Thai-ish Salad

Thai salad 2

Right I must say from the off that this is a Thai salad in the loosest possible sense.  Yes there is coriander, lime juice, fish sauce etc but also apple and radish and I’m not sure quite how authentic they are.   That said, it is fabulous to eat and sometimes I am happy to throw authenticity out of the window.  I think I mentioned it with Paella (January 2013) – I am not trying to recreate an original dish, I simply want to make something good to eat.

This is crisp, crunchy and jam packed with flavours.  The ginger, garlic and (small amount) of chilli give this life and heat whilst the herbs and lime bring zip and zing to the party.  You can leave out the apple if you want but I love their tangy sweetness and likewise the radishes, if they are not your thing omit them but they add peppery crunch and a beautiful pink.

It is a bonus for me that my children like this.  My daughter is a bit of a salad phobe but she adores and this and happily ploughs her way through a bowlful, sometimes adding a little more chilli and then smacking her lips and puffing as a result.   Its good to see them enjoying a bit of healthy salad at this time of year when we are rather surrounded by root vegetables and a lot of hardy brassicas.

This is fab with pork chops or roast chicken (hot or cold) and also works very well with leftovers.  In particular I’m thinking leftover turkey here but then that would make it a challenger to my beloved Christmas Salad (December 2013).  Never mind, we’ll just have both.

Thai salad

Thai Salad

Make the dressing first so that the flavours can sit and meld for a bit.

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons light olive oil

1/2 tablespoon fish sauce

1/2 teaspoon caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon sriracha or other chilli sauce

Small thumb ginger, finely grated

1 small clove garlic, finely grated

1/4 white cabbage

1 apple

6 radishes

2 carrots, peeled

1/2 bunch coriander

1/2 bunch mint

Mix the first nine ingredients together to make the dressing.  Taste and adjust as you see fit, a little more chilli perhaps?  Finely chop the rest of the ingredients and mix in a large bowl, add most of the dressing and combine.  You may or may not need all the dressing, it rather depends on the size of your cabbage and carrots!   Enough for 4 as a side.

 

Christmas Salad

Christmas salad

We are fully in the cosy food season.  Immersed in hearty stews, sticky roasted vegetables and pillows of spongy sweet saucy puddings.  Fabulous, I am certainly not complaining and part of me looks forward to this time of year even whilst in the heat (hopefully) of the summer.  All that said however, I can’t go long without a salad.  Not the gentle floppy green leaves of a summer lettuce, festooned with garden herbs type salad.  More a crunchy, zingy colourful number, both sweet and tangy – a salad in its Christmas party clothes if you will.

This is just the ticket for my lunch when I crave a change from my usual warming soup.  Crisp,crunchy and seasonal it would also work perfectly on the side of some cold turkey, ham or goose in the days after Christmas, or really anytime.  I love the jewel like dried cranberries which make anything feel Christmassy, their sweet chewiness is a great foil to the crunch of the apple, carrots and red cabbage.  The sweet and sour dressing brings everything together.  Incidentally I made this with some cabbage left over after making my firecracker red cabbage to freeze in preparation for Christmas Eve lunch – see how even the humble red cabbage multi-tasks at this time of year.

Christmas Salad

The quantities here whilst not vague exactly are not specific measures because really it is up to you – if you love apple, use a big one or two.  If you love dried cranberries use more.

1/4 red cabbage, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 spring onions, chopped

1 apple, cored and chopped

A handful of rocket

A handful of dried cranberries

A handful of parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, crushed

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 heaped teaspoon sugar

Salt and pepper

Mix the mustard, garlic, oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper.  Taste this dressing and add a little more of anything until you are happy with it.  Put all the chopped salad ingredients in a large bowl, pour over the dressing and mix really well.  Leave for at least half an hour for the flavours to combine.  This will happily sit in the fridge for up to 3 days but I don’t anticipate it will last that long.  Serves 4 as a side.