Mark Dobbie (som saa) tam dtaeng kwaa
tam dtaeng kwaa (pounded cucumber salad with peanuts & snake beans)
Pounded salads are a staple on the streets of Thailand often eaten as a snack with some sticky rice or as part of a larger meal. Originating around the Laos and Isaan (northeastern Thailand) border it has spread across the country with a bunch of different variations. Som tam - a pounded salad made from green papaya - is the most commonly found variety of these types of salads in Thailand. A simple alternative when green papaya isn’t to hand is this recipe for tam dtaeng kwaa.
1 x long cucumber
2-3 x red birds-eye chillis depending on how hot they are
1 x garlic clove cut in half
1 x scant tbsp of palm sugar
3 x pieces lime*
2 x tbsp fried peanuts
1 x tbsp dried shrimp
1 x tbsp tamarind water
1 x tbsp lime juice
1 x tbsp fish sauce
6 x cherry tomato halves
6 x long green beans
*NB how to cut lime. first slice it in half long ways, then into 3 or 4 wedges depending on the size of you lime a la fish & chips or in the neck of a bottle of beer and then cut each of these wedges in half. You should end up with 12 or 16 pieces per lime.
Start by peeling the cucumber and deseeding it. Now cut the cucumber into chunks about the size of you thumb then put to one side. Next, pound the chillies and garlic in a clay mortar and pestle until reasonably smooth, add the palm sugar and pound some more. Put the limes in the bottom lightly muddle them to release the juice. Add the peanuts and dried prawns and crush a bit. Add the tamarind, fish sauce, lime juice and cucumbers. Now scoop and pound the salad at the same time. One hand pounds whilst the other one tosses the salad with a flat spoon and so on - this technique will slightly bruise the cucumber and if it breaks a little that's no problem as it will assist in absorbing some of the dressing and flavours. Add the beans and tomato halves and bruise slightly. Taste the dressing and adjust if necessary - it should taste sweet, spicy, sour and a just enough salinity to season.