The multitude of flavors from this salad explode in your mouth—sweet, tart, crunchy, and a touch of spiciness—the perfect side dish or a light entree.
Som Tam: Thai Korean Melon Salad
1 small, unripe Korean Melon (about 2 pounds)
1 medium clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fish sauce , or soy sauce
1 small red chili pepper, or sriracha sauce
2 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
5-10 large green beans
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup coarsely chopped Thai basil, for garnish
1/2 cup roasted peanuts or cashews, for garnish
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced lengthwise
Gather the ingredients and peel melon.
Using the largest grater you have (such as one for scalloped potatoes), grate the green fruit, rotating it as you go to avoid hitting the inner seeds. If you don't have a grater, finely slice or dice the melon.
In a small food processor, add the garlic, chili pepper/sauce, fish sauce, oil, lime juice, and brown sugar. Set this salad dressing aside.
Slice the green beans into segments and add them to the chopper or processor. Pulse to lightly chop and bruise the beans. In Thailand, the beans are pounded to bruise them, but this method works just as well.
Place the shredded melon, cherry tomatoes in a large salad bowl. Add most of the basil, holding back some to be used as a garnish. Add the dressing and beans and toss.
Add most of the peanuts, holding some back to be used for garnish, and toss again.
Test for taste and adjust the salad's flavour as desired. If you'd like a more intense flavour or extra saltiness, add an extra splash of fish or soy sauce. More chili can be added to make it spicier. If it's too sour, sprinkle a little white sugar over your salad and toss to mix (the sugar will melt in a minute or two).
Garnish with the scallions, and the remaining basil and peanuts.
Serve your salad as is or as a side dish to any Thai entree. If this is your main course, try serving it with a side of sticky rice like they do in Thailand.