Sweetish Asian dressing + crunchy napa cabbage = happy tummy.
A Bit More Detail
Here’s what I used:
- Tahini (for creaminess)
- Canola oil
- Brown sugar
- Soy sauce
- Rice vinegar
- Toasted sesame oil
- Red pepper flakes
- Szechuan peppercorns (pounded into submission)
- Shredded napa cabbage and whatever salad stuff you like (carrots, green onions work nicely)
Below: First thing’s first: I HAD to smell those peppercorns.
I had given up hope of finding some Szechuan peppercorns when I drifted past Penzey’s Spices on North Lamar. They had everything under the sun, so I brought home the peppercorns and gave them a whiff. They’re like nothing I’ve ever smelled before. Aromatic with mint and citrus notes. And spicy! But in a wholly unique way. And I don’t just mean really hot, I mean truly unique. My tongue is feeling hot and a bit raw as I type this from eating one of the peppercorns whole. I’d like to say that I loved it, but let’s say it’s a flavor that might have to grow on me. I really appreciate the novelty and the complexity, however.
Below: Mortar and pestle, one of the most fun kitchen gadgets ever.
Below: Napa cabbage. Before you run off and think that napa cabbage comes from wine country, let me tell you that it actually comes from China. The term “napa” is from the Japanese term for edible vegetable leaves (1). A wonderful cruciferous vegetable, which are called Super Veggies by WebMD for their antioxidative powers and possible anti-cancer benefits. It’s the main ingredient in the main type of kimchi (a spicy fermented dish), so you could say that the Chinese cultivated it, the Japanese named it, and the Koreans use it — it’s a pan Asian foodstuff.
Below: Tahini, which is ground sesame seeds. It has a somewhat bitter taste straight out of the can, but it’s normally mixed with other things. It is used as an ingredient in hummus.
Below: The apple cider vinegar was for drinking, not for delicious-dressing-making.
Below: I want to dive into all of those amazing flavors right there!
Below: Shredded leaves looking so sad and un-spicy.
Below: The final product, complete with carrot shreds and snow peas. And, the delicious dressing. It was a sweet, soy-ish, ginger-ish, creamy delight that motivated me to make this salad three times in two days from scratch each time. So easy!