The fierce-sounding "Tiger Salad" from North-eastern China is just a playful name for this bold, spicy and refreshing dish that'll startle a languid palette with its loud flavours. The two standout ingredients are chili peppers and cilantro, but if you find its bite intimidating you can use only enough red chilis to make it purr like a kitten.
Each Sunday I post a classic Chinese salad recipe on Food52, which I tweak and standardize so it's all-natural (no MSG!), easy to make and enjoyable for the traditional and noob palate alike. Each recipe can be enjoyed as a "Western-style" salad, by consulting my leafy greens pairing suggestions; or of course eaten straight-up the Chinese way as a cold starter or side dish.
small carrot, peeled and finely julienned in ~5cm long strips
cucumbers, finely julienned in ~5cm long strips
a leek, finely julienned in ~5cm long strips
sprigs of cilantro, cut to ~5cm long strips
pointed green pepper or half a green bell pepper, finely julienned in ~5cm long strips
firm smoked tofu, finely julienned in ~5cm long strips
Slim slices of ginger totaling 5g, finely julienned in ~5cm long strips
century eggs, peeled and sliced into 8 wedges (optional)
A small handful of toasted red-skinned peanuts (optional)
fresh bird's eye chillies, finely sliced
cloves of garlic, minced
light soy sauce
Chinese sesame oil
a pinch more salt, to taste
In This Recipe
Easy, tiger: Combine all your julienned vegetables, herbs and tofu in your serving bowl; you might like to separate them, neatly lined up on a long rectangular plate like rainbow stripes on a tiger's back. This can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 6 hours before serving. Add the extra century egg or peanuts if you wish. Then mix the dressing ingredients together in a bowl. Dress the salad right before serving, toss it up with chopsticks (little known as the world's most perfect salad-eating utensils), and eat immediately and bravely.