Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cambodian Tomato Salad

Growing up, tomato salad was a regular side dish that was served with whole Tilapia or catfish.  It is something so easy to make yet so delicious.  Another similar side dish would be mango salad that is also served with the same foods.  The flavors of the salad pairs well with the bland fish. 

Those who aren't familiar with the potent smell and flavor of fish sauce may take some time to get accustomed.

 These plump colorful tomatoes caught my eye at the local Market Basket.  I bought an assortment of yellow, orange tomatoes along with small red roma tomatoes.

Assortment of Tomatoes (Doesn't have to be colorful, red is fine)
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup of  "3 Crabs" fish sauce
2 jalapenos
3 chili peppers
2 scallions
1 small red onion
handful of cilantro leaves

First, wash the tomatoes and pour table salt on them.  Leave it in a colander or strainer over a bowl.  I got this idea from a the cooking channel. This helps release excess water from the tomatoes which makes them more tasty.  Set aside for 15 minutes.

Julienne three chili peppers.  I store my chili peppers in the freezer since I can never use them quick enough before they spoil.  Frozen peppers are just as good as fresh peppers.  There is still spice in every bite.    Slice diagonally up 2 fresh jalapenos.  Mince one clove of garlic. Slice up the small red onion into thin strips.

Measure 1/4 cup of fish sauce.  Fish sauce is available in every Asian grocery store and most grocery stores in Lowell.  Please note that there are different flavors with varying pungency.  I prefer using the "three crab" brand since it has the least fishy flavor.

 Combine the fish sauce and the peppers, onions and chilis and mix them in a bowl.  Gently mash the chili peppers and jalapenos to release oil.

Cut up the cilantro and scallions in large sections. Set aside for garnish.

Wash the salt from the tomatoes.  Cut up all the tomatoes in large chunks.  I prefer wedges but you can slice them up in rounds or thin half moon shapes.  This is based on your preference.

 Combine all the ingredients together and add a dash of black pepper and sea salt.
 Gently toss the tomatoes and the mixtures.  Be careful not to squash the tomatoes.

 Serve with fish or chicken.  I grilled up some chicken thighs and white jasmine rice.