Thai pomelo salad with shrimp (Yum Som O) is the ultimate winter Asian salad! It's light, refreshing, and full of delightful flavors that will pleasantly surprise your taste bud! The creamy coconut milk mixed with tangy and savory sauce, then topped off with the crunchy toasted coconut flakes, makes it impossible to stop eating!
Follow this blog post to read more about how to cut a pomelo, with easy step-by-step photo instructions.
Yum Som O (ยำส้มโอ) is a healthy salad full of delectable flavors often found in Thai cooking. And those flavors are sweet, sour, and salty, coming from a simple sauce using sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce. These 3 flavors are usually achieved in equal balance first and foremost, then can be personalized with individual taste preferences.
Why this recipe works
- It's a light salad yet still fulfilling at the same time. The sautéed shrimp mixed with the sweetness of added cream sauce makes your taste buds sing!
- The salad is a great dish as a starter, a side dish, or served as a main course.
- Pomelo is loaded with Vitamin C, making this fruit-based salad dish one of the many healthy Thai recipes.
- This Thai pomelo salad recipe is gluten- and dairy-free, making it more friendly for those with dietary restrictions.
What is a pomelo?
Pomelo is a grapefruit-like citrus fruit with thick skin and a fibrous white pith layer. The flesh of the fruit is either white or pink. The edible part looks like large grapefruit flesh with a sweet flavor and is lightly tangy, making Pomelo a great fruit to use for a salad. Pomelos are grown all over Southeast Asia and used for salads or eaten like you eat an orange.
If you are unfamiliar with Pomelos, I wrote a blog post about what it is here, what pomelo is, how to cut it, and listed all the uber-healthy benefits of pomelos. I have step-by-step photo instructions on how to cut it too. Super helpful!
Pomelos can be hard to find off-season. The best time of year to find them is usually around December-February. They are in season at the same time as other citrus fruit, which is usually right around this time of year, the winter months. Trader Joe's consistently carries them around the holidays. So keep an eye out for them to make this recipe.
Pomelo as a fruit salad?
Are you skeptical about using citrus fruit as a salad? If you are used to Western-style fruit salad, give this flavorful Thai fruit salad a fair chance. All the tasty flavors combined with yummy texture will revolutionize how you view fruit salads.
The naturally sweet and slightly sour flavor of the pomelo with added salty fish sauce and lime juice brings this dish to a whole new experience of eating fruit for a salad. Trust me. You will not be disappointed. Oh, and the coconut flakes and coconut milk bring this recipe for Thai shrimp salad to a new level of tastiness.
Pomelo salad ingredients
- Pomelo. Look for a large pale green skin grapefruit-like fruit. Both your local grocery stores and your Asian grocery store should have them during the citrus season.
- Raw shrimp. For added protein and fullness to the salad.
- Coconut oil. For sauteeing the shrimp. The coconut oil enhances the strong coconut taste of this recipe.
- Coconut milk. Adds the natural creaminess that perfectly balances the salty, sour, and sweet flavors.
- Sugar. Just a little will help round off the tanginess and saltiness. White, palm sugar or brown sugar works great.
- Fish Sauce. Adds the savory umami flavor to the salad
- Lime juice. Just a touch of it, depending on how sweet or sour your pomelo is.
- Dried shrimp. Dried shrimp brings out the extra umami flavor. Don't skip it if possible.
- Chili peppers. Completely optional, but a touch of spiciness is always a good idea in Thai salads. Using fresh Thai bird's eye chiles is a great option too. Slice them small.
- Cilantro. Adds a fresh and light taste to the salad.
- Toasted coconut flakes. The nutty, crunchy taste is a must for the complete experience of the salad.
- Garnishing options. Toasted peanuts, cashew, chopped spring onion, fried shallot, or finely minced kaffir lime leaves.
How to make Yum Som-O
Below is a step by step pictures of how to make this easy and healthy Thai fruit salad.
Step 1. Using a sharp knife, Peel the pomelo skin off and use only the fleshy part for the salad. Discard the peel and pith of the pomelo fruit. Check this blog post on how to cut and peel a pomelo.
Step 2. Toast the coconut flakes on medium-low heat in a skillet for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Be careful not to burn the flakes. This extra step will help intensify the flavors of the Thai pomelo salad in a very delicious way.
Step 3. Soak the dried shrimp in hot water in a small bowl for 5 minutes. Drain, then pat dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
Step 4. Heat a skillet or cast iron pan at medium heat. Add the coconut oil, wait until the pan & oil is warm, add the raw shrimp, stir now and then, and cook for 5-8 minutes. Add a dash of water also if the shrimp starts to dry up. Add a dash of salt at the end for a slight seasoning. Turn the heat off and set it aside to cool.
Step 5. Make the sauce. Add fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and chili flakes in a medium bowl, and stir together.
Step 6. Add the sliced shallots and mix.
Step 7. Add coconut milk to the mixture and stir it all together.
Step 8. Add the cooked and dried shrimp to the mixing bowl, and stir with a spatula until all the ingredients are evenly coated with the creamy sweet dressing.
Step 9. Add the pomelo, leaving some in large chunks and some in small to get a mixture of both in your bites.
Step 10. Add the cilantro and chili flakes. Stir gently, then add coconut flakes last. Taste your beautiful creation. Add lime juice, a dash of sugar, chili flakes, and fish sauce to taste.
Enjoy your new favorite Thai fruit salad! I hope it makes it to a serving plate! (;
- Thai pomelo salads are best eaten fresh. Leftovers are highly discouraged as the fruit will be all soggy and lose its fresh flavors quickly.
- Use sweet grapefruit as a substitute if Pomelo is not available. Double up on the grapefruit, also. Use less lime juice and up the sugar just slightly.
- Picking a good pomelo is important. Find one that is not too soft or firm. Use your hands to test a few to feel out the fruit gently. Find a happy medium.
- Garnishing options: Toasted peanuts, cashew, chopped spring onion, fried shallow,t, or finely minced kaffir lime leaves.
- You can also add the crispy and crunchy fried shallots to this recipe. It pairs incredibly well together! Here's my recipe for delicious Fried Shallots.
What does a pomelo taste like?
Pomelo has a sweet taste with a touch of tang. The fleshy parts are large and juicy and pop in your mouth when eaten, slightly similar to the salmon roe texture when bitten.
Is pomelo the same as grapefruit?
No, they are not. They are from the same citrus family, but they are completely different. Pomelo is large, the largest in the citrus fruit family. The skin is typically light green, almost looking like an unripe oversized grapefruit. The pith, the white layer before the flesh, is thick and fibrous. The fleshly parts are large and can be easily peeled off with your fingers for eating.
What is pomelo good for?
Pomelos are great for eating by themselves like you would eat an orange or tangerine, a great breakfast, snack, or an after-dinner fruit. They are great for a fresh fruit Thai salad (like this recipe) for a refreshing and healthy meal.
What is pomelo called in English?
The formal name for pomelo is Citrus Maxima, according to Wikipedia. It's either spelled pomelo or pummelo. Some call it Shaddock. Different names in different cultures and languages call them. In Thai, they are called "Som O," thus the name of the salad.
What are the health benefits of pomelo?
Pomelo is high in Vitamin C, antioxidants, and numerous other health benefits. They are great for fighting off sickness and inflammation.
More Thai recipes you'll love
- What is pomelo
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- Thai glass noodle salad with shrimp
- Thai spicy grilled corn salad
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