The version I make here in Canada has been modified to what is available and my family’s tastes. My daughter loves this salad but hates tomatoes so those have also been left out. Please feel free to add them, grape or cherry would be good but if you just want to use a regular tomato, quarter it and add. You could add them at the end and smash them slightly or stir them in with the peanuts.
3 large carrots, peeled and grated
2 handfuls of string beans, trimmed and cut in half
half a cup of peanuts (unsalted) *
2 cloves of garlic
1 dried or fresh chilli (bird’s eye is the authentic chilli to use but another or part of another will do, adjust to your taste)
juice of a lime
2 tsp of fish sauce
tbsp of brown sugar
I use a very large mortar and pestle to make this salad. You can use a Ziploc and a mallet (flat side) or heavy pot instead. First smash the garlic and chilli inside the bag. When well mashed, add some of the lime juice and some of the carrot. Smash. Add more carrot. Smash. You want to break the fibres of the carrot so they absorb the other flavours you are adding. Add more juice, brown sugar and half the fish sauce and the rest of the carrot. Smash right good. Add half the string beans. Smash. Add the rest of the fish sauce, lime juice and string beans (the order in which you add the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar makes no difference.) Smash. Have a taste. It should be spicy and tangy with a touch of sweetness. If it is not salty enough, add more fish sauce, if too spicy add a little more brown suagr. Empty into a bowl and stir in the peanuts.
*I always buy raw peanuts and brown them myself in a pan over a medium heat. No oil is necessary but you must watch them as they can burn easily.