The Sauce: Asian Sesame Dressing – Creamy sesame sauce or dressing with a hint of heat and warmth of sesame oil. It’s lightly sweetened with a dab of honey. It can flavor slaw as well as lettuce salads.
‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’
Hachinohe, a city on the west coast of Northern Japan, is where I fell in love with sesame dressing all over again. While visiting my granddaughters in Misawa, we went to a small Japanese restaurant in Hach. The simple salad of chopped lettuce, finely shredded carrots and a few scattered sliced scallions was topped with a creamy sesame sauce. For a while, my daughter-in-law Sarah, sent me bottles of this sesame dressing but then I vowed to make my own version. With taste testing and back-to-the-drawing-board discipline, I finally came up with a fresh homemade sesame sauce that is perfect on simple salads and my Asian slaw. My yearning for a visit to Japan is not dwindling but until my next visit, I’ll serve some Mandarin Orange Slaw.
Recipe: Mandarin Orange Slaw
Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 0 Minutes | Yield: 6 Servings | Level: Easy
- 2 cups shredded Chinese napa cabbage
- 2 cups shredded hard cabbage
- 2 stalks celery, finely diagonal sliced
- 1 medium carrot, julienned
- 2 scallions with tops, sliced
- 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, sliced in thirds diagonally
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
- 1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 package ramen noodles
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 1/4 cup Half & Half
- 1/2 tsp chili paste
2 In a medium bowl whisk together the vinegar, sesame oil, honey, mayo, Half & Half and chili paste.
3 Break the noodles into bite size pieces into the sauce and stir. Pour over the vegetables and combine.
4 Add the mandarin oranges and toss gently. Salt to taste.
5 Serve the salad or let stand for 20-30 minutes before serving depending on whether you like your slaw very crispy or slightly softened.
There are several types of Chinese Cabbage such as savoy, bok choy, and napa which is used in this recipe. Savoy is more firm than napa and bok choy is more stalky. Napa is light green and a more fine, soft cabbage. It helps give this salad a softer texture than American slaw. When shredding Napa, only use about 1/2 to 1/3 of the head and leave the sturdy stalk end for wok cooking or Asian soup.
To toast sesame seeds, place them in a small sauté pan over medium heat and toss until they begin to turn golden. Toasted sesame seeds can be purchased at Asian grocery stores for a very reasonable price.
Stir in the meat from a rotisserie chicken cut in chunks to turn this into a main dish salad.
Serve this salad with teriyaki chicken, pork chops or won ton soup.
Make a double batch of the sauce to use on salads during the coming week.
- Add 1/2 cup slivered almonds.
- Exchange ramen soup noodles for chow mein noodles.
Inspiration – Saucy Cuisine Kitchen
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: January 5, 2013