"This is a classic from the north of China," says Victor Liong. "Substitute the vegetables for whatever you have; the idea is to have three distinctive textures and colours. The dressing and chilli oil keep for three months in the fridge." Start 12 hours ahead to soak kombu.
- 1 carrot, cut into julienne
- 150 gm bean curd sheet (See note), cut into julienne
- 50 gm kombu sheets, soaked in cold water for 12 hours, cut into julienne
- 1 cup (firmly packed) coriander, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 100 ml vegetable oil
- 6 small mild dried red chillies, such as heavenly facing chillies (see note), cut into 1cm pieces
- 3 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
- 3 tsp caster sugar
- 60 ml (¼ cup) light soy sauce
- 30 ml rice wine vinegar
- 1 ½ tsp finely grated ginger
- 1Blanch carrot in a large saucepan of boiling water (30 seconds). Drain well, scatter in an even layer on a plate and refrigerate to chill (at least 30 minutes or overnight).
- 2Blanch bean curd in a large saucepan of boiling water (3 minutes). Drain well, scatter in an even layer on a plate and refrigerate to chill (at least 30 minutes or overnight).
- 3Add kombu to boiling water, stirring as it comes back to the boil, and cook until tender (5 minutes). Refresh kombu in fresh cold water, drain, and place in a large mixing bowl.
- 4For chilli oil, place garlic in a heatproof bowl. Heat oil in a small saucepan with chilli and peppercorns over high heat. Once the oil starts smoking (1-2 minutes), pour it over garlic (be careful, hot oil will spit). Stir to combine, then cool.
- 5For dressing, dissolve sugar in 1 tbsp boiling water. Stir in remaining ingredients, then add chilli oil.
- 6Combine carrot, bean curd, kombu and coriander in a bowl. Pour over dressing, toss to combine and serve.
Bean curd sheets are available from select Chinese supermarkets. If you're using frozen bean curd sheets, defrost first. Dried heavenly facing chillies are available from Asian grocers.