• Seared tuna with nahm jim (Andrew Dorn)Source: Andrew Dorn

This fresh and fragrant salad makes an ideal summer starter, or a light meal paired with steamed rice. The homemade dressings add an enchanting punch of flavours.






Skill level

Average: 5 (2 votes)


  • 1 green papaya, peeled and shredded
  • 10 makrut lime leaves, chiffonade
  • ¼ bunch Thai basil leaves, with buds if possible, leaves picked
  • 1 bunch coriander, sprigs picked
  • 500 g sashimi grade yellowfin tuna
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • crispy shallots, to serve

Sweet nahm jim dressing

  • 5 long red banana chillies
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 cm piece peeled ginger
  • 5 red Asian shallots, peeled
  • 125 g shaved palm sugar
  • 8 makrut lime leaves, chopped
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) fish sauce
  • 125 ml (½ cup) lemon juice
  • 250 ml (1 cup) lime juice

Coconut vinaigrette

  • 1 young coconut, halved, flesh scooped out and roughly sliced
  • 2 tbsp coconut vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon infused extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. For the nahm jim, place all the ingredient into a blender and process until smooth. Taste and adjust if necessary. It should have a balance between sweet and sour.

2. For the coconut dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.

3. Place the papaya, coriander, makrut lime leaves and Thai basil in a large bowl and gently toss the nahm jim dressing through.

4. Preheat a heavy-based pan or barbecue flat plate. Cut the tuna into 1.5 cm-thick slices and brush one side with a little olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook the tuna, oiled side down for 15-30 seconds or until just seared. Remove from the heat and place, seared side down, on your serving plate. Brush a little olive oil over the tuna, this will prevent the acid in the dressing from further cooking the tuna. Top with a handful of the papaya salad and drizzle with the coconut vinaigrette. Top with crispy shallots to serve.


Diana Chan and guests explore the flavours of Asia from her Melbourne home in the second series of Asia Unplated.