Animal skins are widely used in Siamese cuisine, although these days the skins are mostly pork or buffalo. Skins bring a textural element to the salad; almost flavorless, they contribute a gelatinous and somewhat springy bite. If you are not a fan of the idea of using pork skin, or can’t find it at your local butcher shop, then by all means for salads, go ahead and substitute either pork even chicken meat. Just be sure to change the name of the dish as well.
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The pork skin is scraped with a knife to remove any remaining hairs, then rubbed with salt and boiled in water. It is then thinly sliced and immersed in a lime juice and salt solution. This acidic wash ensured that all the surface proteins coagulated and reached the isoelectric point – the point at which the electrical charges of the proteins balance completely and lose the ability to retain liquids, thus eliminating the stickiness of the pork skin.
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- pork skin (หนังหมู)
- sea salt (เกลือทะเล)
- lemongrass (ตะไคร้)
- lime juice (น้ำมะนาว) diluted with water 1:1
- Using a knife, scrape the pork skin to remove any remaining hairs.
- Rub the skin with coarse salt and wash well.
- Slice the pork skin into 1.5” (4cm) long strips.
- In a pot, bring water to a strong boil. Add a bruised stalk of lemongrass as a deodorizer and cook the pork skin until it becomes transparent and softens. Be careful not to overcook the skin or it will become gooey and sticky.
- Remove the skin from the water; using a knife, discard all the remaining subcutaneous fat.
- Slice the pork skin very thinly along the width of the strips.
- Let the skin strips soak in a 1:1 solution of lime juice and water for 5-10 minutes, which will help to eliminate the stickiness of the pork skin.
- Wash, drain and set aside.