This fresh herb salad recipe makes a big fragrant bowl of yum chee from 100 Mahaseth Restaurant, Bangkok, and comes courtesy of owner-chef Chalee Kader. Akin to a European-style green salad, it’s distinctly Thai and Southeast Asian in its sweet and sour flavours and zesty-ness.

I’ve been hankering to make this fragrant fresh herb salad recipe for yum chee since we first tasted it at chef Chalee Kader’s 100 Mahaseth restaurant, a casual nose-to-tail eatery in Bangkok‘s hip Charenkroeung neighbourhood that is one of the Thai capital’s most sustainable restaurants.

Focused largely on food from Thailand’s Northeastern Isaan region, 100 Mahaseth was originally conceived as a pho joint after the chef and his partner fell in love with the Vietnamese soup while studying overseas. 100 Mahaseth’s menu features a hearty pho, and, um, a spicy hot dog, so this fresh green salad that looks more European in style, but is made with Southeast Asian herbs, isn’t out of place.

It’s a simple yet ingenious salad that like a lot of yums or yams, uses the ingredients of the classic northern Southeast Asian dipping sauce found in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam – fish sauce, palm sugar and lime juice – as the salad dressing. Plus you have the bite of the birds-eye chillies and the texture of the crushed peanuts and dried shrimp sprinkled on at the end.

For me, its European-ess comes from the green-ness of this salad and lack of crunch and combination of textures typically associated with Thai salads such as som tam (the fiery Northeastern salad made with green papaya) and khao yam (a herb and rice salad from Southern Thailand with a gazillion ingredients).

Note: the transliteration of this type of tossed salad in Thai cuisine is usually spelt as ‘yam’, however, I’ve stuck with the chef’s spelling of ‘yum’, as it’s his spelling and that’s what’s on the menu at 100 Mahaseth.

Fresh Herb Salad Recipe for Yum Chee from 100 Mahaseth Restaurant Bangkok

This Thai fresh herb salad recipe makes a dish on the 100 Mahaseth menu called ‘yum chee’ or ‘herb salad’, because as Chalee Kader explains “chee (‘herb’ in Thai) is the one word that links all three herbs in the dish: puck chee is coriander, puck chee Lao is dill, puck chee farang is sawtooth coriander, and ‘yum’ is basically ‘salad’, ha ha!” the chef laughs. “Although ‘chee’ also means ‘nun’…”

“The salad doesn’t exist in Thai cuisine. We made it up!” the chef admits. “We have an abundance of herbs and greens in Thai cooking, but we hardly make them into a salad,” Chalee says. “Nor do we have a sauce that actually uses any of these herbs, like a pesto or a chimichurri.”

While I adore the freshness thanks to all those fragrant green herbs, the chef says some diners think it’s too herbaceous – “but we love it,” he says. I love it, too. As you would have surmised had you seen me polish off the whole plate after Terence photographed it this afternoon. I’ve been sick and it looked healthy. That’s my excuse, anyway.

This salad could feed two people as a side salad or four people if served as part of a Southeast Asian or Thai family-style spread, but, yes, it can also feed one very hungry person and would be enough for a meal.

Note that if you don’t want a spicy salad, you could reduce the birds-eye chillies to just one or two, and if you’re not a fan of chilli, you could simply leave them out. There were also cherry tomatoes in the salad when we first sampled it at 100 Mahaseth. The chef says you can also make a garnish by lightly pounding the tomato quarters with crushed peanuts and dried shrimp and throwing that all on at the end.

There’s loads of flavour that comes from the dressing, which gives the salad the sweet, sour and funky flavours we love in Southeast Asian cuisine. If it’s too sweet for you, just add a little more tamarind and/or fish sauce.

You will probably have some dressing left over, so just pop it in a jar and refrigerate it, as I guarantee you that you’ll be making another batch of yum chee sooner rather than later.

Fresh Herb Salad Recipe for Yum Chee from 100 Mahaseth Restaurant Bangkok

Fresh Herb Salad Recipe – Yum Chee from 100 Mahaseth Restaurant Bangkok. Copyright © 2018 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Fresh Herb Salad Recipe – Yum Chee from 100 Mahaseth Restaurant Bangkok

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 597kcal
Author: Chalee Kader

Ingredients

Salad Dressing

  • 125 gm Palm sugar
  • 60 gm Tamarind liquid
  • 60 gm Fish sauce
  • 25 gm Lime juice
  • 1-2 pieces birds-eye chillies optional

Salad

  • 8 pieces Long beans
  • 20 gm Fresh dill
  • 20 gm Fresh coriander leaves
  • 20 gm Fresh saw-tooth coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp Fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp Roasted peanuts , 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tbsp Dried shrimp crushed

Instructions

  • Prepare some tamarind liquid first: break a couple of pieces of tamarind off a block of tamarind pulp, pop them in a bowl, pouring boiling water over the tamarind, and leave it to soak for 20 minutes. Strain with a sieve and set the liquid aside.
  • To make the dressing, stir the tamarind liquid, palm sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice in a sauce pan over low heat until the palm sugar has completely dissolved, then set aside to cool.
  • Chop the long beans into lengths of around 5cm each, then in a mortar and pestle lightly smash the beans to get that strong green flavour into the dish. If you’re using chillies, pound one or two fresh birds-eye chillies with the beans.
  • Throw the beans and chillies into a large bowl and add the dressing, then the dill, coriander, and sawtooth leaves, and mix so the dressing covers all the leaves.
  • Heap the salad onto the plate, then splash a teaspoon of fresh lime juice on top, then sprinkle on a tablespoon of crushed peanuts and half a table spoon of crushed dried shrimp and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 597kcal | Carbohydrates: 128g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 168mg | Sodium: 5555mg | Potassium: 606mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 92g | Vitamin A: 4310IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 153mg | Iron: 4.2mg

Do let us know if you make this Thai fresh herb salad recipe in the comments below. We’d love to hear how it turned out for you.

End of Article

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