Pickles and Tea Adventures in Asian American Cooking

Kale and Roasted Ginger Salad

If you adore fresh ginger as much as I do, then I hope you’ll be game to try this sprightly salad.

To be honest, it’s not for everyone, but it’s worth a try. I first learned about this kale and roasted ginger recipe from a lady I met at one of the book fairs I attended last year. Her words were something like: “I made this roasted ginger salad from some online website or another… It was so goooood ….” How could I not be intrigued? 

Broiling gives fresh ginger an extra depth of flavor resulting in a dressing that’s an umami explosion in your mouth … if you can take the heat. 

I Googled some and when I saw the recipe online at BonAppetit.com, I was a little stunned at the amount of ginger used. You really do have to absolutely adore ginger to like this dish. But even if not, you can tone down the spicy, gingery-ness of the dressing by cutting down on the amount of ginger you use.

That being said, this salad is wonderful for the winter months for several reasons. Firstly, kale is abundant during the cooler months. And secondly, ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties—useful during cold and flu season!

In addition to its widespread popularity in the kitchen, ginger is also a traditional and alternative medicine stalwart in many cultures. Generations have relied on ginger to reduce nausea, help with digestion, and fight the common cold.

Ginger’s distinctive fragrance and flavor comes from its natural oils.  Most importantly, gingerol. the main bioactive compound, is responsible for much of its medicinal properties.

Native to China, ginger is a flowering plant that belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. It’s closely related to turmeric, cardamon and galangal. The rhizome (the underground stem) is the part we use as a culinary spice.

Have I convinced you yet?

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Kale and Roasted Ginger Salad

roasted ginger and kale saladI adapted this recipe from BonAppetit.com, leaving out the cucumbers and using shallots instead. I’d also experiment with radishes, turnips, and other winter veggies. If you love ginger but can’t take the heat, just use less of the rhizome. 

Time: 1 hour (20 minutes active)
Makes: 6 to 8 side servings  

Palm-sized fresh young ginger (about 5 to 6 ounces)
1 teaspoon sambal oelek or other chili paste
1 garlic clove
1-1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 small bunch lacinato kale (12 ounces), ribs removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
1 medium carrot, shredded
2 small shallots, sliced
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves picked
¼ cup fried shallots (store-bought or homemade)

Directions:

To make the dressing, heat your broiler on high. Broil the ginger in its skin, turning once, for 40 to 50 minutes, until browned and dotted with black scorch marks, and a paring knife passes easily through the center. Cool, then slice, leaving the skin on.

Blitz the ginger, chili, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, oil, and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor until a smooth paste forms. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed to loosen.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Makes 1 cup.

Toss the shallots with the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl to combine.

To assemble the salad, toss the kale, carrot, and 1/2 cup dressing in a large bowl. Massage until the kale wilts a little.

Add pickled shallots to the kale salad and toss, adding more dressing if desired. Top with cilantro and fried shallots and serve.

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Kale and Roasted Ginger Salad
Serves 6
I adapted this recipe from BonAppetit.com, leaving out the cucumbers and using shallots instead. I'd also experiment with radishes, turnips, and other winter veggies. If you love ginger but can't take the heat, just use less of the rhizome. 
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
For the dressing
  1. Palm-sized fresh young ginger (about 5 to 6 ounces)
  2. 1 teaspoon sambal oelek or other chili paste
  3. 1 garlic clove
  4. 1-1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  5. 1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  6. 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the salad
  1. 1 small bunch kale (12 ounces), ribs removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
  2. 1 medium carrot, shredded
  3. 2 small shallots, sliced
  4. 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  5. ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. 1 small bunch cilantro
  8. ¼ cup fried shallots
Instructions
  1. To make the dressing, heat your broiler on high. Broil the ginger in its skin, turning once, for 40 to 50 minutes, until browned and dotted with black scorch marks, and a paring knife passes easily through the center. Cool, then slice, leaving the skin on.
  2. Blitz the ginger, chili, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, oil, and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor until a smooth paste forms. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed to loosen.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Makes 1 cup.
  3. Toss the shallots with the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl to combine.
  4. To assemble the salad, toss the kale, carrot, and 1/2 cup dressing in a large bowl. Massage until the kale wilts a little.
  5. Add pickled shallots to the kale salad and toss, adding more dressing if desired. Top with cilantro and fried shallots and serve.
Notes
  1. Leftover dressing can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days. Keep in mind that it will increase in gingery-ness!
Adapted from BonAppetit.com
Adapted from BonAppetit.com
Pickles and Tea http://smithsonianapa.org/

Discussion

  • Filed Under

    January 26, 2018
    Cooking method
    Easy
    Cooking method    Broiling    
    Course-type    Appetizers/Sides    Salad    
    • Posted By

      Born in Indonesia and raised in Singapore, Pat Tanumihardja writes about food, travel, and lifestyle through a multicultural lens. Pat especially enjoys covering topics that converge on food, history and culture and has been published in numerous international, national and regional publications. Her cookbook, The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook—Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens is a treasury of family recipes and stories spanning over a dozen Asian cultures.

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