Serves six to eight
For the salad:
1 medium pomelo
1 medium purple onion
3 tbsp unsweetened desiccated coconut
500g medium-sized prawns
1.5 litres of water
1 tbsp salt
1 small carrot
1 Japanese cucumber
5-6 sprigs fresh coriander
5-6 spring mint
75g roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
For the dressing:
4 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 tsp fish sauce
1 Peel the skin off the pomelo, remove the pith and membranes surrounding the juice sacs. Be sure to pick off all the pith and membranes or they will make the salad bitter. Discard the seeds. Separate the flesh into chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. You should have 400g to 500g of pomelo flesh. You can do this a day before, storing the flesh in a covered container in the fridge.
2 Peel and thinly slice the onion and soak in iced water while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. This will take away the sharp, strong flavour while retaining the onion’s crunch.
3 Spoon the desiccated coconut into a small saucepan and place over low heat. Toast until it turns a light golden brown. Watch the pan like a hawk as the coconut browns very quickly. Set aside.
4 Wash and shell the prawns, leaving the shell at the tail end intact. Devein the prawns. Bring 1.5 litres of water to boil in a saucepan and add the salt. When it comes to the boil, add the prawns and turn off the heat. Stir the prawns around the pot. They should cook in 30 to 45 seconds. Drain and set aside.
5 If you have peeled the pomelo ahead of time, take it out of the fridge and place in a large mixing bowl. Peel the carrot, slice on the diagonal and then cut into matchstick strips. Add to the mixing bowl. Cut the cucumber into quarters lengthwise, slice off the seeds and slice thinly on the diagonal. Add to the mixing bowl. Add prawns to the mixing bowl.
6 Drain the onion slices and squeeze out as much water as possible. You can do this with paper towels or wrap the onion slices in a clean tea towel and wring them dry. Add to the bowl.
7 Pick the coriander leaves off the stem and add them to the bowl. Discard the stems or use them in Thai recipes. Pick the mint leaves off the stem and tear them up before adding into the bowl.
8 Make the dressing: Whisk the lime juice, palm sugar and fish sauce together until the palm sugar melts. Have a taste of the dressing and add more sugar or fish sauce if needed. If you do not have palm sugar, use caster sugar to taste.
9 Sprinkle 2 tbsp of the toasted coconut and 2/3 of the peanuts into the salad. Add the dressing and toss well to mix.
10 Spoon onto a large platter or onto a salad bowl, sprinkle over the remaining toasted coconut and peanuts. Serve immediately.
This article was first published in Sunday Life!, 15 March 2015.