This shrimp and squid salad is such a refreshing dish that serves great as an appetizer at your weekday dinner and perfect at any weekend parties. The dish is super simple to prepare and super delicious for the taste buds. The secret to this tasty salad is in the dressing. Transforming the pungent fish sauce into a delicious dressing to bring out the freshness of the salad can be challenging if the ratios is off. The ratios that I'm mentioning here are between the fish sauce, the lime juice and the sugar. The simplest one to remember is 1:1:1, but for me I like a little more sweetness to the dressing so I tend to add a little more sugar into sauce. Adjust the ratios to however you like and get your beers ready for some tasty treat.
For the salad:
1. 10 jumbo shrimps, peeled and deveined
2. 1 lb of baby squid with heads (cleaned)
3. 2 bunches of fresh mint leaves
4. 1 bunch of scallion, 1 bunch of cilantro
5. 1 white onion (sliced)
6. 5-6 shallots to make crispy, caramelized shallots
7. Few slices of ginger
8. Roasted sesame seeds for garnish
For the dressing:
1. 1 small knob of ginger (minced)
2. 5 tbsp lime juice, 5 tbsp fish sauce, 7 tbsp sugar
3. 3 cloves of garlic and 3-4 Thai red chilies (minced)
Steam the shrimp and squid with a few slices of ginger to tone down the seafood smell. After about 15 minutes turn off the heat, slice the the baby squids in two or three pieces. Discard the gingers.
Chop the scallions into 2-3 inch long pieces and slice the white parts of the scallions in half. Slice the white onion and soak it in water that was seasoned with some salt, sugar and vinegar. Chop the cilantro and mints roughly into about 1 inch long pieces.
To make the crispy, caramelized shallot, slice the shallots into thin slices. Add it in a small pot with cooking oil (enough to submerge the shallots). Stir occasionally and continue until the shallots turn golden brown and crispy. Remove immediately from the heat and the oil before it turns too dark, set aside for garnish.
For the dressing, combine minced garlic, ginger, red chilies in a small bowl, add lime juice, fish sauce and sugar (no water needed). Mix well until the sugar has dissolved and adjust accordingly to your taste.
To plate the salad, mix all the green ingredients plus the onion slices (removed from the seasoned water) together then add the squids and shrimps. Give it a quick mix to combine, garnish with caramelized shallots and a sprinkle of roasted sesame seeds. Drizzle the fish sauce dressing and serve.