Eddie was making us a nice Chinese dinner when I suddenly felt like having some tomato salad. So I was left with trying to figure out how to make a tomato salad that would not stick out like a sore thumb in the middle of stir fried vegetables and kung po prawns (recipes will follow), so I came up with this thing and it was quite a success. In fact we both liked it so much that for I took down the recipe. You see, I very often just make stuff on the spur of the moment and am never able to replicate again, as I forget what I did. Not this time. A word of warning: Don’t use this dressing on salad leaves, it won’t be nice. You could try and add a teaspoon or two to a normal vinaigrette. That will work.
Asian Style Tomato Salad
enough for 2-3 people as a side
- 1 large tomato
- a pinch of sugar
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp dark, sweet soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp homemade chilli oil or ready-made chilli oil
- 1 tsp garlic oil (optional)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp Chinese black vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- ½ shallot, finely diced
- 1 spring onion, green part only
- 1 small handful cilantro leaves.
Wash and dry the tomato well. Cut it into 12 wedges by cutting it into four and then cutting each quarter into three. Salt the tomatoes with a half a spoonful of sea salt and a sprinkle of sugar. The amount of sugar you will need depends on the quality of your tomato. If you manage to buy a ripe, sweet tomato, you won’t need to sugar them at all, but if you are saddled with a red, but underripe tomato, you’ll need a good pinch to bring out the life in it. Leave your tomatoes to marinate for at least half an hour.
Mix the soy sauces, homemade chilli oil, garlic oil (if you’re using it), black vinegar and sugar and stir to mix. It will take a while before the sugar dissolves, so keep on stirring. Add the finely minced garlic and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Do not add the shallot at this stage.
Roughly chop the spring onion and cilantro. Drain the water off the tomatoes, add the shallots and toss the salad in the dressing. Don’t drown your tomatoes, just use as much dressing as you need. Plate the tomato salad and garnish with the greens.
I added this dish to my “Asian Home Cooking” category, though shamefacedly. I’m sure someone, somewhere in the vast country that is China someone is making a salad like this. At least I hope so.