Chinese Cabbage and Lotus Salad Recipe
When writing my second cookbook, Banh Mi, which by the way is already available for preview and pre-order, I tried to share authentic and traditional recipes for Vietnamese sandwiches, condiments and sides. If you've ever tasted a bánh mì, you probably are familiar with the standard condiment of pickled carrots and daikon. It takes the place of cornichon-based pickles (tiny French gherkin pickles) found in Western sandwiches.
You can of course vary the ingredients to your liking, and in this recipe I prepared a modified version of the bánh mì condiment with shredded Chinese cabbage, pickled lotus and freshly-picked satsuma mandarins that baby Aria helped me gather from our garden --follow me on Twitter and Facebook to see more pictures-- (sadly it was our very last batch). With a few peanuts and a nice dressing, it makes a great salad. Though it isn't strictly speaking a traditional pickle, you could also use it in your own bánh mì sandwich. The flavors are mellow enough to let the meat or tofu of your choice shine.
Yields: 6 servings1 head Chinese cabbage
½ (15-ounce) jar pickled lotus roots, drained, rinsed and cut into 2"-pieces diagonnally
2 satsuma mandarins
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cloves pickled garlic (or fresh garlic), crushed and finely minced
juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
4 tablespoons Vietnamese mint, coarsely chopped
5 tablespoons peanut oil
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons honey roasted peanuts, coarsely crushed
How to segment the mandarins: Using a sharp knife, peel the mandrins (remove the white membrane) and trim both ends. With the same knife, remove the membrane wall on one side around a segment. Separate the segment along the next membrane. Free the segment and gently pull it away from the fruit, removing all the membrane. Repeat and remove the rest of the segments. Gather the segments in a bowl. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Gather the remaining mandarin with the membranes and squeeze as much as juice as possible from the membranes into another bowl.
Be sure to remove the pulp from the mandarin juice, using a strainer. Place the mandarin juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer for about 5-6 minutes. The liquid should reduce to about 1-2 tablespoons of concentrated mandarin juice. Remove from the heat.
Gỏi sauce (salad dressing): In a bowl, combine the juice of 1 lime and 1 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle with salt. Mix well.
Making Asian peanut dressing:
In a bowl, combine the 1 tablespoon sugar, peanut butter, juice of 1 lime, the concentrated mandarin juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, black pepper, minced garlic, grated ginger and peanut oil. Whisk well.
Quarter the cabbage through the root, then shred it thinly.
Place the cabbage in a large bowl. Add the gỏi dressing. Toss thoroughly. Set aside for about 10 minutes. Drain and discard about half of the liquid (salt draws out moisture from the cabbage); otherwise the salad will be too watery. Add the lotus root.
When you're ready to serve, add the chopped mint and cilantro. Toss well. Drizzle with the peanut dressing. Toss well. Sprinkle with the mandarin segments and the honey roasted peanuts. Serve immediately.
Vietnamese mint has a very different flavor from regular mint. It also has darker vein markings on the leaves. It's commonly used in Asian salads, Vietnamese chicken salad and also in spring rolls (gỏi cuốn in Vietnamese).
To prevent the mint from darkening, chop it at the very last minute, toss it into the salad and serve immediately.
You can use fresh garlic instead of the pickled garlic but the garlic flavor is going to be a lot stronger. You can find pickled garlic in any Asian store.
You can find pickled lotus in most Asian specialty stores.
I used honey roasted peanuts from Trader Joe's.Published By: on April 22, 2013.