Monday, December 26, 2011

Crunchy Thai salad with peanuts

Fresh, vibrant, refreshing, crunchy, sweet, tangy are all the words that come to mind when eating this salad. It is a great antidote to the holiday meals that we have eaten in the last couple of days. The lemongrass dressing gives this coleslaw like (of course sans mayonnaise) salad the Thai touch. Lemongrass is very common in Thai cuisine and of late I have embraced this wonderfully fragrant "grass". Hence the Thai inspired recipes on my blog in the recent past.
If you have never used lemon grass this is a great recipe to try it with and this tutorial will help to buy, clean and prepare lemon grass for any dish that uses it.

Crunchy Thai salad with peanuts
One vine-ripened tomato
1 red bell pepper
2 small seedless, Persian cucumbers
½ small red onion
1 medium carrot with tops (those are fresher and sweeter than regular carrots)
8 large leaves of iceberg lettuce
½ cup dry roasted peanuts
Lemongrass dressing below

Salad Prep

  • Remove the core and seeds of the tomato and cut it into thin strips lengthwise
  • Remove the core and seeds of the bell pepper and cut into 1 ½ to 2 inch long strips
  • Peel the cucumbers and cut into thin strips. The best way to do this is using a mandoline, failing which, slice the cucumber into thin slices and then stack them to cut into matchsticks
  • Peel the carrot and cut into matchsticks
  • Chop the onion vertically into thin slices and then separate the pieces
  • Shred the iceberg lettuce into thin strips

Pour the dressing into the bottom of the serving bowl and pile up all the prepped veggies on top finishing with the lettuce. Toss when ready to serve. Add the roasted peanuts and give it one last toss.

Serves 4 to 6

1 ½ tablespoons finely minced lemon grass, tender parts only
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon dried red chili flakes
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon palm sugar

Stir all the ingredients until the palm sugar is well integrated into the dressing.

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