Tossed with a sweet-tart and salty dressing made from umeboshi, or pickled Japanese plums, each ingredient in Danielle Chang’s version of this colorful composed salad has an auspicious meaning used to commemorate the Lunar New Year. Piles of cucumbers, taro root, and carrots are cut into noodle-like ribbons to represent longevity. Radishes, pomelos, and green vegetables like cucumbers are symbols of good fortune. Chang serves it as an appetizer to raise good luck, encouraging guests to use their chopsticks and mix and toss the ingredients together. According to superstition, the higher they toss the salad, the better their luck will be in the new year.

Danielle Chang
February 2021

Gallery

Credit: Charissa Fay

Recipe Summary

total:
50 mins
Yield:
6 to 8
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Ingredients

Salted Plum Dressing
Salad

Directions

Make the salted plum dressing
  • Whisk together umeboshi paste, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and mirin in a small bowl until blended and smooth; set aside.

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Make the salad
  • Pour vegetable oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches in a large wok; heat over medium-high until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°F. Working in 2 batches, add vermicelli noodles, and fry until noodles puff and float to surface, about 7 seconds. Using a spider or slotted spoon, flip noodles, and fry 3 seconds. Using a spider, remove noodles from oil, and drain on a large paper towel–lined plate. Add taro root to wok, and fry, stirring often, until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on a paper towel–lined plate.

  • Spoon 1/2 cup dressing into a large serving bowl or platter; place fried vermicelli in the center. Arrange carrot, cucumber, daikon, onion, bell pepper, yuba, edamame, and microgreens around fried vermicelli. Sprinkle with shallots, peanuts, pickled ginger, and sesame seeds. Top vermicelli with fried taro and pomelo, and garnish with flower petals.

  • With the salad as the centerpiece, each guest should use their chopsticks to gently incorporate the dressing. Encourage guests to serve themselves. Serve remaining 1/2 cup dressing on side.

Notes

Find umeboshi paste and taro root at Chinese grocery stores or online.

Make Ahead

Dressing can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator.

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