Yam Som Oh is a delicious refreshing Thai salad with shrimp, pomelo segments and a zippy chili jam dressing.
What fruit tastes like a grapefruit but is sweet like an orange and is the size of a bowling ball? Can you Guess?
Pomelos are grown in Southeast Asia and the ones in Thailand are green on the outside and pink and yellow on the inside with big juicy fruity membranes. Just one juicy bite makes you think of summer.
Yam Som Oh Salad
A beautiful tropical pomelo and shrimp salad is light and refreshing with robust flavors from the garlic chili jam. A great little dish for BBQ’s and gatherings. The succulent shrimp only take a minute or two on the grill and the garlic chili jam and the pomelo salad can all be made in advance of your guests arrival.
My youngest son calls pomelo, the “Thailand fruit”. A few years ago, we went on a trip to Bangkok and went to the floating market and enjoyed trying all of the fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh cold coconut milk.
Of course, we have been back several times to Thailand to enjoy Ching Mai, Hua Hin, and even Koh Samui. Each city area has their own specialty dishes and we love trying them all.
It has been very hot and something cool and refreshing but with little spice and zest is just what you need on a summer’s afternoon.
There is something magical about the fruits, herbs and spices of Thailand. I love the sweet, salty, spicy and sour combination of the dishes. Sometimes I just get a craving I cannot satisfy unless I make Thai food. I really think that Thai cuisine is the new vogue of the culinary arts. You are going to love our Yam Som Oh as it has all the flavors of Thailand.
My dear friends from Thailand gave me the cookbook, “The Food of Thailand A Journey for Food Lovers” with one of my last visits. There are so many of these pages that have book marks, dog-eared pages and cooking splatter on it. These are the signs of a great cookbook. “The Food of Thailand A Journey For Food Lovers” cookbook (photography by Alan Bensen, text by Lulu Grimes and recipes by Oi Cheepchaiissara) has the basics of Thai cuisine in one handy place. I highly recommend this cook book as it is full of beautiful photographs and simple and easy cooking directions.
I made our Yam Som Oh with a few , well actually a quite lot of alterations or adjustments, after all this is our Test Kitchen. My sister will be delighted to hear that I was fresh out of coconut. So if your anti-coconut like my sister, you will be pleased to know that pomelo and shrimp salad is gorgeous even without it. If you are a coconut lover, be sure to toast some shredded coconut and add as a garnish.
Garlic Chili Jam Rocks
I made the garlic chili jam with some dried chili flakes and then just added some fresh bird chilis at the end of the dish so I could control the heat in the dish. We left out the dried shrimp as I did not have any on hand and can’t stand the smell of shrimp paste as it reminds me of a hot day on Tai O on Lantau Island. (On Tai O, they have huge blue vats of smelly shrimp paste lined up all over the place, not the best smell in the world so thank goodness the views of the houses on stilts are worth it )
When in doubt, add more Garlic!
The original recipe asked to boil the shrimp but I think grilling it with some Thai spices was a much tastier alternative. I added chopped Kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass to the dressing. Alternatively to the toasted coconut, I used dried fried garlic to garnish. The original recipe includes mint leaves which would have been lovely but the Hong Kong Parknshop was fresh out of that and milk today so we are going with plan B.
Double up on the Recipe
I doubled the recipe for the garlic chili jam. I grilled some delicious chicken breasts that I had been marinating in some lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, olive oil, chili, scallions, galangal and fresh lemon grass and dolloped with some garlic chili jam as a garnish and oh my is that good! So please be sure to double your recipe for the chili jam. Trust me, you will be glad you did.
Recipe Exchanges and Substitutions
Pomelos should be readily available at your Asian grocery store. If you cannot find a pomelo, a good alternative would be to use a segmented grapefruit and also and also an orange. Grapefruits have a similar flavor to pomelo but are much more bitter, so by adding the oranges, that will add some natural sweetness to the Yam Som Oh salad.
Your pomelos (or grapefruit and orange substitute) needs to be segmented. I was lazy and bought mine already done but if you want to know how, check out our Thai Pomelo Crab Salad Avocados which is a fun and delicious Thai Salad.
I was way too busy playing and snuggling with Buddy, our 11 week old Yorkie puppy, to have time to segment a pomelo…
Have yourself a fantastic week.
Looking for more delicious Thai Recipes?
Yam Som Oh
- 1 pomelo
segmented (can exchange 1 grapefruit and 1 orange)
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 4 leaves kaffir lime leaves
chopped very finely
- 2 tbsp fish sauce (1 for the dressing and one for the shrimp marinade)
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp sugar
or sugar alternative
- 1 pound shrimp
peeled and deveined
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- 1-2 chili peppers to suit your families need for a little heat -optional
- 1/3 cup cilantro
chopped - optional
- 8 cloves Garlic chopped and fried (optional garnish)
Garlic Chilli Jam
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion
peeled and chopped
- 10 cloves garlic
peeled and sliced
- 1/2 tsp dried red chilis flakes
(optional to taste)
- 3 tbsp tamarind (this is sour so you can exchange with lime juice)
- 2 packets sugar
or sugar alternative
- 2 tbsp fish sauce gluten free if required
- Prepare the pomelo: Cut 4 circular lines from the top of the pomelo to the bottom just through the peel, do not cut into the fruit. Gentle peel off the green/yellow skin of the pomelo. Remove gently each of the 4 sections of the peel. Remove as much of the white pulp/pith as possible. Next gently find the end of the fruit and separate the segments of the fruit, just like you would do when peeling and eating an orange. Now gently peel each segment and remove any seeds. You then have a beautiful skinless piece of pomelo. Repeat process with the remaining segments of the pomelo.
- In a bowl, break up the pomelo peeled segments into smaller bite sized pieces being careful not to squeeze any of the juices from the pomelo. Add the chopped lemon grass and chopped kaffir lime leaves. Set aside.
- Marinate your shrimp: In a plastic bag or tupperware, add your deveined and peeled shrimp. (You can leave the tails on the shrimp for aesthetic reasons if you like.) Add canola oil, white pepper and a squeeze of lime juice and stir and set aside.
- Make your garlic chili jam/dressing: In a wok/frying pan place your canola oil and place the heat on medium and add your shallots/onions, garlic, sugar and dried chili flakes (If you have whole dried chillis this would be preferred but I was all out) Stir fry until the onions are carmalized and golden brown. Remove from the heat. Add the tamirand, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Taste test and adjust seasoning. If you want it more sour add more tamirand juice. If you want it more sweet, add more sugar. If you want it more hot, add more chili flakes. If you want it more salty, then add more fish sauce. The final result should be a nice balance in flavors that makes it feel like a little party in your mouth. Set aside.
- Prepare the garnishes: chop the cilantro. If you want to garnish with garlic, fry chopped garlic with a little oil until slightly golden brown. Do not burn your garlic as it will be bitter. If you want to garnish with coconut flakes then put about 1/4 cup dried coconut in a pan and toast until lightly brown and aromatic.
- Grill your shrimp for 1-2 minutes on each side until bright pink and no longer translucent. Do not overcook the shrimp or they will be tough. Remove the shrimp from the grill.
- Putting it all together: Add your grilled shrimp to the pomelo salad. Add the garlic chili jam dressing and toss gently. Top with garnishes of chopped cilantro, fried garlic and/or toasted coconut.