Easy Christmas Thai Prawn Salad

The only year I missed Christmas at home was in 1985, when we spent the day in Koh Samui in Thailand, eating crab curry, with the sound of waves gently lapping in the background. Bliss. So it’s only fitting that a Thai seafood dish pops onto my Christmas menu. I have been making this seafood salad for Christmas for around 15 years now. I gleaned the recipe from my well-thumbed copy of Stephanie Alexander’s The Cooks Companion. It has lovely summer flavours and can be made a few hours ahead. The first time I made it, my sister-in-law drank the juice from the bowl, so the saucing is obviously the best part of the dish and I sometimes make extra, with Joanne in mind. The original recipe by Stephanie calls for 6 small calamari. Given that it’s almost impossible to source fresh calamari at Christmas time in Melbourne, especially small ones, I have substituted prawns and I can happily say, it’s still a great dish.

Thai Prawn Salad
Thai Prawn Salad

The quantity may be doubled or doubled again depending on your Christmas crowd. The recipe below made for a substantial lunch dish for two. If serving alongside other seafood, the amount below would be suitable for four. I am planning to quadruple the amount for the big day ahead, but will keep an eye on the balance of ingredeints as I go.

Cook the prawns until just done.
Cook the prawns until just done.

Thai Prawn Salad.

350 gr medium-sized green prawns

1 granny smith apple unpeeled (or any tart apple)

2 brown or purple shallots

1 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves

1 tablespoon fresh torn mint leaves

1 tablespoon fresh torn Thai basil leaves

3 tablespoons chopped peanuts.

Dressing

2 fresh chillies, seeded and finely sliced

1 tablespoon palm sugar (soft brown sugar may be substituted)

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice. ( lime is better)

Method

Make the dressing by mixing the ingredients together in a jug.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add the prawns and cook for a couple of minutes or until nicely pink. Shell and devein the prawns. (you can do this before or after cooking. I prefer to cook them with the shell on) Halve the prawns vertically. Reserve.

Core the apple but don’t peel it. Julienne into fine sticks. Finely slice the shallots.

In a serving bowl, mix the apple, prawns, shallots, and herbs. Pour on the dressing and gently toss. Add peanuts to finished dish.

If making this dish ahead of time, leave out the herbs and peanuts until ready to serve. Dress the salad of prawns, apple and shallots, cover well, then refrigerate. Bring out around 15 minutes before serving time to take the chill off the dish, and add the torn herbs, toss and then the peanuts. Of course the peanuts are optional- purchased fried shallots would also add some final crunch.

Thai prawn salad.
Thai prawn salad.

 

Serve with a French Rosé wine. Salute!

Adapted from The Cook’s Companion, Stephanie Alexander, 1996 edition, page 689.

 

21 thoughts on “Easy Christmas Thai Prawn Salad”

  1. This sounds so good. Don said to me last evening he would enjoy some prawns and we both love Thai flavours. As we are on our own for Christmas, we could certainly have this, and then I would have someone to help me peel the prawns!! Thanks Francesca.

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  2. Would I sound like a grinch if I said this was too good to share… but perfect for the G.O. and I, and he also if salad dressing is especially good drinks it. I have the Cook’s Companion, so I will mark the page. Rosé is my favourite Christmas wine 🙂
    Christmas in Koh Samui sounds wonderful. Sigh.

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    1. It is a nice light little thing for two. If you can get your hands on fresh calamari, then make it the Stehanie way- although the recipe is a little imprecise with 6 small calamari- I mean what is small? I have made it with large ones and roughly guessed my way with proportions. I am never happy with calamari that has been frozen- it doesn’t seem to be as lively. so- it’s the prawn version for us this season.
      yes, Christmas in Koh Samui- if only!

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  3. What a vibrant looking salad, Francesca, just perfect for a holiday table. Love the mix of colors and textures. I’m not so sure, however, that I would serve it to guests. Once tasted, they would pretty much demand I make it every year. Best keep this one to myself. 😉

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