With this recipe, you can wing it--pun intended. It's a birds eye view of a fresh and crunchy cold salad with added protein, suitable for a batch of lunches or a family dinner. You can use a purchased rotisserie chicken or re-purpose the leftovers of a chicken dinner or Thanksgiving turkey. For a vegan version, omit the poultry and eggs, and swap in extra tofu and/or fry up some diced tempeh (add a split clove of garlic and/or a coin of fresh ginger to the frying oil if desired). The amount depends on how much cooked poultry or alternate protein you have: a little less, you can increase the other proteins, a little more, and you can decrease them. You can serve a crowd or a small family by adding or subtracting amounts. This recipe was inspired by one in in Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking and enhanced by the recommendations of an Indonesian friend. I added lime- juice and zest to the latter's recommendation of tamarind paste. (If you lack tamarind paste, up the lime juice to taste). Substitute soft butter lettuce or crisp romaine for the cabbage; blanch green beans, cauliflower, or broccoli in place of the pea pods, or try adding sweet and crunchy batons of jicama or carrot. Use whatever you have in the crisper drawer. —creamtea
In a small food processor, combine the dressing ingredients (use 4 tablespoons hot water to start, then add more as needed); blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning, add a pinch of salt, blend again. Scrape into a small pitcher and set aside.
Prepare a bowl of ice water.
Set two pots of water on to boil, putting the eggs in one; add salt to the second one. Bring both to the boil. Place the cover over the pot containing the eggs, then remove it from heat and allow to stand 12 minutes. Drain and transfer eggs to the bowl of ice water. Allow to cool, then peel and slice.
When water is boiling in the second pot, add potatoes, scrubbed (they can be skinned later); simmer until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove each potato to the bowl of ice water (don't discard the hot water-- keep it at a simmer). I use a long-handled Chinese mesh strainer to transfer the vegetables.
Add the pea pods to the simmering water, time them about 30 seconds, and scoop out to the bowl of ice water with the mesh strainer.
One by one, transfer the potatoes to a cutting board. Slice them with a knife (it helps to oil the blade with a paper towel and to cut with one stroke to avoid breakage). The peel will come off of each slice easily in a single strip.
Remove the pea pods from the ice water and pat dry with a paper towel.
Optional: If using tempeh, heat a medium frypan over moderate heat. Add the cut clove of garlic and the coin of fresh ginger as seasoning. Add in the tempeh. Sauté, stirring, until brown and crispy; transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain and sprinkle with salt to season.
Assemble the salad:
In a large bowl or on a platter, arrange decoratively the cabbage, cucumber, pepper strips, tofu, optional tempeh, pea pods, sliced egg, sliced potato and shredded turkey or chicken. Garnish with the sliced scallion and crushed peanuts. Set the pitcher of peanut sauce alongside for guests to help themselves. (You can also set smaller bowls of the scallion, peanut and egg slices alongside the main platter for a neat presentation).
Alternatively, divide ingredients into lunch-size portions. Before serving, drizzle with peanut sauce.