Cucumber salad with crispy dried shrimp (yumm taeng kua). Sliced cucumber and red shallots in a dressing of fish sauce, palm sugar, white sugar, salt and lime juice, garnished with mint and coriander. Adapted from Su-Mei Yu.
Tamarind relish (nahm prik makam boran). Served with raw tomatillo, endive, baby carrots and pickled garlic. The relish consists of dried red chiles, tamarind pulp, salt, garlic, dried prawns and palm sugar pounded to a paste in a mortar and pestle. From David Thompson.
A dry red curry of shrimp (chuu chii haeng gung). The curry is called “dry” because it does not contain a large amount of soupy sauce, as “wet” curries do. A simple red curry paste is pounded (dried red chiles, salt, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime zest, coriander root, red shallots, garlic and shrimp paste), and then fried in the vegetable oil used to fry the shrimp, seasoned with white sugar and fish sauce, moistened with chicken stock (I simmered the shrimp bodies in the stock first), and garnished with kaffir lime leaves and coriander. I brined the shrimp beforehand; I should have cut down on the saltiness of the curry to compensate for this. Adapted from David Thompson (who uses lobster instead).
Crying tiger (seur rong hai), one of my favorite Thai dishes. Full details at the link. I used 20 bird chiles this time, but could have gone for even more. Next time I will try it with 30.
The crying tiger was even better cold a few days later. You can really see the green color imparted by the chiles and the crushed green peppercorns:
The meal was served with nam pla prik (chopped bird chiles in fish sauce, with a splash of lime juice in this case), and prik dong nahm som (minced chiles in vinegar sauce, with garlic and salt) on the side.