Yes, you can (and should) make salad in a mortar. When hardy vegetables, like cabbage, are lightly crushed in a tall Thai-style clay mortar with a long wooden pestle, they are tenderized just enough to yield a pleasing soft crunch. Bruised Thai basil, cilantro, and mint permeate this dish, with a dressing of fish sauce and lime, pounded chiles, garlic, and ginger. Serve it alongside grilled or roasted fish or chicken and steamed jasmine rice.

Andrea Sloenecker
Andrea Slonecker
May 2020

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Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Dickey / Prop Styling by Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Recipe Summary

active:
15 mins
total:
30 mins
Yield:
4
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Using a kruk, pound ginger, garlic, chile, and sugar to a fine paste, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cabbage and herbs; pound until cabbage is slightly softened and crushed and flavor of herbs is released, about 30 seconds. Add fish sauce and lime juice, and toss with pestle and a spoon until evenly combined. Let mixture stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Serve salad topped with peanuts and fried shallots.

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