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Salad with Thai Dressing

My mother-in-law found this delicious salad recipe from one of my books and made it for her guests. It was a great success and her guests couldn't get enough of it. So when we came back from Singapore, she made this for us and I was also so enthusiastic about it that I decided to try it on my own. This salad includes red cabbage and Chinese cabbage.

I discovered the colour of the red cabbage changes depending on the pH (acidity) of the soil. The more acid the soil is, the more leaves turn reddish... but if the soil is alkaline, it produces greenish-yellow coloured cabbages instead. It is said that the juice of red cabbage can be used as a home-made pH indicator. Interestingly, the red cabbage will turn blue upon cooking but it will retain its colour if vinegar or acidic fruit is added to the pot. The red cabbage is a seasonal plant and is planted in spring and harvest in late fall.

The Chinese cabbage is also known as Napa cabbage and originates from China, near the Beijing region. It is used to make the most common type of kimchi in Korean cuisine.

This my contribution for this Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Wondering Chopsticks.

Salad with Thai Dressing
  • 1 medium onion (finely sliced)
  • 2 tbsp dried shrimp
  • 6 cloves garlic (sliced)
  • 2 cups red cabbage (shredded)
  • 2 cups Chinese cabbage (shredded)
  • ¼ cup unsalted roasted peanuts (chopped)
  • salt


  • 2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp black peppercorn (cracked)
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves & stems (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  1. Mix the sliced onion and a bit of salt in a colander. Leave it for 30 minutes. Then rinse and drain well.
  2. Soak the dried shrimps in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and chop finely.
  3. Heat oil in a small pan and fry the sliced garlic until browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels.
  4. Combine the onion, shrimp and half of the fried garlic with the shredded red and Chinese cabbage in a large salad bowl.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining fried garlic and chopped peanuts on the salad before serving it.

Make the Dressing

  • Combine sugar, lime juice, peppercorns, coriander, crushed garlic and fish sauce in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Salad with Thai DressingSalad with Thai Dressing
The Verdict

I love how the taste of fresh salad goes so well with the dressing. The onions gives the salad the biting taste while crunchiness of the peanuts, the coriander and garlic (not too overpowering) lends its wonderful flavour to the salad.


To make things simpler, I just blended the dried shrimps, roasted peanuts together with the dressing ingredients.

For those who do not like to eat big chunk of garlic, you can crush the fried garlic and sprinkle it all over the salad.

To vary the salad, I would suggest adding some bean sprouts and cooked French beans etc.

Salad with Thai Dressing
#1, by Smita (06/01/2008)

This sounds tasty - mmm! Although I should be the last person eyeing shrimp. I am so allergic that my lips look like Angelina Jolie's in about 30 seconds of shrimp eating. Ack!

#2, by Kevin (06/01/2008)

That salad looks good!

#3, by Wandering Chopsticks (06/02/2008)

Thanks for the submission. This salad looks great. The combo of cabbage and shrimp and peanuts reminds me of Vietnamese salads.:-)

#4, by Abby (06/02/2008)

YUM. I love ANYTHING with cabbage in it - always have. (Even raw with a little salt!) Your salad is so colorful, too!

My husband is also allergic to shellfish so I couldn't make this exactly as called for, but I bet I could work around it!

#5, by Kalyn (06/04/2008)

The salad looks great. I didn't know that about the ph changing the color, very interesting.

#6, by ovenhaven (06/04/2008)

I love the colour of your salad! Looks like a great combination of veges and nuts.

#7, by gattina (06/04/2008)

I love napa a lot, never use in salad so far. Adding dried shrimp sounds like a great idea!

#8, by The Cooking Ninja (06/04/2008)

@Smita & Abby: The salad still taste good even if you skip the dried shrimps.:-) hmm...how about adding some cripsy dried ikan bilis (anchovy):-)... unless you are allergic to it too.

@Wandering Chopsticks: I love Vietnamese salads.:-)

#9, by malaysianfoodguide (06/05/2008)

I love the salad, but I will omit the shrimp as I am sensitive to shrimp. Thanks Cooking Ninja, you give me a great idea for another healthy salad dressings:-)

#10, by imelda (11/19/2008)

i need to know how it got the green color? i have a sample size bottle of clear colored pandan flavoring... did you put a drop of green food coloring?

#11, by The Cooking Ninja (11/19/2008)

@Imelda: Are you talking about my Yogurt Pandan Flavoured cake? I don't think you are talking about this salad isn't it.;-) If it is the Yogurt Pandan Flavoured Cake, yes I used the green coloured pandan essence.

#12, by rebecca (11/21/2011)

made this salad minus the shrimp and the chinese cabbage. Yummmmmm!!!!!!!!!! will definitely make this again! and again!:-)