Green Beans Salad


There are many versions of green bean salad, this is one of the simplest but it's my favorite because the natural flavors of each vegetable is enhanced rather than masked. This dish is also perfect when you are on a diet as it has 0% fat content.

This is the green bean salad I referred to in a previous post, green beans & tomato salad. While that salad was dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, this one is dressed simply with lime juice and fish sauce. To begin with, fresh green beans are blanched just until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes in boiling water. They are then quickly cooled off in a bowl of ice water to prevent additional cooking, then drained. In a bowl mix the green beans with chopped tomatoes and cilantro then toss in a dressing of equal parts lime juice and fish sauce. If you prefer you can also add thinly sliced red onions which I chose to omit this time.

Wondering about fish sauce? There are a great many misconceptions about what fish sauce is and how it is made. I was once talking to a former Vietnam Veteran who I thought would have known better since he was actually in the country, but I guess under the circumstances that brought him there, I can't expect him to glean the nuances of Vietnamese cuisine. He actually believed that nuoc mam (fish sauce) was made by hanging fish out in the sun, and as it decomposes and renders it's juices, they are then caught and this is fish sauce. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Fish sauce is a by product of a fermentation process that has been tested and perfected over generations.

Thank goodness for the internet, information is now readily available to the curious or to those who just wants to set the record straight. Here are some background information, just follow the links if you'd like to learn more.

Fish sauce is a condiment commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine and goes by many names:

NamPlah - Thailand

Nuoc Mam - Vietnam

Ngan Byar - Myanmar

Teuk Trei - Cambodia

Patis - Philippines

Fish sauce is not exclusively of southeast asian origin however, it is also an ingredient to one of the more common western condiment, worstershire sauce. Fish sauce can also be traced as far back as the roman times when it was known as garum.


8 comments

  1. Jules // 10/22/2006 2:11 PM  

    I love the pungency and saltiness of fish sauce. It has so many uses! I like to put it in tomato salads like the one you mention above... it's great in curries and soups... and I also use it to drive freakishly irritating people crazy by discretely sprinkling the sauce in their car or in their shoes.

  2. Omom // 10/22/2006 6:28 PM  

    I never knew that about worschester sauce! Jules entry made me LOL!

  3. charles ravndal // 10/22/2006 8:21 PM  

    I like fish sauce and it really nice condiment for some salads and also meat. Ooohh this one is sooo delish looking!

  4. Lani // 10/23/2006 6:10 AM  

    I like the 0% fat content of this salad (hehehe). I'm really gaining weight now. I will try this and maybe I can use lemon instead because it's hard to find lime here now.

    Thanks, JMom.

  5. JMom // 10/23/2006 12:00 PM  

    LOL, Jules you cracked me up :D I'll have to file that idea for when I need to do something evil.

    Hi sis, yeah, check out the ingredients list on your worscestershire bottle. I didn't know that either :)

    Hi Chas, thanks! I sneak patis into almost everything I cook ;)

    Hi Lani, I like the 0% fat too, huwag mo lang ipares sa piniritong isda or pork chop :P hehe! pero sarap talaga nung combination nun!

  6. iska // 10/24/2006 3:55 AM  

    galing! cos i just bought namplah this morning... like lani i will try this salad w/ lemon juice.

    by the way, i tagged u :)
    http://www.iskandals.com/edx/?p=297

  7. Manang // 10/25/2006 8:49 AM  

    Haha! Ano kaya reaction ng hubby if I tell him worces has patis? Btw, I haven't tried (real) lime (only bottled) and I have to ask you if that is closer to kalamansi than lemon when combined with patis? I finally was able to visit an Asian store (2 hrs away) for a bottle of Rufina patis (miss na miss ko na!).
    Very informative ha...Hubby loves history. I will tell him that info about garum...

  8. misispi // 10/27/2006 12:40 AM  

    wow, this sounds like a really good combo.
    i'm gonna get some cilantro and do this for lunch tomorrow :)

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