It's the 8 year anniversary of Five Element Food! I actually can't believe that I have kept this up for so long and I haven't even come close to running out of recipes. It also means that it is Chinese New Year. It's the Year of the Dog (there's a forecast on my website - www.lotusinstitute.com). And, as always, I have to eat as many lucky foods as I can in the next two weeks (see Chinese Lucky Foods on this blog). Since I am celebrating Chinese New Year's Eve tonight, I have made of a lot Dumplings and Radish Cake and will make some Pea Sprouts (all previous posts). And every year I add some new dishes and there are many foods I will make in the coming days.
Tonight, I made a Sesame Seed Dressing that I served on Romaine Lettuce and a sprinkling of diced Red Pepper. Lettuce is lucky because it sounds like increasing wealth and Sesame Seeds increase creativity. I had a similar salad at a Dumpling House not that long ago that I loved, so I came home and made it and have saved the recipe for this important Chinese holiday. The only trick is to decide how much of the Tamari to use since different kinds of Tahini have such different flavors and consistencies. Be sure to buy Tahini that has not yet been made into a sauce for Falafel or used as a dip - The Tahini I am talking about should be like a paste that can be found either be in a jar or a can and should made with ground, roasted Sesame Seeds. There is also a question of how much Broth or Hot Water to use based on how thick the Tahini is, so use your best judgement and start with the smaller quantity and add more of the Tamari or Broth/Water as needed. This Sesame Salad Dressing should be on the thin side and drizzle it on right before serving. This Sesame Salad is delicious and would be good anytime. Happy New Year!
Sesame Salad Dressing
1/2 cup Tahini
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup hot Chicken Broth, Vegetable Broth or Hot Water (depending on the thickness of the Sesame Paste)
1 1/2 - 2 Tablespoons Tamari (or Soy Sauce)
1 - 1 1/2 Tablespoon toasted Sesame Oil
2 teaspoons Rice Vinegar
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Sugar
Optional: A pinch of Red Pepper Flakes or Cayenne or 1/4 teaspoon Chili Oil
Put the Tahini in a bowl and add the hot Chicken/Vegetable Broth or Hot Water. Stir to combine. Add in Tamari, Sesame Oil, Rice Vinegar, Salt, Sugar and Chili (if using). Mix thoroughly and taste, adding more Tamari, Salt, Sugar or Broth if needed to achieve your preferred taste and consistency.
Drizzle the Sesame Salad Dressing over a Salad made of Romaine Lettuce sprinkled with 1/4 cup of diced Red Pepper.
Five Element Analysis
Lettuce belongs to the Fire Element and the Red Pepper and Chili Oil adds even more. The Tahini, made of Sesame Seeds is part of the Water Element and the Sesame Oil and Tamari add even more. The Vinegar brings in just a hint of the Wood Element and the small amount of Sugar makes sure that the Earth Element is barely present. So be sure to serve this with some other dishes in the meal made with foods from the Metal Element as well as the Earth and Wood Elements.