Better grocery stores now stock reasonable facsimiles of Thai pantry items like fish sauce and chili paste. For a mind-boggling selection (and a great field trip) visit Kam Man Marketplace. Kam Man carries roasted rice powder, of course, but you may also make your own by slowly toasting raw white rice (jasmine or glutinous) in a dry heavy frying pan. Stir occasionally to develop a nice aromatic brown (15 minutes or so), cool, and grind to powder in a coffee mill or with a mortar and pestle.

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste in soybean oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 pound shrimp, poached in salted water and peeled
  • a few sprigs each fresh mint and cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 3 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons roasted rice powder
  • a few thin slices red onion
  • hot white jasmine rice or soft whole lettuce leaves to serve

In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, chili paste, and water, until the sugar is dissolved.

Toss the shrimp, mint, cilantro, mushrooms, rice powder, and onion together with the dressing.

Serve with rice or scoop up with lettuce leaves.

Serves 4.

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