The Thai people don’t use grapes in savory dishes, including salads, very much. In fact, the only savory dish containing grapes I had growing up was an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salad my grandmother used to make which was similar to this one. She’d take some sour green grapes, peel them one by one, and make a quick salad out of them and whatever leftover meat we had in the fridge (mostly grilled chicken breasts, because members of our family were the type that fought for chicken butts but pretty much ignored the breasts). The herb that usually went into Grandma’s grape salad was usually fresh mint or cilantro, because we always had too much of both in the garden.
I had thought nobody else but our family made grape salad until I came across the book, Rattanakosin Dishes (1982), which includes a grape salad recipe by M.L. Terb Xoomsai, one of Thailand’s culinary greats. I don’t have the book with me at the moment, and I no longer remember what exactly goes into M.L. Terb’s grape salad. I do remember, though, that there are grapes, shrimp, young ginger, and toasted cashews. So I thought I would try to recreate M.L. Terb’s version based on a faint memory; I could have made my grandmother’s grape salad, but it came in so many forms that nailing down the ingredients would prove difficult. Continue Reading →