Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chinese Iceberg

I have eaten an entire head of iceberg lettuce, two nights in a row.

I blame, nay, I thank, Kylie Kwong, and her Simple Chinese Cooking. I leafed through it one evening in my mother's kitchen in Cape Town, and was drawn to the stunning photographs and absurdly simple ideas. So simple that you feel silly wanting the book.

There was a picture of an iceberg, lightly dressed. I drooled. And while this recipe, here, is not hers, because I have forgotten it, it is pretty darn close.

We are taught to revile the iceberg. With good reason. But the sensible and fearless Kylie simply addresses and loves its perfectly crunchy texture. She doesn't talk about pale pink tomatoes and limp cucumber and diners in the middle of nowhere.


1 garlic clove, paper-thinly sliced
1 finger (thumb, really) peeled ginger, ditto
2 tsps brown sugar
4 Tbps soy sauce
half a lemon's juice

And yesterday's version also had about a 1/4 cup finely grated fresh horseradish (Passover in New York demands it), but the previous evening's preparation did not.

Put all the ingredients into a small bowl to macerate for at least an hour.

Then strain off the liquid and pour it over as much iceberg as you like, after cutting wedges out of the lettuce, and tearing the wedges into two. Pile in a bowl.

Below, the dregs of the dressing.

This delicious salad accompanied crispy chicken wings cooked under the broiler, in a dressing, in turn, of soy, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro stems, crushed, a little sugar and a lot of chile.


  1. Yum! This proves that even the plainest of Janes can be beautiful when properly dressed. I just found your blog recently, and I'm enjoying it very much.

  2. sorry - excuse my ignorance but what does macerate mean? i.e. do you need to crush / mash the garlic and ginger or just leave it to soak, before pouring it off?

  3. Gigi - nice to see you here and thank you...

    Marijks, you're right, macerate is not right. It's OK for strawberries...which you then eat. No, I meant soak: strain off the liquid. You don't have to crush the garlic etc any more than you already have.

  4. Well, someone had to do something to the dreadful Iceberg!(I rather like crisp chunks of it with a ginger-chilli dressing.Throw in some scrunchy pommes sautee and call it supper!)


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