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My wife and I recently attended the marriage celebrations of the son of a
friend of ours, and this dish is our contribution to the food (Thai
wedding celebrations are often one long banquet interspersed by visits to
temples and paying respects to parents and grandparents).

Because it was offered as part of the "husband's side" food, I have called
it yam sami. A similar, if rather simpler recipe, recently appeared in
an advertisement for a firm that packages ham and sausage and called yam
ham kung, which would be an alternative name (except I don't like using
obvious imports in language.)

It is similar in concept to such dishes as yam nuea or yam mu (beef or
pork salads respectively), and we in fact bought the shrimp freshly cooked
from a vendor near our home on the way to the festivities, allowing this
to be a "no-cook" recipe. However I would usually prefer to start from
scratch so I include the method for preparing the shrimp. Note that when
I describe them as 'fresh,' the jumbo shrimp are taken from a live tank
for sale in most shops here.

The dish is loaded with meaning, so I have left the quantities large, but
you can of course scale it down for your own needs. The number of large
shrimp (8), their colour (red), even the local name (dragon) are
indicators of wealth and success in life, so highly significant for the
young couple. One local tradition here is for the couple to each feed
each other a shrimp less messy than the American cream cake! Eight shrimp
also means one each for the Bride and Groom, their parents, and the best
man and chief bridesmaid (the latter being a recent tradition of western

Finally yam means tossed (as a salad is tossed) and signifies the
tossings of fortune in life.


8 dragon shrimp (fresh water shrimp, 2-3 to the pound)
1 lb shrimp (16-20 to the pound)
1 lb ham
1/4 lb bologna, sliced
1/4 lb sliced roast pork
1/4 lb shaved beef
1/4 lb cooked chicken, sliced
Cup nam pla (fish sauce)
Cup nam manao (lime juice)
4 tablespoons nam si-ew wan (sweet dark soy sauce, or use oyster soy)
6 tablespoons kratiem (garlic), minced
12 tablespoons khing (ginger), minced
12 tablespoons bai chi (coriander/cilantro including the roots), chopped
1 cup ton hom (green/spring onions)
1 cup hom daeng (shallots/purple onions), thinly sliced
4 tablespoons sesame oil
4 tablespoons chili oil
1/2 cup prik ki nu (bird's-eye chilies, mixed red and green), sliced
2 tablespoons khao koor (see method)


First prepare the khao Koor - place about 5 tablespoons of uncooked long
grain white rice in a wok over medium heat and toast gently until light
brown. Allow to cool and then grind to a coarse powder in a mortar and
pestle or spice grinder.

Next cook the shrimp: the jumbo shrimp should be grilled or barbecued
until pink. To avoid burning this is best done with the heads and
carapaces still on. Thais eat almost the whole shrimp (including some of
the shell), so would serve them like this. You may prepare to remove the
head and legs, shell (except the tail), and devein them. Set them aside.
The smaller shrimp are best dry-toasted in a wok over medium heat, tossing
continuously to avoid burning until pink. Again they are best deheaded,
shelled and cleaned after cooking.

Slice the cooked meat into half-inch strips and then cut any long pieces
into smaller bite sized pieces. Tease the chicken apart with the tines of
a fork.

Cut the white bulbs from the spring onion and then slice the green parts

Place the chicken, sliced meat, and small shrimp in a large bowl. In a
mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients and then pour them over the
mixed meats and shrimp. Toss to thoroughly coat and leave to stand for
at least an hour before serving.

Serving & Storage:

Place the tossed ingredients on a large serving platter, surround with a
circle of alternating tomato segments and slices of cucumber, and place
the jumbo shrimp like the spokes of a wheel, heads innermost then garnish
with coriander/cilantro and mint leaves.

Serve with steamed rice. This will keep 3-4 days in a refrigerator.

Serves 12-16.


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