This salad is so zingy, crunchy and light. I’m addicted. I simply cannot get bored of the flavour combinations here; I want to eat and eat, and for my bowl never to empty. Mind you, if there were ever a food your body would thank you for over-indulging in, this might just be it.
For something rather plain in colour, there’s so much going on... There’s the refreshing coolness of the cucumber, the sweet-sour tang of Granny Smith, the ever so slight bitterness of raw cabbage, saltiness from the soy, nuttiness from toasted sesame, warmth from ginger, and heat from chili. It’s complex and playful on the palate, dancing between sweet and sour, and a real work out for the jaw. I do like a salad that bites back!
This recipe serves four to six people as a side salad.
½ white cabbage
1 or 2 Granny Smith apples, depending on size
a pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
a generous thumb sized chunk of ginger
½ clove of garlic
1 green chili (or more if you like heat!)
1 ½ limes, juice and zest
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons of tasteless oil (rapeseed)
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
1 teaspoon of honey
Start by making the dressing. It’s good to give the flavours a chance to mingle before serving.
If you have a blender perhaps blitz the ingredients together, perhaps coarsely chopping the garlic, ginger and chili first. Alternatively, finely finely chop the ginger, garlic, chili, and lime zest too, add the lime juice, and mix this with the oils, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and the other finely diced ingredients. I quite enjoy the labour of love of making this dressing by hand, and the little pops of individual flavours.
Have a quick taste to see if you would prefer more heat or sweetness. Perhaps chop some extra chili to garnish with at the end.
Now, finely shred the cabbage; quarter and core the apple, then finely slice; and, using a vegetable peeler, make cucumber ribbons, avoiding its watery core.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over a medium heat. These should take about three minutes, and remember to give them a shake half way through toasting.
Now, simply dress the salad and mix well. Be sure to prise apart the cabbage, which can be very compact, so that the salad looks light and generous. Garnish with some toasted sesame seeds, or chopped chili. Extra lime wedges always look pretty! Definitely to be enjoyed in the sunshine, maybe with some barbequed prawns… and a glass of crisp white wine. Clearly I’m dreaming of Summer as I write this!