Asian Food, Food

Asian Celery Salad, A Family Staple

I did not grow up eating lots of Asian food, our family tended towards Italian food and typical “American” classics, although I later learned that there is no such thing as American classics. The food we ate was unique to our family, as is all food, really. We had Chinese takeout, went to hibachi restaurants, occasionally ate at a Korean restaurant, and my mom made an Asian pasta salad, that I will be sharing shortly.

I have loved cooking for quite a while. I distinctly remember getting a kid’s cookbook when I was young and teaching myself how to make scrambled eggs and grilled cheese. I felt so accomplished and impressed that now I could provide for myself. I am not sure at the time I thought of it in that way, I was more like “I can eat what I want, when I want it, without having to talk an adult into making it for me”.

Along the way, I have had some serious flops. I remember toasting a bagel with American cheese on top in the microwave. We had run out of tin foil and so I used wax paper instead, I figured what was the difference. As I sat waiting for my bagel, I saw flames erupt from below and just waited, hoping for the best. In this case, nothing disastrous occurred, and when I took out the bagel a ring of wax paper was underneath still. Looking back I wonder how I could be so unaware; wax paper is literally paper covered in wax and when the wax melts all you have left is paper (which is highly flammable).

I also remember trying to make homemade lollipops and burning the sugar in a pot and not knowing what to do. I took the pot outside and dumped it on the ground, hoping it would just go away.

In college, my roommate and I were cooking and the bottom of our oven erupted in flames. She was concerned. I told her to wait it out, and as always, everything was fine.

So it is not to say that cooking is easy or does not have its ups and downs but as Gretchen Rubin says, “The things that go wrong often make the best memories.”

Since I have moved in with my then fiancé, now husband, I have been cooking everything. I started by cooking through the entire Giada at Home (affiliate link) (I will detail my favorites from this cookbook in the future). I have learned a few things as I have gone. One of the things that surprised me the most was the fact that when in doubt, I cook Asian food.

The recipe I am sharing with you today was something I originally ate with my dad and grandma as a side dish.

So you may read about celery salad and think, meh, celery what do I care, but what I love about this salad is that it turns celery into something else, fresh and delicious, and in fact I could eat an entire bowl of this salad by myself. Also, I love this for the summer because it is refreshing and does not require any heat.

Celery Salad - 1 (1)

To start this salad, peel and chop a pound of celery and add them to a medium bowl. Yes, I did indeed write peel and if you do not know what that means, I will explain. You take your vegetable peeler and peel away the outer shiny layer and all of the strings that go along with it. I am not going to lie, this is a PAIN, but it is worth it and from here it is all downhill.

Next in a separate bowl mix up your dressing (the reason you need an extra bowl is so you can taste it and adjust as you see fit). In the bowl add 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, (I used reduced salt), 4 teaspoons of rice wine vinegar (if you do not have rice wine, any wine vinegar will do), 4 teaspoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Mix this up and taste, adjust your ingredients as needed. Then add your dressing to the celery.

Finally chop 2 scallions and sprinkle on top of your celery with your 1 teaspoon sesame seeds. You can devour it now or let it sit. I would suggest mixing it right before you serve because if you do not the dressing stays at the bottom and the top loses its oomph.

Asian Celery Salad

  • Servings: 4 side servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

-1 pound celery (about 8 large stalks)

-4 tablespoons reduced salt soy sauce

-4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

-4 teaspoons sugar

-1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon sesame oil

-2 scallions, chopped

-1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Wash and peel the celery to remove the outer glossy layer and the strings, using a vegetable peeler.
  2. Chop the peeled celery and add to a medium bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and sesame oil. Adjust to taste and then add to the medium bowl with the celery.
  4. Top salad with chopped scallions and sesame seeds. If not eating immediately, mix again before serving so that the dressing thoroughly coats the celery.

If using regular soy sauce, add less and adjust to taste.

If rice wine vinegar is not available any wine vinegar will do.

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