This recipe is time consuming but so worth the effort as it delivers such an amazing flavor!
The final salad uses nine flavour ingredients, that are matched against each other in three groups. As presented here the first of these groups, let us say the "protein group" consists of a fin, fur and feather, that is to say a fish, poultry and meat selection. This is offset by three "veggies" and three fruits.
You could however choose to use three more closely related flavours in
the protein group: three different sea food flavours, three poultry flavours, or three meats.
The salad dressing calls for two Thai chiles: phrik che fa is a milder Thai chile, about finger sized, that is the Thai equivalent of the Jalapeno. Phrik Kee Nu (birdseye chile) is a fiercely hot little morsel, that can be replaced by Serranos or Habaneros if you find them easier to obtain .
Finally the basic components of the salad dressing: the sweet soy component, the fish sauce component and the chiles in vinegar, can all be used as basic table condiments. Thus, though this recipe is for the quantity needed for this dish, you could easily make more, and use them with other foods.
1 cup phrik nam siyu wan* (chiles in soy sweet sauce)
1 cup pak nam pla* (onions, celery & Chinese white radish in fish sauce)
1 cup Phrik dong* (chiles in vinegar
1 cup peeled, seeded & chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup date palm sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
* for recipes http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art30618.asp
1/3 cup of:
Steamed shelled prawn
Combine all the ingredients of the dressing and process in a blender until smooth or whisk by hand. If you want a more salsa like consistency, simply omit this step. Place the combined ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer until reduced to your taste. (you need about two cups of dressing). Combine the salad ingredients, add enough dressing to coat thoroughly, and serve.
Additional prepared dressing, prik nam siyu wan, pak nam pla, and the usual Thai table condiments of prik dong, powdered chile and sugar complete the presentation. The dish can be served on its own with sticky rice for lunch, or as part of a multi-course dinner.