Start local. Since I was building a recipe that incorporates this truly Malaysian product, palm oil, why not have ingredients that are easily and locally sourced? Everything that goes into this salad can be found anywhere from your neighbourhood pasar tani to the big supermarkets. I also wanted to highlight a few ingredients that you may not typically associate with salads.
Watercress is usually boiled to perfection in soups but here we are using it raw. It has a slight pepper like flavour which makes it similar to arugula or rocket, and much cheaper! For the heat that we Malaysians love and crave, feel free to add a chili padi or two into the dressing! Lychees are like Chinese catnip and pairs perfectly with the toasted black sesame. The clear, sweet, creamy crunch of the sengkuang works as the perfect foil against the pickled carrots.
The palm oil was used two ways in this recipe, for deep frying as well as the fat component of the dressing. The neutral taste of palm oil lends itself well to vinaigrettes and dressings, whereas the sometimes bitter and heavy taste of olive oil can be off putting for Asian palates.
One final note: Keep tasting the dressing and adjust the seasoning accordingly. After all, personal tastes vary so don’t be afraid to add more or less of this and that. Below is the recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Asian Prawn and Lychee Salad
1 head green coral lettuce, washed, dried, and cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup watercress shoots, washed and dried
1 small sengkuang (Jicama), cut into thick matchsticks
2 medium carrots cut into thick matchsticks
9 canned lychees, quartered
2 Tbsp. black sesame seeds
Refined 100% palm oil, enough to deep fry
¼ cup + 4 Tbsp. plain white flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 Tsp. salt
½ cup soda water (ice cold)
2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
8 Tbsp. canned lychee liquid
3 large limes; juiced, & seeds removed
Zest of 1 lime
1 red chili, diced
1 cili padi (bird’s eye chili), crushed
5 Tbsp. refined 100% palm oil
Quick pickling liquid:
½ cup white sugar
1 Tsp. salt
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup warm water (room temp is fine too)
Please refer to the video for the how-to!
We’re giving RM10,000 and other amazing prizes to the winner of our first ever R.AGE Food Fight!
The five finalists will get to learn from the best, our Food Fight mentors:
– Chef Wan, Malaysia’s original food celebrity
– Chef Rodolphe Onno, Le Cordon Bleu master chef
– Chef Darren Chin, of Restaurant DC
– KY Speaks, top Malaysian food blogger
– Chef Liang, performing artiste and up-and-coming restaurateur
They’ll also get media and video production training from us at R.AGE, before they face off against each other at the Food Fight finale for the RM10,000 grand prize.
The competition’s closed, but you can always check out the other Food Fight submissions at https://rage.com.my/foodfight !