During sesshin not so long ago, lunch was going to be Chinese-style and a complementary salad dressing just wasn’t coming to mind. Maybe because the times we’ve been in Japan and China, fresh green salads were noticeably absent from the menu and the raw vegetables that did make their appearance were either lightly blanched, used as garnish or simply served as pickles. So it was hard to imagine a salad dressing (as we know it) that might fit. Balsamic would be weird. Sushi-style not quite. Creamy would clash. Mayo? Nope. What to do? After some serious pondering, perhaps a sweet and sour theme might fit the bill?
What transpired was this rather simple dressing with sweet, fresh overtones and warm, spicy undertones.
90 g (5 ounces or a generous ½ cup) canned pineapple chunks in natural syrup
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon sake
⅛ teaspoon red chilli flakes, or cayenne pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
- Place all the ingredients in a mixing jug and blend until smooth with an immersion blender or blend in a food processor.
- Serve alongside green salad tossed with cucumber slices and fresh, crunchy mung bean sprouts.
TIP: If you have neither an immersion blender nor a food processor, use a can of crushed pineapple, finely mince the green onion and grind the chilli flakes in a pestle and mortar before combining all the ingredients.