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Pomelo Salad | Yum Som-O | ยำส้มโอ

Pomelo Salad | Yum Som-O | ยำส้มโอ

Whenever I start to think I have the faintest idea about how to cook Thai food, I come across a recipe that effectively shatters all of my previously-held notions.  This pomelo salad is one of those recipes.

For the longest time, I thought that Thai salads were all made with the “traditional” dressing of fish sauce, lime juice, and chili peppers.  Sure, there was a little bit of wiggle room in this dressing.  Say, for instance, if you wanted to add some sugar to round things out a bit, that would be fine.  You could even add a little water to dilute the dressing if you were making your salad for palates that aren’t accustomed to such bold flavors.  That’d be okay too.

Then the boyfriend’s dad introduced me to a spicy Thai shrimp salad whose dressing is composed of these core ingredients plus roasted chili paste.  And I thought, “Every rule has an exception, right?  I can be okay with this.” 

Pomelo Salad | Yum Som-O | ยำส้มโอBut now I’ve come across this pomelo salad recipe and it‘s got me questioning my fundamental notions about Thai salad dressings.  The dressing for this salad is composed of the core ingredients, plus roasted chili paste, plus coconut milk.  I know this might not seem like much of a difference, but it throws out my idea that there is only one “traditional” way to make Thai salad dressings.  And it’s got me wondering how many other types of Thai salad dressings there are that I’m not aware of… 

Highlighting the limitations of my Thai cooking knowledge aside, this pomelo salad is truly wonderful.  It’s a delicious combination of vibrant pomelo, plump shrimp, freshly roasted peanuts and coconut flakes, and deep-fried garlic and shallots.  All of this is tossed together with the creamy coconut milk-based dressing to produce a really stunning salad.  

 Dare I say this is now my new favorite Thai salad?

Pomelo Salad | Yum Som-O | ยำส้มโอ


Pomelo Salad | Yum Som-O | ยำส้มโอ

Makes 2-3 servings

Pomelo Salad | Yum Som-O | ยำส้มโอ


    Salad Ingredients:
  • 1 large pomelo (about 3 cups peeled fruit)
  • 1/2 cup cooked shrimp
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup raw peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon shallots, sliced finely
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • Dressing Ingredients:
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted chili paste (nam prik pao)
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon palm sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice


  1. Peel the pomelo and break the fruit segments into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Roast the peanuts by placing in a dry pan over medium heat until they are golden brown. Do the same for the coconut flakes.
  3. Heat a 1/4-1/2 cup of oil over medium heat in a small pan. Fry the chopped garlic until it's golden brown, then do the same for the thinly sliced shallots.
  4. Once all of your ingredients are prepared, combine together in a bowl.
  5. Mix the dressing ingredients, taste, and adjust as appropriate. Depending on the tartness of your limes, you may want to start with 1 Tablespoon lime juice first, then add more as needed.
  6. Pour all of the dressing (~1/2 cup) over the salad and enjoy immediately.

Recipe adapted from ThaiFoodMaster.com


17 comments… add one
  • Nicola Hooper March 19, 2018, 7:52 am

    OMG this was so good. Pomelo salad is a fave of mine after living in Asia for 4 years. Finally found one in my local New Zealand supermarket – just as good! I poached the prawns in coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger and chilli which I think made it the bomb!

  • Thai Recipes August 9, 2017, 2:57 pm

    Can I translate to my language and post to my blog?

  • Best Thai Recipes June 25, 2017, 11:38 am

    That is great resource for me. If you want สูตรอาหารไทย (Thai Recipes) You can come and check my site.

  • Chau November 17, 2013, 6:36 am

    Wow this recipe looks so good. I hope to tackle it soon.

  • Nina September 19, 2013, 12:40 pm

    I have lived in Singapore for 15 years, been to Thailand many times and have just made this recipe. I also thought that a Thai dressing was always lime juice, fish sauce, chilli and palm sugar. So wrong! The pomelo salad best I’ve ever tasted. Thank you. Will be trying all your others now.

    • Rachel September 19, 2013, 4:18 pm

      Awesome, so glad to hear it Nina!

  • googlepo September 11, 2012, 2:04 am

    This is the second entry I read tonight. And I am on my third. Got to think which one is next. Thank you.

  • m June 26, 2012, 2:45 pm

    I LOOOOVEEEE your blog!!!!!! I want to try every single thing in here! So excited, thank you for sharing your amazing recipes!

  • mycookinghut April 22, 2012, 11:41 am

    Yum!! This is absolutely delicious!

  • Rachel April 22, 2012, 1:04 am

    So glad to hear!

  • A Facebook User April 19, 2012, 11:00 am

    Oh…My…GOODNESS! I just made this for lunch and it was AMAZING! The layers and layers of flavor never quit. I LOVED it!

  • Rachel March 3, 2012, 9:25 am

    Thanks all! Neesha, I’ve seen some recipes that say you can substitute grapefruit for pomelo and others that don’t recommend it, so I guess I’d say it’s worth a shot…

  • sara February 27, 2012, 6:55 pm

    This salad looks wonderful! Lovely flavors…I definitely want to try this out! :)

  • Neesha February 27, 2012, 9:29 am

    Pomelo’s are tough to come by in the Midwest. I wonder if grapefruit would make an adequate substitute. It looks amazing. I love Thai food.

  • myfudo February 27, 2012, 3:53 am

    Wow…this looks awesome. I would love to try too. My hubby will love this!

  • JJ February 26, 2012, 11:23 pm

    yum! can’t wait to try it!

  • Michelle February 26, 2012, 8:55 pm

    Oh, my goodness, I have nothing significant to say other than: that looks so good!

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