Yam Samun Phrai (Northern Thai-style Herb Salad)

Recipe adapted from "Pok Pok" by Andy Ricker with J.J. Goode
0 Ratings

TT Test Kitchen Tip: You can find white turmeric (also known as mango ginger) at Indian markets. If you're unable to find it, replace the white turmeric with 2 tablespoons julienned parsnips and 1 tablespoon julienned fresh young ginger.

To learn more, read "Yam Samun Phrai is Thai for 'Delicious'" in our National Edition.

Yam Samun Phrai (Northern Thai-style Herb Salad)

Recipe adapted from "Pok Pok" by Andy Ricker with JJ Goode

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


For the Pork and Dried Shrimp:

½ teaspoon vegetable oil

1 ounce ground pork

1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce

2 tablespoons dried shrimp, rinsed and patted dry

For the Salad:

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce

1½ tablespoons palm sugar simple syrup (1 part palm sugar to 1 part water, boiled until the sugar dissolves)

1½ tablespoons Key lime juice

1 tablespoon coconut milk

2 Thai chiles, thinly sliced

1 cup lightly packed julienned carrots, cut into 3-inch-long strips

¼ cup lightly packed thinly sliced yellow onion

¾ cup lightly packed julienned white turmeric, cut into 3-inch-long strips (see note above)

1 tablespoon thinly sliced lemon grass, tender parts only

1 tablespoon unsalted roasted peanuts

1 tablespoon unsalted roasted whole cashews  

½ teaspoon thinly sliced fresh or frozen Kaffir lime leaves

1 teaspoon thinly sliced fresh betel leaf

1 teaspoon thinly sliced sawtooth herb or cilantro

2 teaspoons thinly sliced Thai basil

1 tablespoon Hom Daeng Jiao (fried shallots)

½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds


1. Make the pork and dried shrimp: Heat the vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the meat, about 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce and cook until the pork is cooked through, another 2 minutes.

2. In a dry skillet over medium heat, add the dried shrimp and cook, stirring regularly until the shrimp becomes completely dry and crispy, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool. Once cool, pound the shrimp in a mortar and pestle or process in a food processor until broken down to a powder. Note: The powdered shrimp can be made up to 3 weeks in advance and stored at room temperature.

3. Make the salad: Combine the fish sauce, palm sugar simple syrup, Key lime juice, coconut milk, chiles and the cooked pork in a medium skillet over medium heat and cook until the dressing is just warm, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

4. Add the carrots, onions, white turmeric, lemongrass, peanuts and 1 teaspoon of the shrimp powder to the skillet and gently toss until all the vegetables are coated. Transfer the salad to a platter and top with cashews, Kaffir lime leaves, betel leaf, sawtooth herb, Thai basil, fried shallots and toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.



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