Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Crunchy Wombok Salad

Crunchy Wombok Salad
Home Cooking

I have a new favorite salad. I admit that I do like salad. There exists people in the world who see 'salad' on the menu and immediately erase it as a potential choice.

I frequently order salad at restaurants at the expense of a protein main. And I'm rarely disappointed.

BUT... my idea of a home salad is somewhat less exciting. I usually throw together a concoction of pantry spares. This means: leaves, ham/tuna, boiled egg and a piece of bread toasted and torn to simulate croutons. If I'm lucky, I'll have an avocado ready too.

Last week, Mochi and I decided to cook dinner at home (rare for us because we eat at such different times) and she offered to make a wombok salad.

I was skeptical when I heard that because there is nothing about the term 'wombok' that makes you think 'yay! Awesome'. I mean, it's the Asian equivalent of saying 'lettuce salad'.

When I tasted it though, my opinion did a 180. This salad is GREAT. I asked Mochi what the proper name was and she said 'wombok salad'. True enough, I Googled those terms and it was right there. I made it again myself within a few days of first tasting it.

There are variants of the wombok salad but all contain wombok, crunchy noodles, nuts and some kind of sweet soy dressing. I couldn't find shallots at my supermarket so I left that out and added chili flakes instead.

Crunchy Wombok Salad
Serves 2-3

  • 1 (100 g) packet fried Chinese noodles
  • 1/2-1 head wombok (Chinese cabbage)
  • 6 shallots (I couldn't find any so I left this out)
  • 100 g roasted almonds
  • 100 g pine nuts
For the dressing
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • chili flakes (optional)

1. Toast the pinenuts until golden and fragrant.2. Slice the wombok.
3. Layer the wombok, nuts, shallots (if you have some) and crunchy noodles.
4. Make the dressing by mixing together all the components. Taste and adjust accordingly.5. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve.

I'm not sure what I like the most about this salad. Maybe it's the sweet and sour soy dressing that's full-flavored, yet light. Maybe it's the fresh, crunchy leaves that are a nice variation from bog standard lettuce. I definitely like the nuts, both almonds and pinenuts. And I love the crunchy noodles.

Ultimately, it's just a salad that works. It's simple but it's got a great balance of flavor and texture. Have it on its own or as a side to an Asian-inspired meal.


  1. Yummm. It's winter here, but this cabbage (called napa here in the US) is in season now so this would be a nice fresh flavor after all the heavy soups we've been having. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Hi Manju...
    This salad definitely has a 'fresh' taste, especially with the addition of chili. Give it a go while the cabbage is in season!

  3. I first had this at my aunt's place a few years ago and found it to be a winner too, even just with the wombok, noodles and the dressing. Very morish!