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Chinese / Asian salad recipe? Lunar New Year!

  • r

Next weekend, my boyfriend and I are hosting an early Lunar New Year dinner for friends. We're serving high quality Chinese take out, and I'd like to make a salad for some cool, lighter freshness. I can't find a recipe and would love any help! Very open from greens to shredded cabbage, to noodles. I live in San Francisco so access to ingredients is not an issue. Even ideas, or salad dressing recipes to help me get this decided would be great!

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  1. this is my favourite salad. The spicing in the dressing is more thai than chinese but is definately asian. I change the name depending on the season and bring it to everything so sometimes it's called Asian slaw, or Thanksgiving Salad, or Easter Surprise or Christmas Blessing or . . . you get the idea

    1 medium head napa cabbage (Chinese cabbage)
    4 scallions (green onions)
    1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
    1/2 cup basil leaves, torn into quarters - I prefer to use Thai basil
    1/2 cup mint leaves, torn

    1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    1 teaspoon sesame oil
    1 tablespoon lime juice (~ 1/2 lime)
    1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
    1 pinch cayenne
    Coarse salt and cracked black pepper
    2 tablespoons black or white sesame seeds
    PREPARATION:
    Toast sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over low heat until fragrant. Set aside to cool.

    Cut the cabbage head in quarters lengthwise then slice each quarter crosswise into ¼ inch wide strips. Slice scallion thinly & toss with cabbage.

    To make dressing whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice, ginger and cayenne to make dressing. Pour over vegetables along with toasted sesame seeds and toss.

    2 Replies
    1. re: orangewasabi

      This salad is wonderful.... I made it last night. Unplanned, my market was out of napa cabbage so I had to use savoy cabbage. Everyone liked the combo of the flavors and textures. The toasted sesame is a very nice. I can understand how this is your go-to- salad. I've definitely added it to mine, and still look forward to trying it with the napa cabbage.
      Thanks again!

      1. re: rln

        excellent, glad it worked out for you. I've gotten many friends addicted to it.
        Napa Cabbage has a bit more bite than Savoy, so you might find it a bit more assertive in flavour.

    2. My mom makes a pickled turnip salad that's really good and refreshing. Plus, you make it in advance so it's easy.

      http://fooddownunder.com/cgi-bin/reci...

      1. The customary Chinese New Year salad in Singapore/Malaysia is called Yu Sang. It is tossed by everyone around the table using chopsticks - the higher you toss it, the more prosperity and good fortune for the new year.

        http://heartsoul.multiply.com/recipes...

        1. This recipe comes from a Chinese family friend, but I don't think it's a New Year dish.

          Seaweed salad

          2-3 c. reconstituted hijiki seaweed (squeezed dry)
          1-2 c. shredded or julienned daikon
          1 c. chopped scallions
          1 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley

          Dressing:

          2 tbsp. soy sauce
          2 tbsp. lemon juice
          2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil (I've used as little as 1 tsp.)
          1-2 tsp. grated ginger

          Mix ingredients in a bowl. Pour dressing over top and mix thoroughly. Chill 30 mins, if possible. Serves 8-10. Keeps for a few days.

          1. Here's a fine cold appetizer by itself, or a "park a couple slices around the edge of the bowl" salad addition:

            It started as "cucumber kimchi", but my family is kimchi-o-phobic, so here's something they like and it's fairly impressive to present (serves 4):

            1 large cucumber - skin on, in slices 1/2" to 3/4".

            Toss slices with salt while you gather the remaining ingredients.

            Rinse and drain well, and toss with:

            1/4 cup sugar
            1 Tb garlic paste or jar garlic, or 1 tsp garlic powder (use powder only in a pinch)
            2 Tb Soy Sauce
            a pinch of red pepper flakes (more if you like, or none if you insist).

            Toss well and set aside for at least 4-5 hours, or cover and set aside 1 day max.

            Drain and serve room-temperature or chilled - the shape lends them to being nicely stacked on a small plate.

            Very like homemade bread-and-butter pickles.

            1. Jellyfish with shredded chicken

              Vietnamese shredded cabbage and chicken salad (Ga xe phay)http://www.recipehound.com/Recipes/12...

              Vietnamese lotus stem and shredded carrots with shrimp
              http://www.recipehound.com/Recipes/Re...

              1. RLN, I don't have a recipe to contribute, but wanted to add some thoughts for consideration:

                1) Salad is not a traditional Chinese New Year dish (except I guess maybe in Singapore as noted above) but if you want to serve a salad, I think an Asian Chicken Salad would be nice.

                2) The Chinese are very into symbolism, especially into the new year. Everything you do and EAT represent something about the upcoming new year. That said, I would recommend that you stay away from any salad ingredients that might bring bad luck or represent something bad. For example, I would not put any pickled ingredients in your salad unless you want a "sour" year. For good luck, oranges are a strong positive symbol of the new year. So maybe a salad with mandarin oranges?

                3) Again, in the vein of symbolism, whatever you make, MAKE IT BIG. A big large salad that you bring out for everyone to eat will be a sign of your prosperity, for you and your friends.

                Gung hai fat choy!

                1 Reply
                1. re: singleguychef

                  Although salad is not a traditional course in any chinese dinner, lettuce would be a very good symbol for chinese new year! Lettuce in cantonese is "sang choy" which means to prosper!

                2. THANK YOU for these notes! I love learning more how to do this and I have the perfect humungous salad bowl for this! I'm excited.

                  Because my friends range in chow-ness, I'm going to make orangewasabi's recipe. Sounds like the pleaser for the range, and I'll have to try the others when it's just family or me!