Roast prawn and watermelon salad

Tom Kime's Thai salad is a refreshing dish for summer lunch, or as a starter at any time of the year
By Tom Kime
Roast prawn and watermelon salad
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • handful raw, skinless peanuts
  • 12-16 large raw prawns, peeled (see Cooks tips, below) and lightly oiled
  • dash fish sauce
  • squeeze lime juice
  • 1 medium watermelon, skin and seeds removed and cut into 3cm irregular chunks
  • 1 large red chilli, seeds removed and and finely sliced
  • 2 stems lemongrass, root trimmed, rough outer leaves removed, finely sliced
  • 2.5 cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 15 mint leaf
  • 20 coriander leaves

For the dressing

  • 3-4 cm piece ginger, peeled
  • 1 green or red chilli, seeds removed
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • 3 coriander roots, cleaned
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 limes, juice only
  • 2 oranges, juice only

Tips and Suggestions

Variations of this salad are repeated throughout South East Asia: the dressing is what sets this one apart because of its vibrancy.

Frozen tiger prawns can be used if fresh prawns are not available.

It is important to achieve a balance between hot, sour, sweet and salty with the contrasting texture of the roast peanuts.


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put the peanuts on an oven tray and roast for about 3-4 minutes until pale golden. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then chop them very coarsely.

2. For the dressing: pound the ginger into a rough pulp in a mortar and pestle. Squeeze the pulp with your fingers to extract all the juice, then remove and discard the pulp, leaving the juice. Set the juice aside in a small bowl.

3. Roughly chop the chilli and put it in the mortar with the garlic and coriander roots. Add the salt, sugar and some freshly ground black pepper and pound to a smooth puree.

4. Add the lime juice and orange juice and mix into a sauce. Stir in the reserved ginger juice.

5. Cook the prawns simply, either in a wok or under the grill, seasoning them as you cook with a dash of fish sauce, a squeeze of lime juice and some freshly ground black pepper. Allow to cool.

6. With a sharp knife, slice the prawns lengthways through the back and split them in half. With the point of the knife, remove and discard the black intestinal tract. Put the prawns in a large bowl.

7. Add the watermelon chunks, chilli, lemon grass, ginger and spring onions.

8. Pour over the dressing, toss gently until combined and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

9. To serve, add the peanuts, tear over the mint and coriander leaves and mix together.

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