A proper Thai meal should consist of a soup, a curry dish with condiments, a dip with accompanying fish and vegetables. A spiced salad may replace the curry dish. The soup can also be spicy, but the curry should be replaced by non spiced items. There must be a harmony of tastes and textures within individual dishes and the entire meal. Wing Bean Salad (yum tua pu – ยำถั่วพู) is a central Thai dish featuring “wing beans” which are blanched and tossed with coconut milk, roasted chili paste, toasted coconut, tamarind, palm sugar and peanuts. If you can’t get wing beans where you are, they can be substituted with green beans or snap peas.
- 2 cups wing beans
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup toasted coconut
- 2 tsp roasted peanuts
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp roasted chili paste
- 2 tbsp tamarind paste (about 2 teaspoons tamarind pulp + 2 tablespoons hot water)
- 1 1/2 tsp fish sauce (hard to find Kosher especially when desiring to serve with a meat meal – can make own using a mix of soy sauce, boullion & a little corn starch, or Worcestershire sauce that doesn’t have fish in the ingredients)
- 1 tsp palm sugar
- vegetable oil for frying the shallots
- 3-4 small dried chilies
- 2 tbsp shallots (1 tablespoon if you use pre-fried shallots)
- Slice the fresh coconut meat into match-stick size strips, about 1″ (2cm) long. Remove the skin of the shallots and slice thinly.
- Roast the coconut on medium heat in a dry pan until light brown. Keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. Set aside on a flat plate to cool.
- If your peanuts are not already roasted, dry roast them now like you did the coconut. Crush the peanuts with a stone mortar & pestle or the side of a heavy knife.
- Fry the shallots in enough vegetable oil to cover them on medium heat until golden brown. Be careful not to burn. Remove before dark brown as they will continue to cook for a minute or two once removed from the pan. (You can cheat here and buy pre-fried shallots in a container at many Asian groceries.)
- Fry the chilies in the oil until browned.
- Boil the eggs in water until hard-boiled, about 10 minutes. Replace the hot water with fresh cold water to stop the cooking. Peel and slice however you wish (halved, quartered, or sliced thin like shown).
- Trim off the ends of the wing beans and boil whole in salt water for less than a minute — just enough time to turn a darker green. You want them to still be crisp & crunchy. Rinse in cold water and slice into 1/4″ pieces (as shown).
- Heat the coconut milk in a pan until boiling. Turn off heat and add the palm sugar, tamarind paste, roasted chili paste, lime juice, fish sauce, peanuts and coconut. Mix well.
- Add the wing beans and mix. Remove to a plate and arrange the eggs along side. Garnish with the fried shallots and chilies.