NAM PLA SEAFOOD SALAD

Fish Sauce may sound disgusting to you, but I’m going to need you to put aside some of your reservation.

Because this salad is genuinely to die for it. It’s sweet, salty, spiky – and most of all good for you, I guess? Which doesn’t matter to a lot of people but the nutritional benefits of this are great so it’s important to note. I teamed up this seafood salad with a Nam Pla sauce because I needed something sour. I’ve screamed many times before that a salad sauce needs a spike, something bitter, something acidic to lift the leaves and the salty spiky punch of Nam Pla is exactly what I need.

Garlicky, chilli-y, seafood-y, all combined with that tongue cracking sweet and sour sauce that you can coat as liberally or as reserved as you want. Plus it’s a very green salad, so while it’s lovely to look at, you can totally convince yourself that you’ve done something fantastic today by eating your greens.

Then go bake a cake. Yay.

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Recipe is as easy as pie (but not really because it’s easier and pie can be complicated sometimes) and the only real cooking you do here is to cook up some peas. So bring some water to a boil, throw in some peas, cook for 3 or 4 minutes, drain, run some cold water over them and put to the side. Throw a few big handfuls watercress into a big bowl, or on a plate, or in a big roasting dish as I’ve done in this picture.

Slice up some spring onions (I love slicing them on the diagonal so you get long punchy bites of them) and sprinkle over. Deseed a red chilli (slice in half and drag a teaspoon down the centre) and slice up and toss over before throwing over the cooled and drained peas.

Finally add your seafood. Now I’m damn near one of the laziest cooks ever and I use frozen seafood here which I had thawing in the fridge as I was in work, but if you have raw seafood, feel free to cook them as per the packet. Also feel free to just use prawns or just use squid – however you wanted to adorn this salad with your seafood chew, do so.

Now comes the gorgeous crowning glory – the sauce. In a bowl or a small ramekin, pour in two tablespoons of fish sauce. Grate in a small clove of garlic before adding a small squirt of honey. Now add a finely chopped chilli. I chopped up a green one because I had a cute, tiny little chili in my fridge that I wanted to use up, but feel free to cut up a red one if you need, but slice it much finer than what you did earlier. You want this sauce to have small particles of chili in the liquid, not big old chunks.

Give this a little stir before dressing your salad and serving. You could even squeeze over a bit of lime juice if you’re feeling particularly exotic.

And don’t be taken to try and fancy this up by serving it in a roasting tray the way I did. It’ll taste the same if you toss it all together in a bowl or even in a lunch box for work. Don’t turn up to work serving this in a roasting tray. Your co-workers will look at you sideways.

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