I love the Thai influence on food. Several years ago I took a Thai cooking course in Northampton when our local kitchen store expanded and featured guest chefs. More recently I was able to spend a month for work in Bangkok and also was able to explore its cuisine further. I have always enjoyed cooking with my Thai students. This recipe evolved when I was looking for a first course for a dinner for four. Along with a soup this could also make a nice light lunch. This works very well with sweet basil, but Thai or lemon basil also work. If you do not care to use fish sauce, you could substitute soy sauce. For variations to this recipe for crab or tuna in place of chicken, I would substitute celery for the Asian pear and leave out the almonds. Although you could use another variety of tomato, I love the color, flavor, size, and ease of handling of the Kumato. It showcases the basil well. A strong use of basil in the salad filling is very refreshing. Perfect for a first course. —Sagegreen
Kumatoes (brown tomato variety)
fresh lemon juice
cooked chicken, white meat flaked
key limes, juiced
rice wine vinegar
fish sauce (or vegetarian fish sauce)
sea salt, to taste
fresh ginger, grated
dried red chili flakes (optional)
vidalia onion, finely chopped
sweet basil leaves (or Thai or lemon basil), rolled and snipped
fresh mint leaves, rolled and snipped
toasted almonds, slivered
bed of greens for each serving (cedrula and sweet basil shown here)
Cut a very small, very thin slice off the bottom of each Kumato, so they will sit solidly on a plate (less than 1 inch diameter cut), cut off the top, and hollow out each. You can use the scooped out middles in another recipe.
Cut the Asian pear into small slices and add to a quart size bowl. Pour the fresh lemon juice over the pear.
Add the flaked chicken.
In a measuring cup mix the lime juice, vinegar, fish sauce, ginger, salt, sugar, and honey together.
Add next the oils, ginger, optional chili flakes, scallions, and onion.
Pour this over the chicken and pear and mix.
Add the basil, mint, and almonds.
Fill each hollowed Kumato with the basil chicken mix. Serve on a bed of greens. Garnish with a chiffonade of basil.