Yum means “mixed” in Thai. It’s a kind of salad that loaded with chilies, fresh herbs, and punchy flavors of lime, sugar and fish sauce. It’s balance, but bold, and out of this world delicious. Salad in Thailand is not a regular goodie healthy salads you are used too. Most of them are protein-base while veggies and herbs are only sidekicks. Yum can be made with medium-rare grilled beef, roasted chicken, blanched seafood, or in many cases—raw meat, and the proteins are mixed with finely sliced shallots, chopped fresh chilies, loaded of fresh herbs like cilantro, mint and scallion, and sometime things gets even more interesting when ground toasted sticky rice is added for the smoky flavor and crunchy texture. The dressing is always simple— lime, fish sauce, sugar and of course more chilies. It’s the beautiful chaos of flavor. So vibrant and refreshing.
In this recipe, Yum Pla Tu (Thai Spicy Mackerel Salad), crispy fried Indian mackerels are roughly sliced and mixed with shallots, chilies, lovely fresh lemongrass. Sometimes I do this with whole fish, but you have to endure the messy eating process. This version is urbane, making each explosive bite more approachable. I serve this with rice, but on the fine creative day, I wrap it in Tortilla and devour.
Yum Pla Tu
Ingredients: (2 serving)
400 gm Indian Mackerel – cleaned, washed and wiped dry
¼ cup cooking oil for shallow-frying
Sea salt for seasoning the fish
2 stalk lemongrass- finely sliced
6 shallots- finely sliced
2-4 (depending on your heat tolerant) fresh red or green chilies- sliced
2 tsp fish sauce or to taste
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp sugar
A handful fresh cilantro- chopped
Bird eye chilies for garnish— optional
Sprinkle some sea salt over the fish. In the frying-pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Slowly add mackerels and fry for about 2-3 minutes each side or until the fish is golden brown and crispy. Remove from hot oil and allow to cool down.
Discard the bones from the fish and roughly chop it into small pieces.
Add sliced shallots, chilies, lemongrass, and cilantro.
Season with fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Mix well and check the seasoning.
You may garnish with some bird eye chilies and serve.