Mission Chinese Food’s Cabbage Salad

January 22, 2015
Author Notes

At first glance, this salad looks like an odd jumble of ingredients, many of which you might not have in your pantry. Don't let that deter you. Sam Sifton wrote about this salad in the Times, described the combination as "a riot of umami," and, relaying Danny Bowien's message, encouraged readers not to worry about finding each and every ingredient -- any number of vinegars could work in place of the ume and rice vinegars, and using one of the three seaweeds is just fine, etc. I was able to find everything I needed with the exception of the shio kombu, which I left out, at my local co-op.

This salad is at once hearty and fresh, familiar and unusual, and surprisingly addictive. If you don't have red cabbage, green, of course, could work, and again, if you don't have some of the ingredients, just leave them out.

Source: The New York Times. —Alexandra Stafford

  • Serves 4 to 6
  • 1/2 head red cabbage
  • 1 medium beet (yellow or candy-striped is nice)
  • Juice of 1 lemon, divided
  • 1 tablespoon shio kombu or salted kombu, optional
  • 1 teaspoon teaspoon dried hijiki seaweed
  • 1 teaspoon ume vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sweet white miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon shiro shoyu or light soy sauce
  • 8 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola
  • 1/2 cup kasha
  • 2 tablespoons aonori seaweed, green seaweed, or finely shredded nori
  • 2 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds
In This Recipe
  1. Cut cabbage in half, and remove core. Note: Original recipe calls for cutting the cabbage into 1-inch wedges and then into 1-inch pieces, but I prefer slicing the cabbage into thin strips -- I just find it easier to eat this way. Toss the cabbage pieces lightly in a bowl, and set aside.
  2. Under running cold water, scrub beet with a vegetable brush or paper towel. Trim the beet top and beet root to provide a flat base for slicing on a mandoline. Set thickness to 1/8 inch, and slice beets into flat rounds. Note: I like to stack the slices and julienne them -- again, I just find the vegetables easier to eat when they are in strips -- but cut them as you wish. Season beets with half the lemon juice, and add them to the bowl with cabbage. Set aside.
  3. Make sesame-anchovy dressing. In a small bowl, cover hijiki with warm tap water. Allow to bloom for 15 minutes, then drain well and season with ume vinegar or red wine vinegar. Add miso, tahini, rice vinegar, shiro shoyu, the remaining lemon juice, and the anchovies, and whisk to combine. Dressing should have a thick, almost mayonnaise-like consistency.
  4. Make the kasha furikake: Pour neutral oil into a sauté pan, and place over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Pour kasha into the hot pan, and stir it quickly with a spoon to coat with oil. Allow kasha to fry in the oil, stirring constantly, until it has darkened by two shades of brown. Watch closely! The darkening happens quickly, and it's best to err on the side of caution, otherwise the kasha will taste bitter. Drain kasha through a fine strainer, and transfer to a plate covered by paper towel. While it is hot, season with the seaweed, which should adhere to the kasha. When it has cooled, mix kasha in a small bowl with the toasted sesame seeds and, if using, the shio kombu. Salt to taste.
  5. Make the salad. Add 3 tablespoons of the sesame-anchovy dressing to the bowl with the cabbage and the beets, and mix well to combine. Taste. Add more dressing or a pinch of salt if necessary. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl, and sprinkle 4 tablespoons or so of the kasha furikake over the top. (Leftover kasha furikake may be passed at the table, or saved to eat over white rice.)

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I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.