Serves 2 quite generously. Delicious with freshly steamed
jasmine rice — or sticky rice — to soak up the dressing.
1 green mango, peeled and julienned
1 apple, sliced
1 crisp Asian pear, sliced
a good handful of grapes, seeded if necessary
8 cherry tomatoes, halved if large
big handful of long beans in 2-in segments
big handful of roasted peanuts; dried shrimp
big handful of Thai "globe" eggplants, quartered and soaked 1 hour in salt water, then rinsed (optional)
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
6 tiny Thai chiles
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp palm or coconut sugar (substitute dark or light brown sugar — but moderate lime juice in this case)
3 limes, sliced vertically around the "core" into seedless quarters (alternately, juice them)
In a mortar and pestle pound the garlic and chilies and then add sugar, fish sauce, and limes (if using juice, add a bit now and a bit as you go along, to avoid splashing the dressing into your face!).
Add long beans and pound only to bruise, not to mash; follow with mangoes and tomatoes.
At this point use one hand to mix with a large spoon while pounding with the other.
Add fruits, pound and mix.
Taste for salt-sweet-sour-hot, and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Place on a plate and sprinkle with peanuts and shrimp (alternately, pound a few of the shrimp and leave the rest for garnish).