For the dressing:
1/4 cup peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter) 1 tablespoon sriracha or sambal oelek 2 limes, juiced (about 1/4 cup of juice) 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional) 1 teaspoon soy sauce (optional) Salt, to taste Water, as needed
For the salad:
2 cups dried chickpeas (or two cans, drained and rinsed) 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 small red cabbage, shredded 2 large carrots, shredded or grated 1/3 bunch scallions, chopped cilantro, to taste (optional) peanuts, chopped (optional)
Cook the chickpeas (skip this step if using canned chickpeas): Rinse the dried chickpeas and let them sit submerged in cold water for a few minutes. Pick out any chickpeas or random bits that rise to the top and discard. Drain the rinsed chickpeas and place into a pot along with the salt and cover with at least 4 inches of water above the line of chickpeas. Bring to a boil on high heat, then turn the heat to low and maintain a gentle simmer. Check on the beans every half hour or so, making sure to keep them covered with water if it boils away. Cook for 1 1/2 to 3 hours, until the chickpeas are soft and cooked through. To lessen the simmering time, you can soak the chickpeas in water overnight, which can cut down on cooking time by an hour or more. Once chickpeas are cooked, store them in their cooking liquid, but drain them before adding to salad.
In a large bowl whisk together the peanut butter, sriracha or sambal oelek, lime juice, fish sauce (if using), and a sprinkling of salt. If you have it around and think the dressing could use a more salty hit, add a teaspoon or so of soy sauce and taste. At this point, the dressing will still be fairly thick and sticky, so drizzle a bit of water in and whisk. Keep adding water and whisking until you have a pourable dressing. Taste and add more salt, lime juice, or peanut butter to your liking.
In the bowl with the dressing, add the chickpeas, shredded cabbage, and carrots and toss it all together with tongs until everything is coated.
Pile it into bowls and top with scallions, chopped cilantro, and peanuts if desired.