1 small white onion, thinly sliced lengthwise (about 2 cups)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 cups shredded green cabbage
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup loosely packed fresh Thai basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
1 lime, cut into wedges
This salad of fresh shredded cabbage is a riot of flavors and textures. The tangy, spicy dressing soaks into each bite, which is punctuated with pops of sweet crunch from the quick-candied peanuts and bursts of verdant flavor from fistfuls of herbs.
Make the candied peanuts: Combine peanuts, granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring often, until peanuts are lightly toasted and golden and syrup is bubbly, very thick, and almost completely evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Immediately spread peanut mixture in an even layer on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Break apart to separate peanuts.
Make the dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, just until sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Make the fried onions: Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a Dutch oven over medium to 300°F. Season onion slices with salt; toss with cornstarch, shaking off excess. Fry onions in hot oil in 2 batches, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Season with salt to taste. Let cool at least 5 minutes or up to 1 hour.
Assemble the salad: Toss together green cabbage, red cabbage, basil, mint, cilantro, candied peanuts, and half of the fried onions in a large bowl. Add dressing, and toss to coat. Top with remaining fried onions; garnish with additional herbs. Serve with lime wedges.