Top | Erika Szymanski

Pan-Asian Kale Salad

(recipe, Erika Szymanski)


Five-spice tofu is a very firm, pressed tofu marinated in an addictive, umami-rich marinade of Chinese five spice and soy sauce. It's sold in Asian markets and in many grocery stores alongside the refrigerated tofu products. Add it if you'll serve the salad as a main dish, or omit it if the salad will accompany another protein. Be sure to use mung bean sprouts and not soybean sprouts in this recipe: mung bean sprouts can be eaten raw, but soybean sprouts need to be cooked. The five-spice tofu has already been simmered in its marinade, so it doesn't need to be cooked again even if you customarily avoid consuming raw tofu.


    1. ¼ cup dehydrated hijiki (see Note)
    2. 1 bunch green or red curly kale
    3. 1½ cups cubed daikon radish (about a 6-inch length of a 3-inch-thick radish)
    4. 1 cup mung bean sprouts
    5. ¼ cup sesame seeds (I prefer unhulled, which are a beige color; use white or black if you prefer)
    6. 3 green onions, both white and green parts, sliced crosswise
    7. 1 block (7 ounces) five-spice tofu, sliced into thin strips (optional)
    1. ¼ cup mellow white or barley miso
    2. 1 Tbsp. orange-juice concentrate mixed with 2 Tbsp. water, or ¼ cup fresh orange juice
    3. 2 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce
    4. 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
    5. 1 Tbsp. red chile flakes (optional)


    1. Cover the hijiki with near-boiling hot water and set it aside while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.
    2. Wash and dry the kale and slice crosswise into thin ribbons. (Remove the stems first if you prefer.) In a large bowl, tenderize the kale by kneading the ribbons with your hands until they are noticeably softened (stop before you actually begin to tear them apart).
    3. Drain any remaining liquid from the rehydrated hijiki and add it to the kale, along with the remaining salad ingredients. Toss gently to mix.
    4. Combine the miso with the orange-juice concentrate and water or orange juice, and stir thoroughly; you're aiming to soften the miso into the orange juice, so that it doesn't remain in one big lump. Add the fish sauce, sesame oil, and chile flakes (if using), and blend again.
    5. Toss the dressing with the vegetables and serve immediately. The salad will keep well in the refrigerator for several days.


    Look for dehydrated hijiki (a type of seaweed) in the Asian section of most supermarkets.