This homemade prawn and pomelo salad was SUPERB and relatively easy to do. If you have the patience to hunt down all the finest ingredients or make some of them from scratch, this salad will stun you. Because it is an “extravagant” salad, I decided to tackle it only if I had the finest ingredients. Don’t even think of doing this if you don’t have good pomelos…
While on a business trip to Cebu, we stopped at a makeshift/roadside vendor with pomelos on offer. We bought one to try and back at the office I peeled it and was pleasantly surprised to find a robust, juicy and sweet pomelo, all for just PHP50 per piece, roughly 1/3rd the price of pomelos in Manila, and the latter were extremely erratic. So a little later the same day, we bought 15 kilos of pomelo to bring back to Manila as checked-in baggage. Key ingredient number one, check.
Next we acquired some medium sized suahe or pale shrimp, brined them for an hour before blanching them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes then taking them out, and peeled when cool enough to handle. I also chopped up some of the roasted peanuts we made at home. I chopped up some home-dried coconut. Got some kaffir or makrut lime leaves from the garden, a few leaves of sawtooth coriander and some mint leaves from the fridge. Also boiled some chicken breasts and shredded the meat.
I made a modest amount of dressing from dayap juice, and yes, it must be dayap or key lime or Vietnamese/Thai/Indonesian lime or don’t bother, some brown sugar, thai patis, a bit of water and come chopped red chili. If you have thai fish paste a little of that would also be nice. Mix this all up and get ready to assemble your salad just minutes before you serve it.
Break peeled pomelo sections into smaller bite-sized pieces, toss with prawns and shredded chicken strips (if using latter), add 1/3 or the dressing and toss gently. Add the chopped herbs, some dried coconut, fried shallots and chopped peanuts and a bit more of the dressing. Then top the salad with more coconut shallots and peanuts and herbs and drizzle the rest of the dressing… The salad should only be LIGHTLY dressed, not swimming in sauce. This was the starter to a meal with red duck curry, some fried calamari or squid with Thai sweet chili sauce, and some fried sardines. The meal was very good, but all told, required a bit of effort. If you can’t be bothered, book a table at People’s Palace or Benjarong or Azuthai instead. :)