There is an absolute freshness and vibrancy to this salad that makes it delicious by itself, or with cooked prawns, cooked chicken or steamed fish fillets.
- 1 small cucumber
- 3 small carrots, peeled
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 sticks celery, sliced on the diagonal
- ½ cup (125 ml) malt vinegar
- 2 tbsp white sugar, extra
- 2½ cups finely shredded Savoy cabbage
- ? cup julienned green onion (green shallot)
- 1¼ cups fresh bean sprouts
- ½ cup mint leaves
- 2 tbsps light soy sauce
- 2 tbsps lemon juice
- Pinch Sichuan pepper and salt (see Kylie’s tips, opposite, for recipe)
- 1 tsp each of white and black sesame seeds, toasted
Using a vegetable peeler, finely slice the cucumber and carrots lengthways into ribbons. Set cucumber aside and cut carrot into fine julienne (long, thin strips).
Combine carrot with the sugar and salt in a medium bowl, mix well and leave to stand for 15 mins.
Add celery to a small saucepan of boiling salted water and blanch for 30 secs. Drain, refresh under cold water and drain again. Set aside.
Combine vinegar and extra sugar in a small heavy-based saucepan and stir over heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer, uncovered, for about 1 min or until slightly reduced. Set aside to cool before stirring through pickled carrot.
In a bowl, combine pickled carrot mixture, celery, cabbage, onion, bean sprouts and most of the mint. Pour over combined soy sauce and lemon juice, and mix well. Season to taste with Sichuan pepper and salt.
Arrange the salad in a bowl, top with the reserved cucumber, remaining mint and sprinkle with seeds. Serve immediately.
KYLIE’S TIPS: Sichuan pepper is tangy but not hot, with a tingling numbness in the mouth. It is available from Asian food stores, as are black sesame seeds.
*To make Sichuan pepper and salt, dry-roast 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns and ¼ cup sea salt in heavy-based pan. When the peppercorns begin to “pop” and become aromatic, take pan off the heat. Allow to cool, then grind to a powder in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Store in an airtight jar. It is delicious sprinkled over fried or grilled chicken, noodles and sweet and sour pork.
*“Julienne” is the term used to cut into long, thin strips.
Photo: John Paul Urizar/Baur