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Shan Salad with Cellophane Noodles and Ginger

From the excellent coffee table worthy cookbook, Hot Sour Salty Sweet:


2 cups julienned napa cabbage

3 bundles (about 3 ounces) dried cellophane noodles, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes and drained

1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

Dressing and Flavor Paste:

1/4 cup chopped garlic

3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil

2-3 Thai dried red chiles, or 1 tsp dried red chile flakes, or less for less heat

2 tablespoons minced ginger

2 teaspoons dried shrimp

1 tsp salt

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or fresh lime juice

Place the cabbage in a large bowl of cold water and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the cellophane noodles and cook until softened, about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain thoroughly in a sieve or colander. Coarsely chop.

Drain the cabbage and place in a bowl, add the noodles, and toss with your hands to mix well. 

In a small heavy skillet heat the oil over med-high heat.  Add the garlic and cook over medium heat until lightlly browned, about 4 minutes.  If using whole dried chiel, break into small pieces and stir into the oil. Or, stir i the chile flakes. Continue cooking and stirring for 1 minute, then transfer the garlic, chiles, and oil to a medium bowl.  

Place the ginger in a mortar and pound to a paste, then add the shrimp and salt and pound to a paste. Alternatively, mince the ginger and shrimp very fine, place in a bowl with the salt, and use the back of a large spoon to mash and blend together.  Stir the 2 Tbsp water into the ginger-shrimp mixture, then add the reserved garlic and chile oil. Stir in the vinegars. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Add the cilantro and toss well. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend

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