15 years ago I ate my first Thai food in a restaurant called Bankok round the corner from my house in Bristol. I was a still a teenager and my mum had taken me for dinner The menu was the biggest I had ever seen almost a bible I was vegetarian at the time and used to a limited repertoire suddenly there were so many tofu dishes. I don’t think I knew about fish sauce then I undoubtedly broke some vegetarian codes that day.
For a starter I chose a Thai Mushroom Salad, it looked so beautiful when it arrived so many different colours, covered in fragrant herbs. I admit the provincial me was surprised it was warm, but I still remember the sensation in my mouth of those classic thai ingredients combining, fish sauce , chilli , soy, lime and fresh coriander.
It was like nothing I had ever tasted before so fresh and zingly. I instantly loved the different textures of warm mushrooms and cool crunchy carrots and beansprouts. The final texture though is the toasted ground rice which soaks up flavours and adds bite.
Bankok became a favourite with work dos (It was BYO and located just 2 minutes from a good off-license) the staff were always freindly and attentive. I was sad when it closed , but the location has been home to Plantation Carribean Bar and Restaurant for 7 years now.
I still love Thai food , and old flatmate had done a Thai cookery course and I photocopied all the recipes so I can make a passable Pad Thai but I have been working on mastering a warm Thai salad.
I usually throw chicken thighs on the weekend BBQ to have cold with salad in the week. They work perfectly shredded in this recipe, though you could just grill or fry some. I think this recipe is as close as possible to the dish I tasted all those years ago and therefore as authentic as I want.
Vegetarians can replace the chicken with tofu or button or oyster mushrooms . Although this recipe has lettuce and beansprouts. I like to be able to use the lettuce leaves as scoops to eat the salad getting maximum dressing, but you can use an combination carrot , chinese cabbage, cucumbers or spring onions too.
Anyone else been so inspired by a restaurant dish they learnt to make it themselves or if you have any other great Thai recipes you could share, please leave a notes in the comment boxes below?
Warm Thai Chicken Salad
400g of chicken thighs grilled and shredded
1 thumb of root ginger , grated
2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
2 red chillis , finely chopped
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp of soy sauce
3 tbsp lime juice and tsp of zest
Handful of chopped mint and coriander leaves
4 handfuls of beansprouts
1 little gem or romaine lettuce
1 tsp of sesame oil
8 tbsp of toasted ground rice
- Wash the lettuce leaves and leave to soak it cold water this will increase the crispiness
- Fry the garlic in sesame oil , add the shredded chicken to warm it through.
- Remove from the heat add the ginger, chilli , fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice , & zest to the chicken.
- Finally add half the herbs to the chicken mix.
- Divide the lettuce leaves and beansprouts between four bowls
- Top the lettuce and beansprouts with the chicken mixture and scatter over the remaining herb.
- Finally scatter over ground toasted rice.
Toasted Ground Rice
- Pour a layer of basmati rice onto a heavy bottomed frying pan.
- Heat it through on a medium heat, until all the rice has turned golden brown.
- Grind in a mortar and pestle.