Why It Works
- Blanching hearty greens then squeezing them brings out their pure sweetness, removes flavorless water, and locks in lovely darkish inexperienced chlorophyll.
- Peanuts present a nutty counterbalance to spinach in methods harking back to Korean sigeumchi namul with sesame oil and Japanese goma-ae with sesame sauce.
This mixture of spinach and peanuts is mostly present in Dongbei, Northeastern China, the place each elements develop plentifully in the summertime.
Importantly, this recipe demonstrates how Chinese language salads virtually at all times characteristic cooked and never uncooked greens (one of many massive exceptions to this, in fact, can also be one of the well-known: smashed cucumber salad). The method is sort of just like Korean sigeumchi namul and Japanese goma-ae, during which darkish leafy greens are additionally blanched after which squeezed. The thought is straightforward: water doesn’t style like a lot, so blanching and squeezing removes that water, abandoning extra taste, whereas additionally locking within the place the vegetable’s vibrant taste and colour.
As for the French dressing, this recipe takes benefit of my “all-purpose” Chinese vinaigrette, altering that base recipe solely with some further garlic for a bit extra punch. This French dressing recipe is one I created after surveying scores of recipes for Chinese language chilly dishes generally known as liangcai (涼菜). Whereas variations are limitless, I discovered sufficient frequent themes among the many recipes to provide you with a fundamental all-purpose model constructed on a by-volume ratio of three elements savory ingredient (like soy sauce) to a few elements fragrant oil to 1 half acidic ingredient (like vinegar) to 1 half sugar.
It is a versatile dressing that may grace numerous dishes, cold and hot, and it may be altered as desired to create completely different taste mixtures, relying on the dish. Very similar to a Western French dressing’s fundamental 3:1 of oil to vinegar rule-of-thumb, this 3:3:1:1 Chinese language dressing ratio is a useful means to supply some construction and pointers, making it simpler to be inventive whereas producing a taste profile that’s true to the delicacies.
This dish is greatest served as an appetizer to open up the palate for the remainder of the meal or subsequent to heavier braises and stir-fries, as can be conventional in Northern China.