Monday, September 16, 2013

Kale "Salad" with tamarind dressing

I hesitate to call this a salad as really, it's just dressed leaves. But I don't know what else to call dressed leaves. I guess I only really hesitate now because of a conversation on the weekend in which salads of just leaves were accused of not really being salads. Which leads to a huge semantic discussion of what a salad "is", that I don't really care about. I am happy just to eat! I made this dressing and put it on the kale leaves in my fridge and some parsley from my pot plant and served it with sweet potato hash, Puerco pibil and an egg. It went perfectly together. I then made it with just the leaves and some toasted black sesame seeds with my red-sotto. Also a brilliant match. So salad or not, it makes a great side dish.

I guess the real "recipe" here is the dressing. You can make a much bigger, ingredient filled salad with this dressing. When the weather warmed up (for what felt like all of 2 days), I made  wonderful quinoa salads full of crunchy nuts and seeds and this dressing for a fun weekend lunch. Stay tuned for that.

I mainly used tamari in this dressing because tamari and tamarind are so similar in name. It amuses me. You can use soy sauce if that's what you've got. In my experience, soy sauce tends to be a tad saltier, so maybe start with less. And the tamarind syrup is sweet and sour at the same time, so you don't strictly need extra acidity, but a splash of lime as a kicker over the top would also be good. I have heard you can buy tamarind syrup, but I haven't seen any myself, so I included the simple version I made below. I made it initially in an attempt to replicate a different dish I ate in New York. It blew my mind! Stay tuned for that one, too! Tamarind is often available in the "Asian aisle" of supermarkets, or failing that, at Asian grocers.

Add the dressing a little at a time, it'll probably make more than it needs.


Tamarind Syrup
1 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup sugar
100g tamarind
1 jalapeno, roughly chopped

Bring everything to the boil in a small pot, simmer for 10 minutes or so until the tamarind paste "dissolves". Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove pits, tough bits of tamarind skin and the chilli. Leave aside to cool. Stir well before using.

Kale Tamarind Salad
serves 4 as a side
3-4 kale leaves, removed from the stem
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp tamarind syrup
2 tsp tamari
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
toasted sesame seeds to serve

Pour the olive oile, tamarind syrup, tamari and pepper into a small jar with a lid and shake vigourously to blend. Pour over the kale leaves and use your fingers to massage in, to help soften and make all the leaves glossy. Toss through the parsley leaves. Garnish with sesame seeds.