Dried Apricot and Carrot Salad on Betel Leaves

Dried Apricot and Carrot Salad on Betel Leaves Recipe

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.

Edible Betel leaves Picture


Yields: 12 servings

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!

Betel leaf Salad with Shredded Carrot


You can substitute golden raisins for the dried apricots if you like. It's just as delicious. It brings natural sweetness to the salad.

Unlike regular limes, kaffir limes have a bumpy exterior. The fruit doesn't have a lot of juice, and what juice there is, is quite bitter. Kaffir lime trees are prized for their fragrant leaves, not their fruits. I used fresh kaffir lime leaves from our garden. If you can't find any, you can use fresh mint leaves. Don't add too much kaffir lime leaf to the salad as it tastes very strong and will overpower the dish. You can use the remain leaf for sweet and sour soups.

Kaffir lime Leaves with Picture

Tamarind concentrate has a nice tart flavor. You can also use fresh tamarind pods if you like, but I find this to be labor intensive. I just prefer eating fresh tamarind as is and cook with tamarind concentarte or tamarind powder.

tamarind paste picture

The lemongrass stalk has to be finely chopped, then ground in the mini food processor. To ensure that all the lemongrass turns into a fine moist powder, I pound the finely-chopped lemongrass in a mortar and pestle with about 3 tablespoons of water.

Betel leaves can be found at most Indian stores, or you can also buy them online.

dried shrimp recipe with picture

Dried shrimp (tôm khô in Vietnamese) add a unique salty taste to the salad. This ingredient is very common in Vietnamese cuisine. I sometimes add some to fried rice but when cooked, the taste is very different.

I use Ponzu brand soy sauce; it's perfect as a dipping sauce. It's lemony and less salty than regular soy sauce.

Palm sugar can be found in most Asian stores or online. It's sold as a block, shave the sugar and dissolve it in the salad dressing.

dried fried shallots

I buy dried fried shallots at the Asian store. It's crunchy and very strong in flavor. You can also make your own by frying thinly sliced shallots if you like.

You can find all the ingredients listed in most Asian stores.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on October 23, 2009.


[-] Foodie with L ittle Thyme! - Guest-cassie
Beautiful! Love all the color and flavor of these little treats.

cassie Website Link
[ Posted at 6:01 AM on 10/23/09 | Reply ]
Love the colors in that salad, and it sounds delicious!

Chocolate shavings Website Link
[ Posted at 8:33 AM on 10/23/09 | Reply ]
This makes such a perfect side dish.

veronica Perez Website Link
[ Posted at 4:59 PM on 10/23/09 | Reply ]
[-] very nice - Guest-OysterCulture
This dish sounds so unusual, at least to the way that I normally cook that I cannot wait to try it. I love the betel leaf addition, the keiffer limes, I'll have to pick up. It just sounds wonderful

oysterculture Website Link
[ Posted at 7:47 PM on 10/25/09 | Reply ]
Dear Jacqueline,

A simply amazing website with a brilliant collection of recipes!! I am a huge fan! I'm originally from the US, but have been living in India for the past 6 years and travelled extensively around SE Asia and absolutely love all of the cuisines highlighted here.

Quick question regarding the apricot and carrot salad on betel leaves. Did you use the betel leaf as simply a serving dish or was it eaten as part of the dish?

Many thanks,
[ Posted at 5:57 AM on 11/9/09 | Reply ]
[-] Idea in Business Pan Parag - Guest-sultan
Pleas Send me Full Pan Parag Farmullah in urdu /english
help me new start in business

[ Posted at 12:03 PM on 7/19/11 | Reply ]

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