Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Phoenix tail salad & sesame soy dressing

To celebrate Chinese New Year, we prepare a feast that always begins with a lovely "phoenix tail salad". The phoenix is a mythological creature and you can find more details of it here. In China, the closest thing to the phoenix is the equally mythological and fearsome peacock-tailed bird Fenghuang.
I think this salad really refers to Fenghuang, as the point of it is to display the ingredients like a peacock's tail. The salad provides a lovely centre piec.

These are pictures from a few different years, so the ingredients and placement of veggies may differ slightly, but the overall effect is the same. Start with a bed of greens (spinach, rocket, coriander, parsley or a mixture) and layer slices of hardboiled egg above the centre of your plate. Shredded green onion, strips of red pepper and/or thin sticks of celery can be tucked behind egg, peeking out of the "tail". Slices of tomato circle the bottom area of the plate, and add sticks of carrot as a final touch. One year I used cherry tomatoes and also added thinly sliced radishes. Another year I included snow peas/mangetout in the mix. The exact placement of ingredients and the ingredients themselves can be left to your own imagination and preference.

The sesame soy salad dressing should be kept separate with a small serving spoon, to individually ladle onto the salad once you have chosen your ingredients for your own plate. The tasty dressing is simple to make: combine 3 tblsp soy sauce, 2 tblsp rice or white wine vinegar, and 2 tsp sesame oil.
This is a delicious and healthy start to any meal, but won't be a centrepiece for long!

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