The Thais call this simple salad yam khai dao and, on every level it’s our kind of dish. It’s easy to rustle up when the pantry is looking empty and is great for brunch, lunch or dinner.
21⁄2 tablespoons dried shrimp, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, drained and coarsely chopped
125 ml vegetable oil
1 butter lettuce, leaves washed, dried and torn
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
1 carrot, peeled and shredded into fine ribbons or cut into matchsticks
handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves
handful of Thai basil leaves
2 red bird’s eye chillies, thinly sliced
80 ml lime juice
11⁄2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon shaved palm sugar (jaggery)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 red bird’s eye chillies, thinly sliced
The key is to fry the eggs until they are crisp and golden, but it’s totally up to you if you want your yolks runny, firm or somewhere in between. Try using quail eggs for a daintier dish.
In a wok over medium heat, fry the dried shrimp in the oil for about 2 minutes or until crisp and fragrant. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain any excess oil. Reserve the hot oil in the wok. Increase the heat to medium–high and, working in batches, add 4 eggs to the hot oil in the wok, taking care as the oil will splutter. Cook for 1 minute or until the egg whites are puffy and golden on the bottom. Carefully turn the eggs over using a spatula, then cook for another 20–30 seconds or until the tops are just set, but the yolks are still runny. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain any excess oil. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine well and until the sugar has dissolved.
Divide the eggs between four bowls. Add the dressing, fried dried shrimp, lettuce, onion, carrot, herbs and chillies and toss to combine well. Serve immediately.