Asian Romaine and Shallot Salad
I have what I call this Asian salad recipe that is to-die-for. It is reminiscent of a dish that I used to have growing up sitting under a zinc-roofed makeshift food stall with my dad. Every time a friend visits, and I make this dish, they will literally lick the plate clean. It is all in the dressing! And I’m about to share this easy-peasy recipe with you!
150gms Romaine lettuce or roughly half a medium-sized head
4 Spanish shallots sliced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (I love Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce)
½ tablespoon soy sauce
½ tablespoon sesame oil
Begin by prepping your lettuce; remove the leaves whole if possible. Once washed and drained, put aside.
For the dressing, heat up a small pan and fry the shallots in sunflower oil until lightly browned. This will take around five minutes on a low to medium heat. Then, add the minced garlic and stir together. Once the garlic starts to colour a little and the shallots start to become crispy, add in the oyster sauce and soy sauce. Switch the heat off immediately and watch the concoction bubble a little blending with the aromatics to create all that delicious sauce. Now your sesame oil goes in, right at the end. Your dressing is done!
Next, you want to blanch your lettuce in hot boiling water for about 10 seconds (see Top tip). Lift and drain excess water, place on your serving plate and drape with all that yummy sauce you just made. I like to include some freshly chopped scallions (spring onions) and fried shallots on the top for texture.
Where to shop?
My go-to for Asian sauces and condiments:
This Dutch shop stocks most of what I need, with a very good selection of Indonesian sauces and a frozen section with the likes of wonton wrappers and kaffir lime leaves. (Av. do Cabo Bojador lote 6 loja F, 8600-315 Lagos.)
You will be able to find a decent selection of Asian sauces in the dry goods aisle and a variety of noodles too.
Stores stock Asian noodles, sauces and other ingredients. I also love that they always have fresh turmeric, chillies, pak choy, lemongrass and spring onions!
If you can afford to go a little bit further, the nearest full-on Asian grocer is in Albufeira. It stocks just about anything you will need for an Asian cook for Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian and even Malaysian dishes. (Beco da Felosa 33, 8200-182 Albufeira.)
I absolutely love how a Sauvignon Blanc works with this particular salad dish.
One great way to keep the sheen and gloss on the lettuce once blanched is to use a drop of oil in the water while blanching
Joy Entry is a Malaysian home cook based in Lagos who is obsessed with the provocative, unapologetic flavours of South-East Asian cuisine.