Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Pomelo Salad Thai-Style (Yam Som-O)

Yam Som-O is how people in Thailand call Pomelo Salad.  I first got introduced to this salad a couple of years back when my sister took me to eat at People's Palace - a modern Thai cuisine restaurant in Greenbelt 3 ran by Chef Colin Mackay.  The salad was so good I was blown away by the mix of fresh flavors with just the right amounts of acidity and seasoning.  I remember listing the ingredients after we ate the salad but I never got to try and make the dish myself.  That is until recently, when sacks of Pink Pomelo from Davao, landed on our doorsteps.  I do not claim this to be anything like the Pomelo Salad at People's Palace because only emotional remnants of that experience remain.  I have to back there and eat that salad again.  And then maybe I can come up with a new version of this refreshing and healthy dish.  Regardless, this version of the Pomelo Salad by A Billion Chefs is as good and memorable as well.  
Thai Pomelo Salad (Yam Som-o)

Thai Pomelo Salad (Yam Som-O)
By: Chef $B
(2-3 individual servings)


1            Pink Pomelo (preferably from Davao City) peeled, seeds removed, and separated into bite-size segments

2-3 pieces Shrimps, peeled and deveined
1/2         Shallot or White Onion, minced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
A dash of Pepper flakes
8 Tablespoon Coconut Milk Powder
7 Tablespoon Hot Water (for Coconut Milk Powder)

1/2         Shallot, half moon slices (for deep frying)
1/4 cup  Toasted Cashew Nuts, roughly ground (or Peanuts)
Cilantro (Wansuy) leaves, as much as you want

For the Fish Sauce Dressing:
1/4 cup            Thai Fish Sauce
1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon juice (or Calamansi or Dayap juice)
2 teaspoon Sugar

Optional Add On:
1/2 cup Dessicated Coconut flakes, toasted

Step 1: Prepare Ingredients
-       Peel Pomelo, remove seeds, and separate into bite-size segments.  Set aside.
-       Wash Cilantro leaves, pat dry, and set aside.
-       Measure all other ingredients and set aside.
-       In a bowl, dissolve Coconut Milk Powder with hot water.  Set aside.
-       Deep fry Shallot slices until dark brown in color.  Pour on top of a table napkin and set aside to cool.
-       If using desiccated coconut, dry toast the coconut flakes in a frying pan until medium brown in color.
Davao Pomelo Salad Thai-Style

Step 2: Cook Shrimp and coconut mixture
-       Pour a little oil in a frying pan.  Saute onions until a little translucent.  Add garlic and sauté for a while.  Do not brown garlic. 
-       Add Shrimps to the mixture and sauté until cooked.
-       Pour coconut milk mixture.  Heat pan until coconut milk boils.  Remove from heat to let cool.  Set aside.
(Alternately you may use 1/2 cup of Fresh Coconut cream or milk)

Step 3: Prepare Fish Sauce Dressing
-       Mix all fish sauce dressing ingredients in a bowl until sugar is completely dissolved.  Taste dressing and adjust taste as necessary. 

Step 4: Arrange Salad and Serve
-       In a salad bowl, mix Pomelo segments with Coconut Milk mixture, some deep fried shallots, some cilantro leaves, and some ground cashew nuts.  Leave some deep fried shallots, cilantro leaves, and ground cashew nuts for topping.
-       Top mixture with remaining deep fried shallots, ground nuts, and cilantro leaves.  Do the same for the toasted desiccated coconut flakes if using.  You may remove the Shrimps from the Coconut milk mixture and use these as toppings to improve presentation. 
-       Lastly, pour 2-3 spoonfuls of the dressing into each individual salad serving when ready to eat.     

Pomelo is abundant in Southeast Asia.  In the Philippines, the city of Davao is known to grow the best Pink Pomelo.  I grew up in this city but surprisingly, the locals have never thought of making their own version of a Pomelo salad until recently.  It is not a common dish you can order in the city's restaurants despite the abundance of the fruit whole year round.  In one catered event though, I was able to try a local version of this salad using a mixture of white vinegar, water, and sugar as dressing.  Hands down, the Thai version is way better.  I hope more Davao restaurants start offering this delicious fruit in their menus.  

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