Sour Rice Salad
- Thinly slice the shallots from the salad ingredients list and drop them in a small pan of vegetable oil heated to medium.
- Fry till light brown—careful here, they'll go from golden to overdone in the blink of an eye—remove from the pan, and drain on paper towel.
- Set aside.
- Make the dressing: in a mortar and pestle, pound the shrimp to a pulp.
- Add and pound together the shallots, garlic, and chile peppers, if using.
- Add the belacan and pound it as well, then the tomatoes/tomato wedge.
- Mix in lime juice, and add the fish sauce, ½ tbsp at a time; taste dressing after the first ½ tbsp, you may not want to add the other.
- Add black pepper to taste and try the dressing again—more kalamansi juice will be in order if your tomatoes were exceptionally sweet, or if you're after a real pucker.
- Pick leaves from mint and basil sprigs, and chop these very finely together with the coriander.
- Pick the leaves from the daun kesom stem and chop a bit less finely.
- Remove the hard outer layers from the lemongrass stalks, quarter them lengthwise, and slice thinly.
- Mix rice and dressing, then add torch ginger, coriander-mint-basil, daun kesom, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and sour spinach or sorrel and mix again.
- Allow the rice to stand and absorb the flavors of the herbs and the dressing for about ½ hour.
- Serve topped with fried shallots.