Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Grated Asian-style Salad

This is a quick, fresh salad that works at any time of year, but is particularly useful in the slow winter and early spring months before the new wave of shoots and leaves are available. The fresh herbs are really important; don't be tempted to substitute dried herbs! Our local Asian store is brilliant for last-minute purchases.

I like to use kohlrabi but I've only found it in my local market, so it might be hard to find in supermarkets. If you have trouble locating one, you could use finely shredded white cabbage or grated cucumber instead. I've scaled this to use one medium-sized kohlrabi, since they don't keep well so I tend to grate one all at once. This should serve two people generously, if you serve with some braised mushrooms or even just some dry-roasted peanuts. Plain white rice is also great as you can mop up some of the nice salad dressing.


  • 1 medium kohlrabi, peeled
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed or peeled
  • 1 small bunch of radishes, with leaves if possible
  • 1 small bunch of fresh mint
  • 1 small bunch of fresh coriander
  • half of a red chilli (or more if you like it hot!)
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin rapeseed or refined sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame soil
  • juice of 1-2 limes
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Using a tower grater, grate the kohlrabi and carrots, holding them at an angle so that long strips are produced. Rinse the herbs if they are gritty, remove the leaves from the mint, and roughly chop. Rinse the radishes and their leaves, which tend to be very gritty. Remove the radish roots and the connection between the root and the stems. Slice the radishes into thin circles and roughly chop the leaves.

To make the dressing, finely chop the chilli, and shake with the rest of the ingredients in a jar. Taste and adjust the lime juice if needed; it should be a pleasantly sharp dressing, with a smoky umami from the fish sauce. Toss the salad ingredients thoroughly together. If you wish to keep some aside for later, do so now: it will keep undressed in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or two. When ready to serve, dress and toss thoroughly.

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