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Indonesian sweet coconut and basil salad

Updated: Mar 26, 2022

This salad can be defined with the words crunchy and fresh. The base of the salad is crunchy Napa (Chinese) cabbage and is loaded with green beans, cucumbers, and the delicate sweetness from fresh grated coconut. I also added some red bell pepper and cherry tomatoes for a pop of color. The fresh Thai basil and spicy dressing pulls the salad together. The complex flavors of Kaffir lime leaves, Thai chilies, galangal and sweetness from the palm jaggery make this the perfect sweet and spicy dressing. This is that perfect salad that is wonderful on a hot summer day, light, fresh and so delicious.

The chef suggested serving this salad with Indonesian barbecued sweet soy chicken, the pairing was perfect.

This is a wonderful modern cookbook that explores Indonesian cuisine. Filled with amazing photographs and wonderful recipes, this cookbook is a wonderful introduction to this otherwise complex cuisine.

For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.


2-3 Thai red chilies, sliced

1/2 teaspoon galangal, minced

1/2 Kaffir lime leaf

Salt, to taste

3-4 tablespoons dark palm sugar or jaggery

1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut

1 small Napa cabbage \, shredded

1 cup tender green beans, finely sliced

2 cucumbers, peeled, quartered and diced

1 red bell pepper, finely diced (optional)

15 cherry tomatoes, halved horizontally (optional)

1 red pepper, diced

1/2 cup Thai basil, shredded

Mix the chilies, galangal, Kaffir lime leaf, salt and sugar and pound in a mortar and pestle till smooth. Alternatively you can pulse this in a small blender to a smooth paste. Add the coconut shreds and mix in. Taste for sweetness, spice and flavor, the dressing should be bold and wonderful to compensate for the leaves. Set aside.

Add the vegetables to a bowl. When ready to serve, drizzle the dressing on top and toss at the table. Serve immediately garnished with Thai basil.

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