From: Celebrating the Seasons by John Littlewood
This is another recipe inspired by our wonderful Cambodian cook. Pen Leng. The dressings combination of hot, sour, salty, and sweet flavors accents the pure, fresh taste of the vegetables.
Serves 6 to 8
• Sweet-sour dressing (recipe follows)
• 1 small head green cabbage (about 3/4 pound)
• 1 small carrot, peeled and grated
• 2 green onions, thinly sliced on an angle
• 1/2 pound mung bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1. Make Sweet-sour dressing.
2. Cut cabbage in half and slice as thinly as you can. (A Japanese mandolin is perfect for this.) Place in a large mixing bowl with the reserved herb mixture; add the carrot, green onions, and sprouts. Toss with dressing no more than 15 minutes before serving.
• You can add all sorts of vegetables to this salad, such as red pepper, jicama, and zucchini strips or cucumber. Finely minced red peppers can be sprinkled on top of the salad for a nice presentation.
• We usually present this salad on a large platter surrounded by baby lettuces,
• Serve this salad with meat, if desired: thinly slice leftover chicken, pork, or beef, coat lightly with dressing, and arrange around the salad.
Makes 1 1/4 cups
• 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
• 1/2, cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
• 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
• 1/2 cup lime juice
• 1/3 cup honey
• 1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, with seeds, roughly chopped
• 2 teaspoons fish sauce (optional)*
• 2 tablespoons dry-roasted peanuts
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until fairly smooth, about 6 seconds. A little texture is desirable; pureeing fresh herbs completely can "flatten out" the flavors.
* Fish sauce, also known as nam pla, is available in Asian markets or the Asian foods section of some grocery stores. Look for Dragonfly or Golden Boy brands.
• Jalapenos vary in degree of spiciness. The amount called for in this recipe usually results in a medium-hot dressing. Start with less if your tolerance for chiles is limited.
• Fish sauce is optional, but I recommend it for authentic flavor. For a vegetarian dressing, omit the fish sauce and add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 teaspoons soy sauce,
• Pen Leng often uses only cilantro when making this dressing. I like the fresh, varied flavor from using all three herbs. If you use only one herb, use cilantro.
• Try the dressing as a dipping sauce for spring rolls.