There is nothing more delectable than a combination of opposing flavours. Salty, pungent fish sauce is tamed by the sticky sweetness of palm sugar. A salad dressing with a difference!
For all you sweet tooths out there, I have no doubt you would have crossed paths with the heavenly palm sugar. If you haven’t, please do yourself a favour and go and get some, pronto!
Palm sugar is a sweetener that comes from the sap of the flowers of a palm tree. You would find palm sugar either in flat donut shaped discs or in a cylinder. Either way it comes in a hardened form and in most cases it needs to be dissolved and used as you would like any normal sugar. Personally I like grating it and sprinkling it on top of shredded coconut to make a dessert.
The different flavours and colours are all dependent on what sort of palm it is derived from. You can get palm sugar from dates, palmyra, nipa, sugar and coconut. The coconut and date palm sugars are the ones that I grew up with in Malaysia and back home it is called gula melaka. Gula meaning “sugar” and Melaka is the name of a Malaysian state where it originated from.
Gula Melaka plays an integral role in Malaysian desserts. It’s sweetness is like none other with all of its intense smokey, caramel, coffee and butterscotch undertones. Yes, all those flavours from the one ingredient! I simply couldn’t resist putting it in our salad dressings and it is a perfect recipe to use for any Asian inspired salads you may be creating.
Palm Sugar and Fish Sauce Dressing Ingredients
Palm sugar: The sweetness you get from palm sugar is so different to regular sugar. It adds an amazing depth to the recipe and is one of my favourite things in the world!
Lemon: Lots of strong flavours in this recipe so the lemon helps to balance out the sweet and salty. Watch the seeds when you’re squeezing the lemon.
Garlic: We’re going to grate the garlic clove as we want the garlic to dispersed amongst the salad recipe. Really going for strong pungent flavours.
Water: Water is used to dissolve the palm sugar so that it can be mixed through with the other ingredients to create this dressing. Very quick process in a small saucepan and enjoy the lovely smells as it wafts through your kitchen.
Palm Sugar and Fish Sauce Dressing Method
The palm sugar or Gula Melaka is almost impossible to cut through as it is rock hard. The best way to get a small portion is to grate it.
In a small saucepan, add 100g of water to 50g of palm sugar and mix on low heat for about 5 minutes or until fully dissolved.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the palm sugar, juice of 1 lemon, fish sauce and grated garlic clove. Mix thoroughly.
Best Salad for This Dressing
Who doesn’t love a good seafood salad? This Asian inspired Baby Cuttlefish Salad is paired with the crunch of the green papaya, pungent fish sauce and tamed by aromatic palm sugar.
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If you’d like to create your own salad and have an ingredient you’d like to hero, we have a some great pairing suggestions to help you work out what flavours go well together.
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Palm Sugar and Fish Sauce Dressing
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- Grate the palm sugar. In a small saucepan, add 100g of water to 50g of palm sugar and mix on low heat for about 5 minutes or until fully dissolved.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add the palm sugar, juice of 1 lemon, fish sauce and grated garlic clove. Mix thoroughly.
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