In the U.S., summer means backyard BBQs and the ubiquitous cabbage-carrot cole slaw drowning in sauce. Joe and I both enjoy fresh slaw-like salads that defy Midwestern expectations. This one has a zingy dressing of coconut and garlic and hot chilies. Actually, the dressing is from an Urap recipe, which is not a slaw at all. Urap is an Indonesian (Javanese, specifically) dish of parboiled vegetables tossed in a coconut dressing. We discovered that the dressing works just wonderfully with shredded carrot and peas. I'd happily take this to a BBQ as a alternative to the usual American cabbage slaw.
Carrot Salad with Urap Dressing
6 carrots or so, shredded
1 cup green peas or so
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 onion, chopped (You can also use an equivalent amount of shallots.)
1 to 3 fresh green chilies to taste (We used 3 thai chilies.)
3/4 C grated coconut (non-sweetened)
1/2 C water
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Grind garlic, onion, and chilies in a mortar (or in a blender) until smooth. In a bowl that can be heated in water, mix coconut with water, sugar, salt, and pepper, then stir in the garlic-onion sauce. Place this bowl in a larger pot of water. We put the bowl on a small steamer stand so that it wasn't touching the bottom of the pot. Bring the water to a boil, cover with a crack left open, and steam the coconut for about 20 minutes.
Toss salad in dressing and serve.
Serves 4 to 6 people.