Thai-style cabbage salad

April 5, 2010 § 1 Comment

When I was little, I used to totally lose my marbles at holidays.  All my favorite foods!  Desserts!  Fun activities!  I would go totally nuts with excitement – especially over the food.  Now that I’m a “grown up”…I’m pretty much exactly the same.  In general, I really do try to keep my diet pretty healthy and fresh and I especially try to keep it low in sugar.  So, then when it’s a holiday and I’m surrounded by sweets and yummy foods, I may let myself just a little too loose – particularly if whipped cream is involved (which, if I have any say in the planning or implementation of whichever holiday it is, there always is).  I seem to basically have some sort of animal instinct to make sure that not a single speck of whipped cream anywhere in a 10-mile radius of me ever goes to waste. (I feel somewhat duty bound now to note that, if I’m wearing my nutrition cap, this is exactly what we advise people not to do – it’s best to try to eat about the same amount on a holiday as any other day, eating slightly less of the meal, perhaps, to make room for dessert…easier said than done, that’s for sure, but worth a try).

So, after a holiday like Easter, when candy and dessert and other treats abound throughout the course of the entire day, I find myself the next day with a sticky, sluggish, testy sugar hangover, and I get the urge to detox.  Fresh, crispy, green things, STAT!  I also find myself wishing for foods that are as different in flavor as possible from roast lamb, potatoes, egg bake, whipped cream, or those malted milk egg-looking candies that are both disgusting and bizarrely addictive.  Which, frequently, leads me to thinking about Thai food.  I’ve been experimenting a bit more with Thai cooking since the red curry (I made a yellow curry and an almost-pad Thai, but I didn’t take pictures of them, so I believe that from the point of view of the food blog universe, they may have never existed) and I’m starting to feel more comfortable mixing up Thai flavors.  So, I took a few of the most fundamental flavors, fish sauce, lime juice, chilis, and garlic, and whipped up a little salad dressing for some sliced cabbage.  Thai cabbage salad + iced green tea = detox perfection…I’m starting to feel like a human being again, instead of a Peep.

Thai-style cabbage salad

  • ½ of a green cabbage or Napa cabbage
  • salt, optional
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced well
  • 1-2 fresh Thai chilis or jalapeno chilis (use the lower amount if you want it milder.  If you don’t have any fresh chilis, I’d say you could probably use a bunch red pepper flakes or even stir in a bit of Thai chili paste, something to add spiciness)
  1. Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage and cut out the core.  Slice thinly.  If you want your cabbage milder tasting (cabbage tends to have just a bit of that nasal passage clearing style of spiciness) and don’t want extra moisture in you salad, toss your cabbage with a Tablespoon of salt and allow to stand in a colander in the sink for about an hour.  Then rinse the cabbage well, and squeeze gently to dry. Or, it turns out fine if you skip this step. 
  2. Next, cut open the chili(s), remove the stems and seeds, then mince the chilis.  Wash your hands before touching your eyes!!!!  Stir together the fish sauce, lime juice, minced garlic, and minced chili.  Toss with the cabbage. 
  3. Serve right away, or refrigerate for up to a couple of hours.  This cabbage is good with sliced tomatoes or some grated carrots.  You could also stir in some Thai basil if you have it.  Top the salad with roasted peanuts, and/or roasted chicken or grilled meat to make it a full meal.

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