Here is a super easy and healthy salad I came up with that is inspired by one of my favorite Shanghainese cold dishes. At the beggining of every Shanghainese meal there must always be a wide selection of cold dishes. It varies from marinated jellyfish, to cold smoked trout, lotus stuffed in sticky rice with osthmanthus syrup, and many other various dishes. One of my favorite is called “Ma Lan To.” It’s a salad made with finely minced Che Chai and diced Beancurd tossed in sesame oil, salt, sugar, and white pepper. Che Chai is a vegetable that is only found in Shanghai but these days you can find the frozen version in some speciality Chinese Markets in San Francisco. Quite honestly I think I found the better substitute for Che Chai here and it’s a fresh vegetable we have plenty of. The texture and the look of the vegetable is very similar to Kale. So here is my version of “Ma Lan To.”
Sesame Kale Salad w/ Chicken Breast and Plums
-1 cup blanched kale, finely chopped (simply place kale in a pot of boiling water and let it cook for 30 seconds. Remove it with a colander and run cold water over it. Drain all the water and pat dry with paper towel. Finely chop the kale and set aside)
-1/2 cup finely diced chicken breast (you can use grilled chicken breast or poach your own. Let it cool before you dice it into small cubes)
-4 tablespoon sesame oil
-2 or 3 teaspoon salt
-2 teaspoon sugar
-a pinch of white pepper
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-half a plum (thinly sliced and marinated in a little sesame oil, lemon juice and a tiny pinch of salt for a 1-2 minutes)
-After you have your finely chopped kale and finely diced chicken all set aside and cold you can toss all of it into one large bowl
-Add all your ingredients other than the lemon ( lemon was only for the plum)
-Toss your salad and taste. Add more salt if you want it saltier or more sugar if you want it a little sweeter. It should be savory with a small hint of sweetness.
-Pile the salad high onto a plate and garnish with you marinated plums.
This salad can be had on it’s own or with white rice or cold rice noodles. It’s a guilt free salad that packs a lot of lean protein, fiber, and vitamins.