Stem Lettuce Salad凉拌莴笋丝liáng bàn wō sǔn sī

Stem lettuce, also called celery lettuce, asparagus lettuce, is uniquely grown and enjoyed in China. The flavor and taste are reminiscences of both celery and lettuce. The tender pale green leaves (油麦菜) and white stems(莴笋), can be prepared separately and served as cold appetizers, salads or stir-fired dishes. Chinese believe that the stem lettuce is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.

Serves 4-6

 Vinegar dressing

  • 5 sprigs                                spring onions, roughly chopped,香葱切丝
  • 4 tablespoons                     Cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons                    Chinese white rice vinegar 白米醋
  • 2 tablespoons                   Chinkiang vinegar镇江香醋
  • 2 teaspoons                       Sesame oil 香油
  • 1/2 teaspoon                     table salt
  • 1 tablespoon                     light soy sauce 生抽
  • 2 teaspoons                       caster sugar白糖

___________________________________________________________________________

  • 750g           Stem Lettuce莴笋一根 (You likely to get about 500g of the ingredient after peeling and removing the tough parts);  cut into thin strips
  • 1/3 teaspoon      salt
  • ¼ cup              dried wood ears mushroom木耳, rehydrated and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 Red Chili Pepper       Red chili pepper or red bell pepper, thinly sliced,红辣椒切丝 (optional)

Method

  1. Prepare a clean cutting board. Peel the lettuce stem and get rid of the tough end if any. When peeling, make sure you get rid of the tough white strings attached between the green core and skin.
  2. Move the clean lettuce stem onto the cutting board. Let introduce the ‘Bias Slicing” cutting technique to prepare the lettuce stem strings. Hold a small chef’s knife or cleaver at a 45-degree angle to the vegetable. Make the first cut. Continue making cuts at the same angle as the first cut, spacing the cuts evenly. Try to make your slices as thin as possible but please be careful not cutting yourself. Now use your knife patting down the stack of slices. Then hold your knife at 90-degree and cut the vegetable to thin strips. If this sounds complicated, just use Julienne cutting to prepare the vegetable strips as thin as you can handle.
  3. Place in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, let’s make Salad Dressing. Heat the cooking oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add spring onions and fry over low medium heat for about 5 minutes. Drain by removing the caramelized spring onions. This will yield 3 tablespoons of spring onions oil.spring onions oil.JPG
  5. Place the spring onions oil in a mixing bowl. Add into rest of the vinegar dressing seasonings. Mix well. Set aside.
  6. Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch rehydrated wood ears mushrooms. Drain. Rinse it under running water to cool off.IMG_2324
  7. Now return the lettuce stem strips. Use your hand squeeze the juice out of the vegetable. Move the juice out of the bowl. Add into the wood ears mushroom and sliced red chili pepper.
  8. Pour the vinegar dressing onto the sliced lettuce stem. Mix well.IMG_2329
  9. Chill in the fridge for a half hour then enjoy.

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