Recipe For Dried Apricot and Carrot Salad on Betel Leaves


Lulu’s aunt, Sara, gave Daddy a betel leaf plant a few months ago. It has grown from a small vine into a prolific producer of fragrant leaves. Daddy loves chewing areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s very popular in India (paan parag) as well as Vietnam (trầu). In much of Southeast Asia, betel leaves are used to make a salad.

For the shredded carrot salad I made today, I decided to use the fresh betel leaves as a serving dish of sorts. To the shredded carrots, I added diced dried apricots and a fresh, thinly shredded kaffir lime leaf. The combination of the ingredients worked very well together. Betel leaves have a peppery taste and the kaffir lime has a nice citrus-y aroma. In keeping with the Asian theme, I made a peanut and tamarind dressing to brighten up the dish and tie all the flavors together.

1. Info for Dried Apricot and Carrot Salad on Betel Leaves

  • Cook Time: unavailable
  • Total Time: unavailable
  • Servings: 12
  • Calories: unavailable

2. Ingredients for Dried Apricot and Carrot Salad on Betel Leaves

  • 3 dozen fresh betel leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried fried shallot (store-bought), slightly crushed
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (see tips)
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
  • 4 carrots, shredded
  • 1 red Thai bird chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 6 peanuts, slightly crushed
  • 1 stalk lemongrass purée (see tips)
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh kaffir lime leaf (and/or mint leaves), finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp (optional)

3. Directions:

  1. For the carrots: Peel the carrot. Shred the whole carrot. If you use the Messermeister tool, you’ll get long threads of carrot pieces. Cut into about 3-inch pieces. Place the carrots in a bowl. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Drizzle with the juice of 2 limes. Toss well. Let the carrots marinate. Set aside.
  2. For the lemongrass-flavored dried apricots: Dice the apricots into small squares. In a small saucepan, heat a teaspoon of peanut oil. Add the apricots. Stir for about a minute. Place the puréed lemongrass in a double-layered  cheesecloth and drizzle the lemongrass juice over the apricots. Turn off the heat. Let cool completely.
  3. For the peanut and tamarind salad dressing: In a bowl, mix together the tamarind concentrate, remaining lime juice, palm sugar, peanut oil, dried shallots, crushed peanuts, red Thai bird chile, black pepper and soy sauce. Add the peanuts. Set aside.
  4. Assembly time: In a large bowl, combine the carrots, apricots and kaffir lime leaf and mint leaves (if used). Drizzle with the peanut and tamarind salad dressing.
  5. Place the betel leaves on a platter. Spoon about 1-1/2 tablespoons of carrot salad on each betel leaf. Garnish with dried shrimp (if you’re not a vegetarian).
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Bon appétit!

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