablespoons grated coconut
2 tablespoons peanuts (unsalted, shelled)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small Asian shallot or a very small Western one, finely sliced
1 tablespoon chopped or torn coriander leaves
First prepare the paste.
Roast the coconut and the peanuts in a dry pan.
Pound them with salt in a mortar (I have mixed in a baby food mixer).
Combine the paste, the vinegar and the coconut cream with bean sprouts, adjust the flavours (the author says it should taste smoky, rich, sour and salty) and sprinkle with shallots and coriander leaves.