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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Serve immediately.
- Bon appétit!