Last weekend, my sister-in-law made a delicious Thai influenced spicy salad and she had me hooked. It is so totally addictive, a combination of sour, spicy, sweet, and salty. The fresh herbs and lime leaves added a burst of flavour, the pungent sambal belachan in the dressing is bold and beautiful. It is a kick to the tastebuds! No wonder I couldn't stop, bowl after bowl after bowl...
Anyways, I had to make some more today as my cravings intensify, still thinking of it. So this is my version of the spicy salad:
1/4 cabbage, sliced finely
2 carrots, julienned
8 home grown organic cos lettuce leaves
8 home grown kaffir lime leaves
A handful of mint from the herb patch
A bunch of coriander, also from there
1 small red onion, sliced finely
1 tablespoon sambal belacan*
2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown/palm sugar
juice from 4 lemons
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon lemongrass, chopped finely
Extra bird's eye chilli, for a sure fiery-kick! - uhmm...optional.
Throw all ingredients in a large salad bowl. Whisk ingredients for the dressing, and pour over the salad. Toss. You can top it off with some ground toasted peanuts.
*Sambal Belacan is pounded chilli with toasted shrimp paste. I usually make a large batch and freeze them in smaller portions. I use about 250g of dried chilli (or you can use 8-9 fresh chillies if they are available to you), soaked in hot boiling water for about 10 minutes and then drained. I wrap about 2 0.5cm slices of belacan (available in any asian grocer) in foil, and pop it under the grill for about 10 minutes on high. You can smell the pungent aroma of the crustacean and the sea emanating from the wee bit of belacan. It's all good. Because I only have a small pestle and mortar, I put all the chilli and belacan in a food processor and blend it to a pulp. There, you have a very simple sambal belacan. Squeeze of lime juice, you can have it as an accompaniment to an Asian (or any) style meal.