We have survived the heat wave in the Twin Cities! Which is no small feat when it reaches 95-plus degrees Fahrenheit! I never complain about the weather, especially summer weather, because warm and humid days like the ones we had last week remind me of summers in Buenos Aires, and so weather like this is a little bit like getting a love letter from home. It reminds me of catching fireflies in the garden when I was a child, chatting late into the night with high school friends under the stars, the music of tango infusing the streets of Barrio San Telmo, and the hustle and bustle of Calle Corrientes, the street that never sleeps. After the long Minnesota winter, no matter how hot and humid the summer turns out to be, for me, it is always a welcome change. There’s a lot of things I like about Minnesota’s summers, and I like it not just because it reminds me of Buenos Aires, but on its own merits and for its own beauty. I love the shrubs bursting with leaves and color and the pollinators in full bloom; the local art festivals displaying all the talent that thrives here; the delicious, original food (even on a stick!); that feeling of freedom that only comes from going everywhere on a bicycle; the long twilight before sunset that makes every golden hour magical; the wild prairie flowers growing by the lake; and the trees chock-full of birdsong, as our feathered friends say goodnight. I have learned to roll with the beauty and hardships of each season, and have learned to find beauty in every season and every place. But that doesn’t mean I want to turn on the oven!
These early days of summer have been spent going to the lake, canoeing, walking by the water, pruning and planting in my garden, and going to a variety of local festivals. I tend to do a lot less baking in the months of June and July because they are the months I spend mostly outdoors, and come inside only when I absolutely have to. I like to think I’m recharging my sun batteries, which have to be full before the Minnesota winter arrives. And so June, July, and the first half of August tend not to find me baking too much in the kitchen. My repertoire consists of homemade ice cream; Southern fried chicken, custard desserts like flan coco, fruit salads, a few summer fruit pies, picnic-friendly food, and occasionally cheesecake. I am hoping that this summer, I will share with you all new recipes for original ice cream flavors, a few new no-bake desserts, and a couple of savory dishes that are quick to put together and don’t require you to turn on your oven. This Chinese Pot Sticker & Cabbage Salad would be an example of the latter, and it has been a huge hit in our household. Hey, you don’t have to turn the oven on! I have never been a salad person, but this was one salad that I was utterly obsessed with.
This Chinese Pot Sticker & Cabbage Salad is packed full of flavor. It has a base of fresh lettuce, two types of thinly-sliced cabbage, matchstick carrots, and interesting flavor notes coming from mandarin oranges, crunchy sliced almonds, fresh cilantro and green onion. This salad is super easy to throw together, and of course, you could always add a protein of your preference such as rotisserie chicken or even thinly-sliced steak, but in my opinion, what makes it stand apart from all other salads and be an original is that it is topped with fried Chinese pot stickers, which gives it a tasty Asian twist. I used classic pork and chive jiaozi that I had made from scratch and frozen a couple of months ago. They are salty, flavorful, juicy, nourishing. But you don’t have to make dumplings of jiaozi from scratch for this salad. It would be best to be practical since it’s summer and maybe buy a bag of packaged frozen pot stickers your local Asian grocery store and not have to make them from scratch like I did, and save yourself the extra steps, which can be very laborious and take out a huge piece of your summer day. Sometimes Trader Joe’s has them too. The last element that brings the salad together is the ginger and sesame dressing. If I’m not a salad person, I’m even less of a dressing person. I don’t like dressings that are heavy or creamy and result in drowning the salad, but this one is just right and somehow blends soy sauce, fresh ginger and garlic, rice wine vinegar, two kinds of oil, and honey, and it is a great complement to bring out the flavors of the salad and enhance them. I would recommend storing the dressing separately in a jar so that you can store the salad if you have any left over, and your vegetables stay crisp and fresh.
This Chinese Pot Sticker & Cabbage Salad will make dinner a breeze, and it’s something neat and impressive to bring to a barbecue, picnic, or potluck. It is an original meal that will give you a break from all of the foods we normally eat and it’s also a very healthy option too. I hope you will enjoy this delicious, fresh, and crunchy salad, and especially the fact that you can have a delicious meal made without turning on the oven. Enjoy summer!
Chinese Pot Sticker & Cabbage Salad
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
For the Salad
- 16-20 frozen pot stickers, homemade or purchased
- 1 ½ cups napa cabbage, thinly chopped
- 1 ½ cups red cabbage, thinly chopped
- 2 cups romaine lettuce, thinly chopped
- 1 cup carrots, cut into matchsticks
- ¾ cup red bell pepper, julienned or thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/3 cup green onions, chopped
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- 4 mandarin oranges, clementines, or satsumas
For the Dressing
- 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- Wash, prepare, and chop all vegetables.
- To make the dressing, combine the rice vinegar with the olive oil, ad sesame oil, and beat well with a fork in a small bowl. Add the soy sauce and honey, whisking well. Finally, add the garlic and fresh ginger, and place all the ingredients in a small jar with a sealed lid.
- For the salad, in a large bowl, add the napa cabbage, red cabbage, romaine lettuce, carrots, red peppers, and green onions. Toss to combine. Add the sliced almonds, fresh cilantro, and sesame seeds, tossing well.
- Stir in dressing to taste, tossing well to coat. Leftover dressing can be stored in the jar as needed. Keep your salad crisp and fresh by not over-dressing it. Transfer the salad to a salad bowl and set aside.
- To fry the pot stickers, heat sunflower or canola oil over medium-high heat, about 1 inch deep.
- The oil should be about 350°F. If you don’t have a thermometer on hand, one way to test it is to add a little crumb or leftover dough from the pot stickers and toss it into the saucepan. If it bubbles and floats, then your oil is hot enough for the pot stickers. Add the frozen pot stickers one by one, flat side down, making sure not to over-crowd the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes on that side, then turn them over, carefully so as not to burn yourself or spill the oil, and cook for another 3 minutes, or until golden. [Alternatively, you may also use cooked pot stickers from your nearest Asian restaurant.] Fry them in sunflower or canola oil on each side until golden. Remove the pot stickers from the hot oil carefully one by one once they have reached the desired golden color and set on a plate with paper towels to drain and cool slightly for 3-5 minutes.
- Using tongs, carefully place the pot stickers on top of the salad to adorn it. Alternatively, you can serve the salad among individual serving plates or bowls and top each individual serving with 4-5 pot stickers. Serve and enjoy!
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