Saturday, February 14, 2009

Chinese cabbage salad

Chinese cabbage salad with green onions, jalapeno, and peanuts
I spent a lot of time with my dad's parents when I was growing up and, as a result, ate many meals with them. For some reason there are several dishes that Mammom used to make that really stand out in my mind, while I can't remember others to save my life. The ones that I remember are luffa (ok, that was only one time, but it was definitely memorable), spaghetti pie, eggplant casserole, and fumi salad. Perhaps I remember them well because they were some of my favorites (except for the luffa experiment). Fumi salad is one of those great things that you can make in massive quantities (I remember her huge tupperware container that seemed to hold endless amounts of it), and it only gets better as time goes along. I'm sure there's a limit to that, but it was always gone before we got anywhere near testing the limit.

A few years ago, I tried to recreate fumi salad. The basic idea is to combine lots of shredded cabbage, green onions, crushed up ramen noodles, almonds, and chicken (if you want), and a dressing based on vinegar, oil, and sugar. I made it several times, and it was always delicious. It's a great thing to take to events, especially if you need to prepare something in advance. This week I had a head of cabbage, but no real plans for it, so I decided to make a fumi-like salad with a few tweaks.

Chinese cabbage salad

3/4 head shredded cabbage (go ahead and use the whole thing if you want - it wouldn't all fit in my bowl so I boiled the rest)
3 green onions, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce (use wheat-free tamari for gluten-free)
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp honey (or agave nectar)

Combine cabbage through sunflower seeds in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Taste the dressing and add more of something if necessary. Add dressing to cabbage mixture and stir well. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Serves 4 (unless you sit down with the bowl and eat half of it, like I might have done...).

This was pretty good the day after I made it, but really good yesterday and today. I like the addition of the jalapeno - it adds a subtle kick to it without being overpowering. The peanuts and sunflower seeds are also good and crunchy - I don't miss the ramen noodles at all. I eat a lot of boiled or roasted cabbage, but this is another great way to eat it and keeps things interesting.

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