Unlike Western salads that often feel heavy with ingredients like bacon bits, ham and cheese, this Thai salad is very light in comparison. The flavors are fresh and delicate, the appearance is diaphanous and the texture is light — but it is quite filling! It is the perfect accompaniment to a salty grilled or stir fried meat or seafood dish as it provides all the necessary balance with its subtly sweet and spicy tones. … Continue reading »
Macaroni salad was a very common family reunion party fare when I was a child. My father and my aunt, his sister, had their own versions and both were really great. My father’s version included hard-boiled quail eggs; my aunt’s had lots of pineapple tidbits and pickle relish.
Later on, when I started to learn how to cook, I discovered that I preferred crushed pineapple over pineapple tidbits. I also learned that adding small cubes of cheese makes macaroni salad even more interesting.
Then, there’s the chicken angle. I don’t know why, in the Philippines, macaroni salad almost always means chicken and macaroni salad. There’s so much more than chicken that can go with macaroni, pineapples and mayo. Take ham, for instance. Cut them into cubes and they’re just perfect. Then, there’s crisp bacon bits, diced turkey or duck meat. Or even boiled shrimps. Or canned tuna. My all-time favorite is macaroni salad with smoked salmon. Unbelievable experience.
Whatever meat or seafood I add to macaroni salad, chopped carrots and celery are always a must. I don’t know why but they add a depth to the macaroni salad experience that pineapple and pickle relish cannot provide. Perhaps, it’s the contrast in colors. Or the complimenting flavors. Or the crunchiness that balances the creaminess of mayonnaise and cheese. Or all of that.
Of course, adding carrots and celery does not mean you can’t have pineapples and pickle relish too. Ditch the usual and try different combinations. You’ll be surprised how extraordinary macaroni salad can be.