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.
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)
- 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
- Mix the sliced onion and a bit of salt in a colander. Leave it for 30 minutes. Then rinse and drain well.
- Soak the dried shrimps in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and chop finely.
- Heat oil in a small pan and fry the sliced garlic until browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels.
- Combine the onion, shrimp and half of the fried garlic with the shredded red and Chinese cabbage in a large salad bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
- 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.
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.