Australian Chef David Thompson is globally acclaimed as an authority on Thai food and culinary techniques.
After traveling to Thailand in 1986 on what was to be a short holiday, he stayed five years and commenced his culinary journey of discovery. On his return to Sydney in 1991, David launched his first Thai restaurant. His journey has continued and more recently the London restaurant nahm where he is chef/patron was the first Thai restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star.
To celebrate the launch today of Megachef fish sauce in Sydney, Chef David Thompson has kindly shared this recipe with Inside Cuisine. This is the first ‘commercial product’ to which he has lent his name.
Prawn Salad with Grated Coconut, Lemongrass and Lime (Plaa Gung)
Serves 4 as part of a shared meal with other dishes, but alone is sufficient for 1
This is a wonderful salad – it is rich, tart and spicy, just like the Thais!
Any type of seafood can be used in place of the prawns: scallops, for instance; perhaps lobster, if you’re feeling lavish; or maybe some fish.
In order to get the best from this recipe, you really need to grate your own coconut. Buy one that feels quite heavy for its size and has water inside (you should be able to hear it sloshing around when you shake it). Crack the coconut with the blunt side of a cleaver – wallop it hard once, twice, even three or four times, and it should split in half. Do this over the sink so the water can drain away easily. Rinse the inside of each coconut half then scrape out the required amount of meat with a grater or zester. If you’re keen, you can grate the whole coconut and squeeze the leftover meat to extract the coconut cream needed for the dressing.
Lemongrass is easy to clean: just chop off the fibrous top third and the tough end of the root, then peel off two or three of the outer leaves to reveal the tender inner core.
Try to find Thai bird’s eye chillies – they are small and green and have a unique flavour and perfume, as well as packing a serious wallop of heat. You can find them in most Asian food shops with the coconut.
5 raw prawns, peeled and de-veined but with tails left intact
½ cup freshly grated coconut
5 tablespoons finely sliced lemongrass – about 3 stalks
6 red shallots, sliced
handful of mint leaves
4–5 bird’s eye chillies, finely sliced
a few kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
steamed jasmine rice, to serve
3 tablespoons coconut cream
3 tablespoons lime juice
pinch of salt
½ tablespoon shaved palm sugar
about ½ tablespoon fish sauce, to taste – Megachef, naturally
First make the dressing. Combine the coconut cream with the lime juice, salt and sugar. Stir well before adding fish sauce to taste – the dressing should be rich, sour, salty and sweet.
Blanch the prawns by plunging them into salted boiling water for a moment, just until they begin to change colour. Combine the blanched prawns with the dressing in a serving bowl. Add the coconut and mix well, then stir in all the remaining ingredients except the rice.
Serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice.
Megachef fish sauce will be available in Australia nationally at quality food retailers.