Beet Salad with Prik Nam Pla, Thai Herbs, and Crispy Onions
This salad is a simple dish that relies on Thai flavors to showcase the magic of the beet. The more I eat beets, the more I fall in love with them. Maybe it’s because I’ve learned to give the beets what they want. The rich, earthy, and slightly sweet flavors of roasted beets are heightened by the additions of acidic, fatty and fresh flavors. And the dense, flexible texture of the beets are complimented by foods with crunchy and crispy mouth feels. The beets for this dish are marinated in prik nam pla. This Thai sauce is bright, acidic, spicy and complex--perfect on a warm day when you don’t want to use the stove. Prik nam pla can also be used as a sauce for cooked fish or grilled chicken, as a flavoring for a noodle or rice bowl, or as a dip for spring rolls or fish cakes. The long, hot Texas summers yield a hefty harvest of hot chilis, so I keep a jar of spicy prik nam pla in my fridge to use when I need something cold, spicy and acidic. I bet it would be good in a cocktail with some gin and basil (lightbulb)
Yield: 5-6 Servings
Total Time: 2 Hours
Active Time: 30 minutes
7-8 Beets Roasted and cut into half-moons
1 Cup Whole, Fresh Thai Basil
1 Cup Cilantro Leaves (a little stem doesn’t hurt)
1/2 Cup Whole, Fresh Mint Leaves
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Lime Yogurt Sauce
1 Cup of Greek Yogurt
Zest of 1 Lime
Prik Nam Pla
1/2 Cup of Fish Sauce (We suggest using Flying Lion Brand)
1/4 Cup Lime Juice
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 Green Top From Lemongrass Stalk
2 Thai Chilis, Chopped
1 Clove of Garlic, Minced
1 White Onion
1/2 Cup Rice Flour
1/4 Cup Cornstarch
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Neutral Oil for Frying
For Prik Nam Pla
Take the top part of a lemongrass stalk and crumple it up to release the flavor. You will be removing the lemongrass from the sauce later, so keep it whole. Mix all ingredients together in a jar—cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The longer you let the sauce meld together, the more depth of flavor you will get.
For Yogurt Sauce
Mix lime zest with yogurt. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
For Crispy Onions
Cut onion in half and cut halves into 1/8 inch slices.
Mix Rice Flour, Cornstarch, and Salt together to form a dredge.
Heat oil in a pot until it reaches 350 degrees. Coat the sliced onions in the dredge and fry in small batches. When the onions are golden brown, remove from the oil and land them on a paper towel. Season the onions with salt and reserve until needed.
Assembling the Salad
Take the lemongrass out of the prik nam pla and pour the sauce over the beets, stir well and marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hours. After beets have marinated, strain and reserve the sauce. Put the marinated beets in a bowl with the fresh herbs and olive oil. Add 3 Tablespoons of prik nam pla and mix the salad well. Season with salt to taste. Reserve the left-over prik nam pla for another use, it will stay good in the fridge for 2 weeks or more. Dollop a few spoons of the lime yogurt at random spots on the salad. Don’t feel pressured to use all the yogurt, it works great in other applications.
Top salad with crispy onions and enjoy.
Photos by Bobby Scheidemann