Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Thai Cabbage Salad and why I love bowls...


I love bowls.  Particularly hand thrown pottery. It has a soft, sturdy, personal feel.  
Bowls are the obvious and reliable vessel for soup, porridge, stew, curry.  But they can also feel smart and out of the ordinary for a large square of lasagna, or a piece of chocolate cake- with or without ice cream.   

To me, eating a salad on a plate feels frustrating and unwieldy.  There's bound to be some cabbage or a stray scallion on the floor if you attempt it.  But put that same heap of salad in a good sized bowl and the leaves will never topple overboard.  The sides of the bowl help you maneuver every last bit. The food feels cherished when eaten from a bowl.  As well  it should.

Thai Cabbage Salad
from Marlena Spieler's Hot and Spicy Cookbook 1985

I recommend serving immediately once the salad is dressed to avoid a soggy salad.  If you want to prepare the vegetables in advance simply wait to add the dressing.  Spicy, crunchy, fresh and summery. 

Serves 4 to 6

1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used peanut)
1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 to 2 tablespoons red salsa or 1 teaspoon chile-garlic paste
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced
1 head green cabbage, shredded or very thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 carrot, shredded
1 cup dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
5 green onions, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper for garnish

1. Combine oil, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, cilantro salsa, garlic and chiles.
2. Pour the mixture over the cabbage, cucumber, and carrot. 
3. Toss with chopped peanuts, green onions and garnish with red bell peppers.  


  1. Eating out of a bowl--what a simple but brilliant concept.This salad is perfect for the dog days of August.Thanks, Nicole

  2. I agree with Michele. This cool crunchy salad looks perfect for a summer day. And bowls, especially handmade, I love them too. I was making my own pottery for a while and I really do miss it. It's nice to still have several of those pieces around to use, mostly bowls.


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