This Sichuan celery salad is my riff off of the complimentary appetizers I'd get while dining at Bamboodles Restaurant - San Gabriel and Luscious Dumplings, Inc. - San Gabriel. I've omitted pressed tofu and tofu noodles from my version, but feel free to add them if you wish. I think celery is great for offsetting the heavy feeling after eating carbs like dumplings and noodles, or fatty meats.
The key is to blanch the celery, just enough to soften its harsh edges while retaining its tender-crisp crunch. You can omit the Sichuan peppercorns, but I find its numbing spiciness a welcome contrast to the blandness of the celery. Toss with a dressing of vinegar and sesame oil. Sometimes, during hot weather, I crave this salad as a meal because it doesn't leave me feeling too weighed down.
Sichuan/Szechwan Celery Salad
For 2 servings as a meal or 4 servings as a side dish, you'll need:
6 to 8 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 red jalapeno, sliced
1 to 2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, depending on your spicy tolerance
For the dressing, you'll need:
2 tblsp soy sauce
1 tblsp red wine vinegar
1 to 2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
1/4 tsp salt
Get a pot of water to boiling while you cut the celery and herbs.
You can cut the celery into uniform pieces, but I like to cut my celery by rotating it in quarter turns and making 1-inch cuts. The celery pieces are still somewhat the same size, but are more interesting in appearance this way.
See how I just rotate the celery a little bit while making cuts?
Just a quarter rotation and slice again.
Include the leaves too.
When the water boils, add the celery and let it blanch for only a minute or two until tender-crisp. You want the celery to just soften, but retain its crunch.
Dump the celery in a bowl and add the chopped cilantro, jalapeno, 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, 2 tblsp soy sauce, 1 tblsp red wine vinegar, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes, and 1/4 tsp salt.
Toss and serve warm, or refrigerate for about 15 minutes to let the flavors combine. The celery salad can keep for several days in the fridge and still retain its crunch.
Other celery salads:
1 year ago today, green tomatoes in my garden.
2 years ago today, I wondered, are you a Vietnamese blogger?
3 years ago today, frozen yogurt at Pinkberry - Rancho Cucamonga.