Wednesday, May 30

Chinese Celery Salad

The Chinese culture is filled with full gems of culinary delight. I was only there a brief time by comparison and didn't get to experience even a quarter of these gems. But the ones I did I studied hard, ate often, asked questions, and tried to figure out the recipe the best I could. It has taken 10-15 years to duplicate some of these recipes but, it has been worth it.

One of my favorite hidden gems is a spicy celery salad, often served before the meal as a little snack with tea. A custom that can be seen in many places , olives and hummus in the Mediterranean , bread and olive oil in Italy, or cru de te in France. In the summer I enjoy serving cold, crisp pre-meal snacks to my guests and celery salad is perfect for this. it provides the best combination of cold and spice, to get people in the mood to eat!

Serves 3-4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Full time: 2 1/2 hours to Overnight

You will need:

1 dozen celery stalks, chilled in a refrigerator until preparing
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili paste
1/2 tsp minced garlic

Let us begin:

In a small bowl mix salt and sugar, set aside. Honestly I don't know why, but every time I saw this made, it was done and it does make a taste difference.
In a medium bowl, whisk together sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, chili paste, and garilc. Set asaide for a moment.
To prepare the celery, wash it extremely well in cold water.

Now, you are going to want to dice it into a bite size piece. However, don't dice it too small. You want chunks roughly 1/2"-3/4" big. Think about something that can easily be picked up with a chopstick and be bite size at the same time.
If, I timed this correctly, roughly 10 minutes should have past from the time you mixed the sugar and salt till now. If I didn't then you'll need to wait it out until ten minutes have past.

Once the time has past, whisk the sugar/salt mixture into the bowl with sesame oil mixture.
Now belnd in the celery pieces. Stir them around to fully coat each surface.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap (cling film) and put in refridgerator for a minimum of 2 hours, however overnight is better.

Serve cold and enjoy!