Rejuvenating Balinese Green Apple Salad

By Beautiful, Memorable Food
June 18, 2011
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Author Notes: This is a refreshing salad inspired by a trip to Bali. We stayed in Ubud, in Bali's central rainforest, which attracts artists and seekers of enlightenment more than the sun worshipers who flock to other parts of the island. It's a mystical place where monkeys freely roam temple grounds, where every day, anyone can get swept up in ritual Hindu ceremony processions, and where epic shadow puppet performances depicting scenes from the Ramayana stretch into the wee hours of the morning.

Our hotel was in a quiet part of Ubud surrounded by rice paddies. Its restaurant, a serene, thatch-roofed, open-air space beside a waterfall, served the curry infused flavors of Balinese food, adapted to appeal to the palates of a spa-going, transcendence-seeking clientele. I found myself drawn to the freshly prepared juice blends, each promising some form of revitalization and rejuvenation. My favorite combined green apple, celery and ginger, which promised cleansing, invigoration-- and perhaps enlightenment.

That juice cocktail inspired me to create this green apple salad, which can be eaten on its own or as a accompaniment to grilled meat, or if you are in Bali, perhaps a roast suckling pig (babi guling). Its dressing is the type used commonly throughout Southeast Asia for vegetable and green (unripe) fruit salads, and also as a dipping sauce for grilled meats.
Beautiful, Memorable Food

Makes: 2 to 3 cups
Prep time: 20 min

For the dressing

  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 6 small limes)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 4 red Thai bird chillies, sliced into thin rings

For the salad

  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 3 tablespoons shelled, roasted peanuts
  1. Make the dressing first so flavors have time to meld. Combine the first four dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Add sliced chilies and then set aside.
  2. Slice onions and set aside.
  3. Crush peanuts. I find it easiest to use a mortar and pestle. Alternatively, place peanuts in a ziploc bag, seal, and roll with a rolling pin until coarsely crushed.
  4. Core and julienne green apples and immediately combine with the dressing to prevent apples from turning brown.
  5. Just before serving, sprinkle crushed peanuts on top.

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