Burmese Ginger Salad (Thoke)
We first ate this salad at Mandalay, a Burmese restaurant in Washington D.C where our nephew Aditya took us to celebrate his graduation. It was an instant favorite with us and we’ve since tried it at home with great success.
2 cups very finely chopped cabbage
2 carrots , peeled , shredded
2 scallions , trimmed , chopped
2 green chillies , finely chopped
1 firm plum tomato, chopped
2/3 cup peeled chopped young ginger
4 Tbsp. roasted peanuts, divided
2 Tbsp. dried shrimp,cooked, crumbled
3. Tbsp fried garlic slices
3. Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
3 tsps. yellow split pea flour ( besan ) , toasted ( See notes)
Burmese dressing ( see notes)
Cilantro, chopped , for garnish
Assemble these ingredients in mounds in a large plate as you prepare them ; cabbage, carrots, scallions, green chillies, tomato and ginger . Coarsely chop 1/2 the peanuts , leave the others whole. Sprinkle with the whole peanuts , the chopped peanuts , fried garlic , dried shrimp and sesame seeds. Place a small bowl of the Burmese Dressing in the center of the composed salad. Just before serving , mix all the ingredients and the dressing together, top with the toasted gram flour and serve, garnished with just a little cilantro.
Thoke is the Burmese term for salad. There are two other salads at Mandalay which we also love . One is the Fermented Tea Leaf Salad and the other a Gram Fritter Salad. They are all very similar and contain the same ingredients and dressing except that in the other two, the amount of ginger is reduced and substituted for with the main ingredient ( Tea Leaves or Gram Fritter as the case may be ). I am not quite sure which tea leaves to use ; all I know is that they are green tea leaves. As for the the Gram flour fritters they are very crisp fritters , somewhat like falafel , which are crumbled into the salad just before serving.
1. The Burmese dressing consists of peanut oil, fish sauce and lemon juice. I make it differently with a mixture of peanut oil, fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and a dash of chopped fresh red chillies ( available bottled in Asian stores). Make a little extra and store in the refrigerator. The proportion I use is roughly this : 3 Tbsp . peanut oil, 3 Tbsp. fish sauce, 4 Tbsp. rice vinegar,1 Tbsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp red chillies.
2. The cabbage should be very finely chopped , the rest of the ingredients to match.
3. Instead of the gram flour, I use fine sev. This has two advantages. It cuts down on the preparation and it remains crisp.