Spicy Tang, a Daikon Salad

“I taught a Mexi-Thai Class which ended up being more about South East Asian and Central American flavours. Kevin Ostapek and I had a lot of fun with it. We did green curry chicken tomales, smoked pork tostadas with yellow curry crema, cerdo al pastor and a variation on this tasty salad which combines a lot of my favourite ingredients.” –Eric Hanson

Tamarind Dressing

4 Thai chilies, seeds removed
2 lg spoonfuls palm sugar syrup
2 lg spoonfuls infused fish sauce
2 limes, juiced
1 clove garlic
½ small shallot
3 spoonfuls or to taste, tamarind paste, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes

Mix all ingredients in a blender until it reaches a uniform consistency, approx 2 minutes. Adjust to taste, consider the sweetness of the sugar, spice from the chilies, sour from the lime, bitter from the tamarind, salty from the fish sauce. I like to taste this dressing with my eyes closed and listen for what it needs.

Daikon Salad

1 white daikon, skin removed
cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
bean sprouts, rinsed

Garnish with

½ lime, squeeze over the salad lastly
fresh mint leaves, ripped into little pieces
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly fried
fried shallots
1 pinch katsuobushi (per salad)
crispy fried edamame
salad mix

For the salad, I use a little vegetable peeler with teeth on it, bought for a dollar in Chinatown, a cheese grater also works, or you could slice it into batons or ribbons. Don’t over-think it, either way it will be good. Once you have the daikon in thin pieces, mix it with some cherry tomatoes and bean sprouts. Then add a spoonful of the dressing over it and mix well, taste a small piece and check the heat and flavour, if you want more, add more. In a small bowl add a pile of salad mix and add the garnishes to your liking.

Serves 4-6.

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