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Spinach With Sesame Dressing

A mixed green salad you toss. My spinach salad, made Chinese style with cooked spinach, you squeeze. After eliminating the water from the spinach bunches, I cut them into logs and arrange them on a serving plate. Depending on my mood, I stack them like cordwood or stand the bundles on end.

Courses: Salads
Serves: 4 people

Recipe Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs 681g / 24ozSpinach or watercress
3 tablespoons 45mlSesame seeds - toasted
2   Cubes white fermented bean curd (fu yu) - abt 1 1/2 tbspns
1 tablespoon 15mlDry sherry or Chinese rice wine
1 tablespoon 15mlSugar
1 teaspoon 5mlInstant bonito soup stock base (hon-dashi) - mixed with
1/4 cup 59mlHot water
1/4 teaspoon 1.3mlCrushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon 0.6mlFreshly-ground white pepper

Recipe Instructions

Place 2 1/2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds in a blender with the rest of the dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Without trimming the roots and stems, wash the spinach in a large bowl of water; discard any wilted leaves.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook 1 minute. Drain, rinse under cold running water, and drain again. Lay 2 or 3 bunches of spinach together on a work surface so they form a bundle about 1-inch in diameter; squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Trim and discard the root ends and cut each bundle into 2-inch lengths. Repeat with the remaining spinach. Arrange the cut bundles on a serving platter and pour the dressing on top. Sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds.

This recipe yields 4 to 6 servings.

Tip: Fermented bean curd is packed in jars in a thin liquid flavored with wine. It may have chiles added for color and flavor. Don't be put off by its very pungent odor; it is delicious in this dressing. Covered and refrigerated, a jar of "fu yu" will keep for a long time.

Microwave Method: In step 2, spin the spinach dry in a plastic salad spinner. Cover the spinner with plastic wrap, place it right in the microwave, and cook on high for 4 minutes. Divide the spinach into 3 bundles; lay them on paper towels and squeeze them dry, forming 1-inch logs as above. Trim, cut, and dress as above.

Everybody's Wokking by Martin Yan, (Harlow & Ratner, 1991)


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