Some recipes for this salad call for bottled pickled sliced ginger, but the homemade version tastes much fresher. Although it takes two days to make, little hands-on effort is required. We recommend using young ginger, which has very thin, delicate skin and is more succulent than mature ginger. Young ginger is easiest to find in markets during the spring; if it's not available, use the smaller knobs of only very fresh, plump mature ginger.
3" piece young ginger, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
Juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp. channa dal (hulled split dried small chickpeas)
1⁄2 cup peanut oil
10 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1⁄2 tsp. fish sauce
1⁄4 cup peeled, roasted, unsalted peanuts
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
4 green bird's-eye chiles, stemmed
1. Toss ginger and 1 tsp. salt together in a medium glass or ceramic bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring every 8 hours. Rinse ginger, drain well, and put into a clean glass or ceramic bowl. Add lime juice and mix with your fingers until ginger is well coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring every 8 hours. Soak chickpeas in a small bowl of water for 8 hours.
2. Drain ginger, then slice into long thin strips. Put ginger into a clean medium glass or ceramic bowl and set aside. Drain chickpeas, thoroughly dry with paper towels, and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a wok or a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and fry, stirring constantly with a slotted spoon, until lightly golden and crisp, 6–8 minutes. Transfer shallots with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Fry garlic in the hot oil, stirring constantly, until just beginning to turn golden around the edges, 1–2 minutes, then transfer to paper towels to drain. Fry chickpeas in the hot oil, stirring constantly, until golden, 4–5 minutes, then transfer to paper towels to drain, setting wok with oil aside. Set shallots, ginger, and chickpeas aside separately to cool completely.
4. Add fish sauce, peanuts, sesame seeds, and fresh chiles to bowl with ginger. Add fried shallots, garlic, and chickpeas and 2 tsp. of the frying oil, season to taste with salt, and toss well. Adjust seasonings. Serve at room temperature.