Thai salad of roast pork belly, scallop and mango

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This would have to be one of my all time favourite salads. The perfect balance of salty, spicy, sweet and sour are in perfect harmony in this refreshing salad, making it very Moorish. 
Salads are very important to the Thai’s. The word for salad in Thai dialect is yam and basically means toss together. Salads in Thailand are very different to that of western cuisine. Where we would associate a salad of a selection of greens leaves with mellow vinaigrette, the Thai yam would be an assortment of ingredients tossed in a very pungent dressing, and most of the times there are no leaves present at all. All Thai salads are famed for their distinctive flavours that tantalises and cleanse the palate during a banquette of dishes that would be served at a Thai meal.


For the nam jim dressing;
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
Coriander steams or roots
4 white peppercorns
1 tsp sea salt
8 green birds eye chillies
2tblsp palm sugar
40ml fish sauce
80ml fresh lime juice
3 red shallots thinly sliced

For the pork and scallops;
Pork belly salted and roasted
4tblsp palm sugar
2tblsp fish sauce
3 scallops, coral trimmed

To finish and serve;
1 mango peeled and sliced
Cucumber peeled, seeded and diced
4 cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
1 baby gem lettuce, ripped
1 shallot thinly sliced
8 small mint leaves
6 coriander leaves

Place the garlic, coriander, peppercorns and salt into a mortar and bash with a pestle until well crushed, but not reduced to a paste. Add the chillies and crush lightly. The more you crush the chillies the hotter the sauce will become, so be careful. Mix in the palm sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and shallots. The longer the dressing sits the more intense the flavour becomes so try to make the dressing as close to the time as you need it so that it taste very fresh.

Trim the pork belly into neat squares and place in a pan skin side down and roast for 8mins until very crisp. Put a small pot with a little water and the palm sugar onto the stove and cook until caramelised. Pour in the fish sauce and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Remove the pork from the oven and cut into thin slices. Pour the sauce over the pork.

Place a pan onto high heat with a little oil, cut the scallops in half and season the cut side. When the pan is almost smoking add the scallops. It is very important to have the pan at high heat so they seal properly and don’t stew in the pan. They should have a firm crust but still be slightly rare inside. Remove from the pan.

Place all of the salad ingredients into a bowl and add enough of the dressing to coat. Mix well and arrange in the centre of a serving plate. Place the pork belly on top of the salad and arrange the scallops around the salad. Serve at once.

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