Thai Pomelo Salad, Vegan Style
There is no doubt that I love Thai food more than anything (almost). If I could, I would eat it every day of my life. When I was in Thailand few years ago, I had pad thai for breakfast, different sort of curries for lunch and more curry and soups for dinner. I can go on forever about how much I love Thai food.
When I sat my ass down at a newly opened Thai noodle- and salad restaurant I couldn’t be happier when I spotted a pomelo salad on the menu! Pomelo is one of my favorite fruits. I remember when we’re kids, we only got to eat this fruit once a year during New Years eve. I guess that pomelos weren’t easy to get your hands on where I was living back then. Pomelos are 3 times bigger than a grapefruit, juicier, and sweeter but still have a little bit of va-va-voom. They are also full of vitamin C (not due to its size) to strengthen your immune system (weakened from stress or sickness), and fiber to keep your tummy happy and healthy. Pomelos are also loaded with antioxidants to fight off free radicals.
Back at the restaurant, I ordered the salad along with the tastiest vegetarian Tom Yum soup I had tasted in years. But what really swept me off my feet was the salad. Big chunky bits of sweet pomelo flesh served with generous amounts of roasted peanuts and coconut. The dressing was perfectly balanced; it was sweet, a tiny bit sour, with the saltiness of the fish sauce with a hint of lemongrass. Heaven!
A few days ago I found some left over pomelo in the fridge and decide to give in to my craving for this dish and recreated a vegan version with some winter purslane that I bought (or miners lettuce or Indian Lettuce or in Dutch winterpostelein). You can replace it with some thinly sliced spinach, or leave the greens out. No biggie. Serve it as a big meal, as a starter or just something in between.
Thai pomelo salad, vegan style
1/2 pomelo (you can substitute with 2 pink grapefruits)
1/4 cup raw peanuts
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
handfull winter purslane
2 tbs palmsugar
3 tbs water
1/4 red onion, minced
2 tbs lime juice
tiny pinch of salt
NOTE: You can replace the onion with shallots, but I couldn’t find any so I’ve used red onion.
For the dressing, start with dissolving the palm sugar with warm water. In a small bowl add the onions, 2 tbs of sugar, 1 tbs of lime juice and a bit of salt. Give it a good stir and taste. If it’s too sweet, add a little more lime juice. Is the lime juice too much, then add some sugar. It’s just about finding the right balance between these ingredients. You want to taste more of the sweetness than the tartness of the limes. But I’ll leave that up to you.
Peel the pomelo and break the fruit segments into small pieces, I’ve used half of the pomelo. Roast the peanuts dry pan over medium heat until they are golden brown. Let them cool and roughly chop them.
Add everything in a big bowl and toss around with your hands. Enjoy immediately.