Rose Petal Salad
6-8 sweet-scented roses
1 cooked chicken breast
500 g/1 lb cooked prawns
500 g/1 lb lean pork
6 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 green limes
90 g/3 oz/1/2 cup crushed, roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon dried garlic slices or chips
4 tablespoons sliced crisp-fried shallots
watercress or other salad greens (optional)
3 fresh red chillies, seeded and finely sliced
fresh coriander leaves for garnish
Use roses that are home grown and unsprayed with pesticides. Wash thoroughly under a gentle spray of cold water, then shake off as much water as possible, trying not to bruise the petals. Place on paper towels to dry.
Remove bones of chicken breast and cut flesh and skin into fine strips. Shell and devein the prawns and chop into small pieces.
Put the pork into a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of the fish sauce and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Add 2 cups water, bring to the boil, cover pan and cook until pork is well done. Cool, then cut into small dice.
Peel the limes very thinly and cut the rind into threads. Combine rind, strained juice of the limes and the remaining fish sauce and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add pork, chicken, prawns and peanuts and toss well with the dressing.
Fry dried garlic on low heat until pale golden. Do not brown or it will become bitter. Drain on paper towels and when cool, crush into small pieces. Salad may be prepared ahead up to this point.
Add garlic, fried shallots, half the rose petals and chilli slices to the mixture and toss gently. Pile into bowl or plate lined with greens and scatter with reserved rose petals, chillies and coriander leaves. Serve at once.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)