Home Life Style This is not just a salad

This is not just a salad

Growing up between two cultures – Australian and Chinese – it took me a long time to understand who I saw was staring at me in the mirror …

But when I started cooking and especially making salads, my own reflection suddenly became much more meaningful. Food has become a portal for me to understand my own heritage, as well as a gateway to other cultures and their unique history. Making salad with Mom brought us closer together; with cooking being our common ground, I felt like we were finally on the same side, that the different stories of our interwoven lives were finally told on the same page.

Salad was not a part of my diet when I was a child, but it was a food that gave me life. Even today, nothing feels more natural than making a salad. In many ways, I equate making salad with life, to grow, to survive. As I explored flavors and experimented with ingredients, I became a more compassionate, world-oriented person, better equipped to ask questions and seek answers.

This salad, from my book To Asia with love, is an easy and delicious way to add some seaweed to your diet, paired with fresh, crunchy greens and a crispy sesame sauce. Seaweed is the vegetable that I am trying to incorporate into my family diet – it is one of the most nutritious and sustainable foods in the world. I love to use kelp (kombu) in this salad, but it’s fine with wakame or hijiki as well. Dried seaweed can be found in many supermarkets, health food stores, and online grocery stores.

Hetty McKinnon

Seaweed salad
Serve 2-4
Vegan and Gluten Free


5 x 9 inch kombu pieces, about ¾ ounce, soak in warm water for 15-20 minutes
1 top lettuce (red oak or butter), separate the leaves, rinse and dry
1 avocado, sliced ​​or thinly sliced
1 teaspoon grilled white sesame seeds
1 green onion, chopped
Sea salt and black pepper

Spicy sesame sauce

1 garlic clove
1 green onion, chopped
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 teaspoon of gochugaru (Korean red pepper) or 1 teaspoon of red pepper
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon grilled white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt

Boil a pan of salt water, add seaweed and boil for 12–15 minutes until soft. Water discharge. When cool enough to handle, tear or cut the kelp into bite-sized pieces.

For spicy sesame sauce, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Put the seaweed, lettuce and butter in a bowl and pour the sauce over. Season with sea salt and black pepper, sprinkle with sesame and scallions on top and serve immediately.

Thank you, Hetty!

PS Nine rules for a better salad and a killer salad tricks.

(Photo by Hetty McKinnon. Recipe and essay reprinted from Hetty McKinnon’s stunning new cookbook. To Asia, with love.)



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