Dish Dish

Watermelon Salad With Fried Shallots and Fish Sauce

4 servings


15 minutes

total time


4 medium garlic cloves

2 to 12 fresh Thai bird’s-eye chiles (depending on how much heat you enjoy), stems trimmed (see Tip)

3 tablespoons palm sugar (see Tip)

1/4 cup fish sauce

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 cup homemade or store-bought fried shallots

3 pounds seedless watermelon (about 1 small or ¼ large), rind removed, cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 small cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch slices

Large handful of roughly chopped mint leaves

Large handful of roughly chopped cilantro leaves

1/2 cup roughly crushed or chopped roasted peanuts


Prepare the dressing: Combine garlic, chiles and sugar in the bowl of a large mortar and pestle. Pound into a fine paste. Add fish sauce and stir with the pestle until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the lime juice and stir with the pestle to incorporate. Alternatively, you can combine the garlic, chiles, palm sugar (chop it into bits with a heavy knife or cleaver if it came in solid chunks), fish sauce and lime juice in a blender. Blend until the garlic and chiles are finely chopped, and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Prepare the salad: If using homemade shallots, skip to Step 3. If using store-bought shallots, toast them dry in a large skillet over medium-low heat until deep caramel brown and aromatic, about 3 minutes. (Alternatively, you can toast the shallots on a sheet tray in an oven or toaster oven at 375 degrees until deep caramel brown, about 6 minutes). Season generously with salt and transfer to a bowl.

Combine watermelon, onion, cucumber, mint, cilantro, peanuts, half of the fried shallots and ¼ cup dressing in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing as desired. (Excess dressing can be reserved in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two weeks.) Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with remaining shallots. Serve.


Serving Size




Total Fat

10 g

Saturated Fat

1 g

Unsaturated Fat

8 g

Trans Fat

0 g




1434 mg

Total Carbohydrate

51 g

Dietary Fiber

5 g

Total Sugars

36 g


10 g

4 servings


15 minutes

total time
Start Cooking