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Recipe from: Colonel I.F. Khuntilanont-Philpott
Servings: 12 to 16
My wife and I recently attended the marriage celebrations of the son of a friend of ours, and this dish is our contribution to the food (Thai wedding celebrations are often one long banquet... interspersed by visits to temples and paying respects to parents and grandparents).
Because it was offered as part of the "husband's side" food, I have called it yum sami, but a similar, if rather simpler recipe, recently appeared in an advertisement for a firm that packages ham and sausage, and called yum ham kung, which would be an alternative name (except I don't like using obvious imports in language...)
It is similar in concept to such dishes as yum nuea or yum mu (beef or pork salads respectively), and we in fact bought the shrimp freshly cooked from a vendor near our home on the way to the festivities, allowing this to be a "no-cook" recipe. However I would usually prefer to start from scratch so I include the method for preparing the shrimp. Note that when I describe them as 'fresh' the jumbo shrimp are taken from a live tank for sale in most shops here...
The dish is loaded with meaning, so I have left the quantities large, but you can of course scale it down for your own needs. The number of large shrimp (8), their colour (red), even the local name (dragon) are indicators of wealth and success in life, so highly significant for the young couple. One local tradition here is for the couple to each feed each other a shrimp - less messy than the American cream cake! Eight shrimp also means one each for the Bride and Groom, their parents, and the best man and chief bridesmaid (the latter being a recent tradition of western origin).
Finally yum means tossed (as a salad is tossed), and signifies the tossings of fortune in life...
8 dragon shrimp (fresh water shrimp, 2-3 to the pound)
1 pound of shrimp (16-20 to the pound)
1 pound of ham
¼ pound of bologna, sliced
¼ pound of sliced roast pork
¼ pound of shaved beef
¼ pound cooked chicken, sliced
1 cup nam pla
1 cup nam manao (lime juice)
4 tablespoons nam si-ew wan (sweet dark soy sauce, or use oyster soy)
6 tablespoons kratiem (garlic), minced
12 tablespoons khing (ginger), minced
12 tablespoons bai chi (coriander/cilantro including the roots), chopped
cup ton hom (green/spring onions)
cup hom daeng (shallots/purple onions), thinly sliced
4 tablespoons sesame oil
4 tablespoons chilli oil
half cup prik ki nu (bird's-eye chillies, mixed red and green), sliced
2 tablespoons khao kua
The jumbo shrimp should be grilled or barbecued until pink. To avoid burning this is best done with the heads and carapaces still on. Thais eat almost the whole shrimp (including some of the shell), so would serve them like this. You may prepare to remove the head and legs, shell (except the tail), and de-vein them. Set them aside. The smaller shrimp are best dry-toasted in a wok over medium heat, tossing continuously to avoid burning until pink. Again they are best de-headed, shelled and cleaned after cooking.
Slice the cooked meat into half inch strips, and then cut any long pieces into smaller bite sized pieces. Tease the chicken apart with the tines of a fork.
Cut the white bulbs from the spring onion, and then slice the green parts thinly.
Place the chicken, sliced meat, and small shrimp in a large bowl. In a mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients and then pour them over the mixed meats and shrimp. Toss to thoroughly coat and leave to stand for at least an hour before serving.
Place the tossed ingredients on a large serving platter, surround with a circle of alternating tomato segments and slices of cucumber, and place the jumbo shrimp like the spokes of a wheel, heads innermost then garnish with coriander/cilantro and mint leaves.
Serve with steamed rice.
Will keep ¾ days in a refrigerator.