Refreshing, Delicious and Spicy!
I have had both Thai style Cabbage Salad and Green Papaya Salad a few times in Las Vegas. Both of these salads are made nearly the same way. Unripe green papaya is easy to find in Asian food markets, but it is not stocked at the average grocery store. Therefore the cabbage salad version won the toss of the coin for today's recipe.
Cabbage Salad is usually described as spicy on every Thai restaurant menu. The waitress usually asks "You know this salad is spicy, right? ... "How spicy would you like the salad on a scale of 1 through 10?"
I usually answered the spicy heat preference question with "As spicy as the chef can make the salad!" By answering this way, the Cabbage Salad will be guaranteed to be extra spicy hot, but within tasteful bounds. Cabbage and lime amplify the spicy flavor of hot chile peppers, so ordering "spicy heat level #8" is more than enough!"
Apparently, Thai Cabbage Salad is a recipe that many people like because it is very spicy. Those who prefer milder flavors can make this refreshing salad taste mild too. Just use less hot chile pepper or select a milder chile pepper. Thai Peppers are good for extra spicy hot and coarse ground red serrano pepper paste is best for those who prefer mild tasting chiles.
The cabbage for today's salad is always cut into very thin strips. This makes it easy to eat this salad with chopsticks!
*This entire recipe yields 1 large salad portion!
Heat a dry saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
Add about 2 tablespoons of shelled roasted peanuts.
Shake the pan so the peanuts do not scorch.
Toast the peanuts in the pan till they are aromatic and golden color.
Place the peanuts in a container and set them aside.
Thai Spicy Cabbage Salad:
Step 1: Select 6 to 8 large Napa Cabbage leaves.
Trim the thick stalk end off of each leaf. (The stalks can be saved for another recipe.)
Cut the cabbage leaves lengthwise into very thin strips. (About 2 cups are needed.)
Step 2: Place the shredded Napa Cabbage in a mixing bowl.
Add 1/4 cup of julienne sliced onion. (1/8" wide strips)
Add 1 thin bias sliced green onion.
Add 1/4 cup of julienne sliced green bell pepper.
Add a few julienne carrot strips for color.
Step 3: Chill the cabbage mixture till it is needed..
This dressing is best if served within 20 minutes.
Step 1: Squeeze the juice of 1 fresh lime into a mixing bowl.
Add 1 teaspoon of fish sauce.
Add 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar.
Add 1 tablespoon of water.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of Thai Peanut Sauce. (Bottled Thai Peanut Sauce is fine for this recipe.)
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of granulated sugar.
Step 2: Add 1/2 tablespoon of coarse Korean style Coarse Ground Red Serrano Pepper Paste. (Sambal)
Add 1 pinch of Chinese Ground Hot Chile Pepper. (Optional)
Add 1 chopped Thai Pepper. (Optional! Only add this if you want the salad to be extra spicy hot!)
Step 3: Add 1 pinch of ground coriander.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced cilantro leaves.
Add 1 tablespoon of thin chiffonade sliced Thai Basil leaves.
Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
Step 4: Mix the ingredients together.
Place the dressing in a container and chill till it is needed.
Thai Spicy Cabbage Salad:
Step 1: Pour the spicy lime salad dressing over the cabbage mixture in the mixing bowl.
Toss the ingredients together.
Step 2: Place a few Boston Lettuce leaves on a plate as a bed for the cabbage salad.
Drain the excess salad dressing off of the cabbage mixture.
Mound the Thai Spicy Cabbage Salad on the lettuce leaves.
Step 3: Sprinkle the toasted peanuts over the salad.
Garnish with lime slices.
Garnish with a small sprig of Thai Basil.
This is a great summer salad!