A Refreshing Healthy Summer Salad!
One of the most refreshing summer coleslaw recipes is Grapefruit Honey Slaw. This slaw is made with no mayonnaise or buttermilk. The acidity of grapefruit balances the sweet honey and the cabbage mellows in the mix. I published a recipe for Grapefruit Honey Slaw that I used to make at a French café in Florida a few years ago and this slaw was well suited for tropical heat.
Light refreshing cabbage salads are popular worldwide and these refreshing salads provide relief from the summer heat. Thai Cabbage Salad is a good example of how cabbage can be prepared in a way that revives guests that are fatigued from extreme heat. Thai Green Papaya Salad is made in a similar way and this is a refreshing summer salad too. Hot spicy Thai Finger Peppers are a key ingredient. The level of spicy heat can be mild or extremely hot and the cool sweat from the capsicum oil provides instant relief from the blistering summer heat.
Today's Spicy Ruby Red Grapefruit Cabbage Salad with Crispy Mai Fun has a flavor balance of sweet palm sugar and mild bitter sweet Ruby Red Grapefruit. The sour flavor of grapefruit can be described as bitter, no matter how mild or sweet the grapefruit tastes. Bitter flavors are soothing during the summer season, especially when balanced with a sweetener. Pink Grapefruit and Ruby Red Grapefruit are usually the least bitter tasting of all grapefruit, so a salad made with these grapefruit hybrids will appeal to more guests.
Mai Fun is a Chinese specialty noodle that can be boiled and shocked with cold water, then served like most traditional noodle entrées. Mai Fun is made with sticky rice grain. Those who are familiar with the Rice Crispy Breakfast Cereal know that moist cooked sticky rice puffs up and expands when it is fried crisp. Dried Mai Fun noodles do the same thing. The dried noodles instantly puff up and double in size when fried in very hot oil.
Standard deep frying temperatures are usually 350ºF to 375ºF. A temperature of 360ºF offers a quicker heat recovery time for small batch frying and I suggest this temperature in most recipes that I write. Dried Mai Fun Noodles require a frying temperature of 400ºF. Anything less will result in greasy looking noodles that do not fully expand. Because 400ºF is a high temperature for frying, it is best to select a good frying oil that has a high smoking point.
Crispy Mai Fun:
This recipe yields 1 portion.
Dried Mai Fun instantly puff up when placed in hot frying oil. The oil must be 400ºF, so use caution and wear protective clothing when frying at this high temperature!
Step 1: Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 400ºF.
Step 2: Add 1 portion of Dried Mai Fun to the hot oil. (1 portion = 1 bunch that can be grasped with the thumb and index finger.)
Allow the noodles to fry crisp and puff up. (This only takes a few seconds.)
*Carefully flip the noodles over in the hot oil, if all of the noodles on top did not get a chance to fry crisp.
Step 3: Use a fryer net to place the puffy fried noodles on a wire screen rack over a drip pan, to drain off any excess oil.
Set the noodles aside where they will not be broken.
Palm Sugar Grapefruit Salad Dressing:
This recipe yields about 1/2 cup. (Enough for 1 large cabbage salad portion.)
Step 1: Place 1/2 tablespoon of palm sugar in a mixing bowl.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of granulated sugar
Add 1/2 tablespoon of rice vinegar.
Add 1/3 cup of Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice.
Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
Stir the ingredients together.
Set the mixture aside till the sugar dissolves.
Step 2: Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
Add 1 pinch of dried ground galangal.
Add 1 pinch of Chinese Five Spice Powder.
Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
Step 3: Add 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of Korean Style Course Ground Red Serrano Chile Pepper Sambal. (to taste)
Add 1/2 teaspoon of finely minced white part of a green onion.
Step 4: Add 1/4 teaspoon of pure sesame oil.
Slowly add 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil while whisking.
Step 5: Place the Palm Sugar Grapefruit Salad Dressing in a container.
Chill for 1 hour, so the flavors meld.
Stir before serving.
Spicy Ruby Red Grapefruit Cabbage Salad Mixture:
This recipe yields 1 large salad portion.
This salad has a mild spicy chile pepper flavor. If a medium or extra spicy hot flavor is preferred, add 1 or 2 thin sliced Thai Chile Peppers.
Step 1: Place 2 1/2 cups of thin sliced Napa Cabbage in a mixing bowl.
Add 1/4 cup of julienne carrot strips.
Add 2 tablespoons of thin sliced Green Serrano Pepper.
Add 1 tablespoon of thin roasted red bell pepper strips.
Add 1/5 cup of julienne sliced sweet onion.
Add 3 thin sliced canned water chestnuts (or blanched peeled water chestnuts).
Add 3/4 cup of Ruby Red Grapefruit supremes. (Supreme = clean citrus fruit segments that have no pith, seeds or membrane attached.)
Add 10 to 12 small cilantro sprigs.
Step 2: Toss the ingredients together.
Chill the salad mixture till it is needed.
Spicy Ruby Red Grapefruit Cabbage Salad with Crispy Mai Fun:
This recipe yields 1 large salad that can be shared by 2 guests.
Step 1: Place the bowl of Spicy Ruby Red Grapefruit Cabbage Salad Mixture on a countertop.
Add enough of the of the Palm Sugar Grapefruit Salad Dressing to coat the ingredients with flavor. (About 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup.)
Toss the ingredients together.
Step 2: Mound the Crispy Fried Mai Fun on one end of a large oval plate.
Mound and cascade the Spicy Ruby Red Grapefruit Cabbage Salad over the edge of the noodles on the other side of the plate.
Garnish with cilantro sprigs.
The crispy crunchy noodles easily break and add an interesting texture to the salad. This is a great summer salad that provides relief from the heat!