Nam tok is a Thai salad traditionally made with beef. It is extremely similar to Vegan Laab Moo (Thai Mince Salad) except slices of meat are used instead of mince. Because oyster mushrooms are naturally juicy, they are perfect for a vegan nam tok.
Nam tok means waterfall in Thai and there are a couple of stories about this random name. One of them is that the meat is bursting with so much juice that it reminds one of a waterfall. The other is that the sizzling meat makes a waterfall sound on the hot charcoal grill. Which one do you reckon is true?
You can also use tofu or seitan. However, it would be difficult to replicate the inherent juiciness that you want a nam tok to have. This salad has a lovely crunch from a special secret ingredient – khao kua, or toasted sticky rice powder. Mixed with a bunch of fresh aromatics and herbs, this salad is a punch of flavour!
It is important to note that the original recipe uses only chilli flakes for the spice. If you cannot get Thai chilli flakes, try to get Korean or something similarly spicy. If you find the chilli flakes are not spicy enough, feel free to add a couple of bird’s eye chillies, as I did.
Vegan nam tok is an easy and fresh Isan salad that is usually served at room temperature with Thai Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam) and plain steamed sticky rice.
- If you are scared of the raw onion burn, marinade the onion and spring onions in the lime juice first.
- Make sure you don’t overcook the oyster mushrooms or they will be dry.
- You can use normal short grain rice instead of sticky rice, but I think sticky rice tastes better.