Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Red Cabbage and Jicama Imperial Salad

Yank Sing is an upscale dim sum restaurant in San Francisco that attracts praise and criticism for its dim sum offerings.  While it offers a lot of traditional dim sum dishes, it also serves a "creative collection" of modern dim sum.  Many customers take umbrage at Yank Sing's deviation from classical dim sum treats,  as well as its prices.  It is not your typical tasty but inexpensive dim sum restaurant.  Diners looking for the traditional dim sum experience of a bustling restaurant with tables filled with multi-generational families choosing from carts loaded with wu gok, siu mai, har gow, tripe and chicken feet at a very reasonable price should go elsewhere rather than Yank Sing.  If you want some good dim sum that pushes the envelope of what your expectations are for dim sum, and you can afford to pay a higher price, you should give Yank Sing a try. 

One of the dishes that typifies the reactions Yank Sing provokes is its Imperial Walnut Salad.  While steamed greens are often served in dim sum restaurants, salads are not.  That a plate also goes for more than $7 raises the ire of many diners.  On the other hand, it is a delightfully refreshing salad that is a nice counterpart to the meat and seafood dumplings.

The interesting thing about this salad is that it is essentially Vietnamese.  The key element to the salad is the inclusion of rau ram, or daun laksa.  This herb is sometimes called Vietnamese coriander or Vietnamese mint.  Although it proliferates in the garden like mint, it does suffer from cold weather.  A recent cold spell in our area has reduced the herb growing in our garden.  Rau ram has a bright, citrus tinged profile.  It is frequently used in Vietnamese salads and in the herb platters to accompany other dishes.  It enlivens the simple mixture of jicama and red cabbage in this salad.  I honestly haven't had the salad at Yank Sing for quite some time, so I forget what exactly their dressing tastes like.  I used a simple Vietnamese mixture of lime, fish sauce, sugar, and a little sesame oil.  This made good use of the Red Boat fish sauce I received from my last Delicious Vietnam entry.

Red Cabbage and Jicama Imperial Salad

4 cups finely shredded red cabbage
1 medium jicama, peeled and cut in fine matchsticks
1/3 cup julienned rau ram
1 cup "honeyed" walnuts

3 TBS lime juice
2 TBS fish sauce
2 1/2 TBS sugar
2 TBS water
2 TBS vegetable oil
2 tsp sesame oil

In a large bowl mix together the cabbage, jicama, rau ram and walnuts.  Mix the ingredients for the dressing together in a jar and shake well, making sure to dissolve the sugar.  Pour the dressing (you may not need all of it) over the salad and toss well.  Serve.

Do not dress the salad until you are ready to serve it.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post! We had a great lunch at Yank Sing earlier this month and this salad was my favorite! Every table was full, they were doing a brisk business. I recognize rau ram as an herb that is provided as a condiment at our local pho restaurant here in Columbus, GA. My salad was served topped with lemon zest, otherwise it looked just like yours.


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