Thai at home

Fresh herbs and lime make this chicken salad's flavour pop!Everywhere I go, women always ask me for easy Thai recipes. So once again, here’s one of favourites. You can make it in minutes, so give it a try and enjoy tasty fresh Thai at home. 

After you stock up on a few Thai pantry basics such as fish sauce, tamarind sauce, and dried shrimp, Thai cooking is easy and fun.
This salad, also called Som Tom or Som Tum, is a Thai classic and perfect this fall when green beans are plentiful. If you cannot easily find a green papaya or do not like it, double the green beans – it will taste fine.
If you add a half-cup of cooked chicken, (I use BBQ chicken from the store) or grilled shrimp or scallops to this salad, it will serve two or even three people as a tasty warm-weather meal.
Top and tail 1 cup of green beans, and steam them until they are cooked but still crisp (about three minutes). Then rinse them in cold water to keep the green colour. You can also microwave for three minutes, covered with a damp paper towel.
½ cup of grape tomatoes washed and halved
½ cup thinly sliced sweet onion or green onion
1 thinly sliced carrot, peeled
1 handful of Thai or regular basil
1 handful of peanuts to top the salad
½ cup dried shrimp (soak in water)
For a lunch or dinner salad, add ½ cup of cooked shredded chicken, or ½ cup grilled shrimp or scallops per person.
1 green papaya, julienned on a mandolin, or buy it already julienned or cut into long thin strips with a sharp knife. There is a big stone in the middle of a papaya. And the fruit’s tough peel is hard to remove, so use a peeler.
Make this at least one hour in advance to blend the flavours:
2 tsp. fish sauce (I like 3 Crab brand)
Juice from 2 to 3 limes – it depends on how juicy they are.
1 pkg. Stevia in the Raw, Splenda or 1 tbsp. white, brown, or palm sugar (palm is Thai)
1-2 thinly sliced bird chilies, no seeds or 1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp. spicy or regular sesame oil
To serve, mix all the vegetables together with the dried shrimp, the chicken or seafood, and toss with the dressing.   Garnish with peanuts.