In Goa cabbage replaces lettuce as the main salad green as it keeps fresh longer. This light crisp slaw-like salad is deliciously tart in a vinegar base with a pleasant hint of garlic, crunch of bell pepper, and juicy bits of tomato all jumbled together. The salad is beautiful with the purple cabbage and red onions perking up anything it is plated with. This is the everyday salad of Goa served as a tangy crunchy textural contrast to rich meaty curries and spice smeared grilled chicken and a must with fried fritters and fish. Use good olive oil and vine ripe tomatoes for best results. Soaking the cabbage for a short time helps crisp it.
1 pound purple cabbage (half a large head or 1 small head), cored and shredded
1 medium red onion (about 8 ounces), peeled, quartered and finely sliced
1 small green or red bell pepper (about 5-6 ounces), cored, inner membranes removed and cut into fine strips
1 large ripe tomato or 2-3 plum tomatoes (about 8 ounces), quartered, sliced into paper- thin half moons (separate with your fingers)
2 fresh green chiles such as serrano or Thai, halved lengthwise, seeded and minced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, smashed, skin removed and minced
Freshly ground black pepper
CRISPING THE CABBAGE. Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl of lightly salted cold water to cover and add the sliced onion. Soak 5 minutes and drain well in a colander.
DRESSING THE SALAD. In a serving bowl, mix together the cabbage, onion, bell pepper and tomato. In a small bowl whisk the vinegar with the salt and sugar until dissolved. Whisk in the oil, garlic and ground pepper to taste and pour over the cabbage mixture. Toss to coat well, using a rubber spatula and serve. This salad can be made one day ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve.