This recipe was inspired by a marvel of a salad served at Sriphiphai Thai Restaurant in New York. It features deep-fried watercress which sounds like an impossibility, but winds up as revelation. Part of the revelation for me was that I could deep-fry all kinds of fragrant, green herbs and come up with startling and delightful flavor combinations. Basil is a perfect candidate for this treatment, its flavors intensified by the quick hot dip in oil. The shrimp is optional, but does make this dish a more substantial main course serving. —vrunka
- Serves 4
- Salad ingredients
basil leaves (preferably Thai basil, but Italian will do)
ice cold water
shrimp (cleaned and split in half)
Granny Smith apple, shredded
- Dressing ingredients
Thai hot chilies, sliced thin
- Wash and dry the basil leaves. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, slowly add the water to the tempura flour, whisking to combine well.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil to 350 degrees. Working quickly, dip each basil leaf into the tempura batter then drop in the oil. Do about 10 leaves at a time. Pull out the leaves when they are crisp and slightly brown, about 30 seconds - 1 minute. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining leaves.
- Drain off the oil in the skillet and wipe it out. Heat the skillet to medium high and toss the shrimp in the pan, sautéing for about 5 minutes or until pink. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.
- Toss together the shrimp, apple and cashews and place on serving platter.
- Combine all ingredients for the dressing, making sure the sugar completely dissolves. Pour over the shrimp mixture and toss to combine.
- Top with fried basil leaves and serve.