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Spicy Grilled Shrimp Salad | Pla Goong | พล่ากุ้ง

Spicy Grilled Shrimp Salad | Pla Goong | พล่ากุ้ง

When I was growing up, I was always given the task of preparing our green salads for dinner.  I loved doing this, but it certainly brought out the perfectionist in me.  I would dice the carrots into tiny perfectly-squared cubes, slice the cucumber into itsy-bitsy triangles, and chop the olives until they resembled a tapanade more than a salad ingredient.

I’d spend so much time making sure that everything was flawlessly bite-sized that my mom would inevitably break down and tell me that the salad looks good enough and could I please now set the table!?

Now that I’m grown, I don’t usually spend as much time making sure my salad vegetables are chopped to perfection.  I have better things to do with my time, like finishing the rest of dinner or setting the table…

Spicy Grilled Shrimp Salad | Pla Goong | พล่ากุ้งBut recently, the boyfriend’s dad introduced me to a spicy Thai grilled shrimp salad where finely chopped vegetables are not only valued — they are indeed critical to the success of the dish!  And, I have to admit that I was pretty happy to have an excuse to indulge in my perfectionist tendencies once again!

This Thai grilled shrimp salad is composed of all kinds of finely sliced herbs – lemongrass, cilantro, mint, shallots, red onions, and red Thai chilis.  Everything but the cilantro and mint are meant to be sliced as finely as possible so you don’t wind up with a mouthful of one flavor in isolation.  Instead, all of the herbs harmonize together with each other.  When combined with hot-off-the-grill shrimp and a typical spicy, salty, sweet, and tangy Thai dressing, you wind up with yet another fantastic Thai salad.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp Salad | Pla Goong | พล่ากุ้ง

So I’d encourage you to get out your knives and start perfecting your chopping skills.  I can assure you that the payoff for the time spent finely slicing herbs is well worth it in the end!

Spicy Grilled Shrimp Salad | Pla Goong | พล่ากุ้ง

Makes 4 servings

Spicy Grilled Shrimp Salad | Pla Goong | พล่ากุ้ง

Ingredients

    Salad Ingredients:
  • 3/4 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 cups chopped lettuce
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup shallots, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup lemongrass, sliced thinly
  • 5 red Thai peppers, sliced thinly
  • Dressing Ingredients:
  • 2 Tablespoons roasted chili paste
  • 1 Tablespoon palm sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice

Instructions

  1. Combine the sauce ingredients and mix until everything is well incorporated. Set aside.
  2. Prepare all of your vegetables. The lettuce, cilantro, and mint can be coarsely chopped. The thick outer layers of the lemongrass should be peeled away and only the tender, bottom 1/3 of the stalk should be used. Slice the lemongrass, shallots, red onion, and red peppers very finely.
  3. Peel and devein the shrimp, keeping the head and tail on if you want a more dramatic presentation. Brush a bit of oil on both sides and then grill them until they're cooked through.
  4. Throw all of your vegetables together in a bowl and dress with the sauce. You may use more or less of the sauce depending on your taste preferences.
  5. Then add the grilled shrimp to the bowl while they are still hot and toss everything together. Enjoy immediately!

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