If you take away anything today from this post, I urge you to try the tamarind dressing, as it’s simple, and can dress up any lifeless pile of greens and veggies. It is especially good with seafood. The tamarind is tangy and earthy all at the same time.
I call this my “cold pad thai salad”, as for the dressing/marinade, the ratio of fish sauce to tamarind pulp to sugar is the same as in the famous fried noodle dish. Without the heat, this salad makes for a light, refreshing summer dinner, on those nights when you just don’t want to turn on the stove. If you happen to have leftovers from a seafood bake or the grill, this is a good way to use it up. I roughly chopped up about 1 cup of leftover steamed shrimp, lobster claw and scallops for this salad.
Thai Seafood Salad with Tamarind Dressing
1 cup steamed/grilled seafood (shrimp, scallops, lobster, crab, fish filets), chilled
2 medium cucumbers, slivered
1 carrot, slivered
1 red onion, slivered
heaping handful of bean sprouts
2 rolls Asian vermicelli noodles (also called bean thread noodles)
roughly chopped cilantro and scallion, for garnish
3 Tbsp tamarind pulp
3 Tbsp fish sauce
3 Tbsp palm sugar/granulated sugar/or natural cane sugar
juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1. Soak the dried vermicelli noodles in hot water until they are soft and pliable. Drain and put into the salad mixing bowl. Add the rest of the salad ingredients, except for the peanuts. Chill in the refrigerator while making the dressing.
2. For the dressing: Combine tamarind pulp, fish sauce and sugar in a microwave-safe container. Heat on high for 1 minute. Stir and let cool to room temperature. The mixture will be slightly thickened at this point. Stir in the lime juice and ginger.
3. When the dressing is completely cooled, add it to the salad and toss together. Garnish with the crushed peanuts, extra bean sprouts and/or cilantro.