Foodiva's Kitchen: Ginseng Leaf Salad with Pomegranate, Orange and Green Thai Mango

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ginseng Leaf Salad with Pomegranate, Orange and Green Thai Mango

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. 
 ~ Mirabel Osler

My mother is the most gifted gardener I know. For as long as I can remember, she never possessed the best-looking nails because of all the muck she plays around with everyday, but as a positive spin-off of that, we always had really nice gardens wherever we lived. Even when there was no garden, like the house we had in Central London where there was only a rooftop area for some pots of greenery...well, she managed to landscape that area to make it pretty somehow. 

Of course, coming back here we have acres of land for my mother to do whatever she wishes to it. The land is like her blank canvas and her art is transforming it into beautiful bursts of colors and terrains and textures, filling it with numerous flowers, plants, fruits trees and vegetables. Such is her passion for gardening that she almost always brings back some new "plant" or seeds from her travels abroad and will then replant them in her garden.

Many times when I'm out in the yard with her, she would point out to some shrub and say, "Do you remember when we lived in/visited (insert country name) and we went to that (insert park name, botanic centre, neighbor's house, etc)? Well, this is the plant I smuggled back from there!". Yes, she's incorrigible. And her soil-stained, 'green' fingers seem to be able to nurture anything, so smuggling plants is a way to feed her gardening addiction. 

One day last week, as we were both walking around with her in the newly-configured garden, I saw an unfamiliar plant. My mother informed me it was ginseng she had brought back from Kuching, Malaysia and the leaves can be eaten as a salad or sauteed with some garlic to make a hot side-dish. Meanwhile, the finger-like roots can be boiled into a herbal drink. I plucked a leaf, popped it into my mouth and it tasted pleasantly tangy, turning into a velvety texture as I chewed on it. Inevitably, I ended up clutching a bunch of these ginseng leaves home and the first thing I did was turn them into this beautiful Ginseng Leaf salad.

This is a very easy salad to throw together. It has a predominantly citrus/tangy note due to the orange, pomegranate, Ginger Torch flower and sweet-sourish Thai green mango (Nang Klang Wan) I added to it. A simple dressing made from lime juice, red onion, garlic and sesame oil completed the salad. Out of my mother's garden, I also picked some Scotch Bonnet peppers below and added just half of one (it was HOT!) into the salad. That sweet-sour-spicy salad really made my day! 

Scotch Bonnets. 
I turned these into a mind-blowing hot sauce, mixed with fiery Thai chillies! Recipe here :-).

Last weekend, I invited some friends over to "The Farm" (a.k.a. my mom's play area) to pick some vegetables - we brought home sweet corn, squashes, long beans, eggplants, spinach, Thai chillies and more Scotch Bonnets. Kate (from It's The Norm) and her husband Rob came along and I bet they're now at home wondering what to do with all the vegetables they'd picked! You can read Kate's related post here.

 Once a food blogger, always a food blogger... Kate and Co. in action.

Ginseng Leaf Salad with Pomegranate, Orange and Green Thai Mango
Serves: 2
2-3 handfuls ginseng leaves, plucked from the stems
1 cup pomegranate arils
1/2 Thai green mango, peeled and sliced thinly
1 orange, peeled and sliced

Lime Dressing
Juice of 2-3 limes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small scallion/onion, diced
2 Torch Ginger flower petals, finely diced
1/2 Scotch Bonnet, finely sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
sea salt and pepper, to taste

1. Mix all the salad ingredients in a bowl and prepare the dressing.
2. For dressing, mix the lime, sugar, sesame oil in a small bowl and marinate the garlic, onions, Ginger Torch, Scotch Bonnet (if using) in this lime mixture for about 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to come out. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to distribute. Serve immediately or keep in the fridge to chill before eating (note: the ginseng leaves do not wilt).


Anonymous said...

I would love to be in your you picking and peak afterwards in your kitchen how you prepare your lovely colourful dishes;)

Unknown said...

And I would love for you to come and visit me, Dzoli! There's always something to pick in my mother's garden :-).

Norm said...

Aw, what cute pics! Thanks SO much Maya, we had a fab afternoon and are having such fun planning how we're going to use the veg! I made a ginseng salad last night actually, but with fresh pineapple and cashew nuts, and a dressing of lime juice and sesame oil. I think it might be stuffed pumpkin tonight... just in the process of writing down the recipe. Will be blogging later...!

Kate xxx

Unknown said...

Kate, your ginseng salad sounds RAD, with nuts too! It was fun having you guys over, we must do it again once your stash has run out...

Enjoy the stuffed pumpkin, ours was SO good that I'm dying to make it again!

TinaRBK said...

You are lucky to have a skilled gardener in your family-ha especially one that is not afraid to smuggle some goodies in!
An afternoon of picking in that garden and a tasty salad for lunch I am sure made for a great time. Pass the salad-yum!

Vicki Bensinger said...

I didn't grow up exposed to such incredible vegetation, I wish I had. So I've never tried Ginseng leaf but I'm sure it's wonderful. What type of leaf is it similar to that I may know?

This is such a lovely salad. I've even noticed in the grocery stores that they now have Pomegranate seeds in bags that you can simply add to your salads instead of picking them out of the fruit. They're always trying to think of new things to make cooking easier.

I'm going to try this recipe with Arugula, and the dressing which sounds delish. I may have to use just a bit of the Scotch Bonnet since it's sooooo hot!

Thanks for sharing.

Gerry @Foodness Gracious said...

Great post and awesome pics, I really want to see that hot sauce recipe as you know I love spicy!!
Take care..

wok with ray said...

Beautiful garden of veggies -- reminds me of grandma's home growing up! Scotch Bonnets? Is it similar to Habanero? If it is, oh boy, that pepper is explosively HOT! I love your photography, Maya.

~ ray ~

Anonymous said...

The pomegranates are just so pretty!

Unknown said...

davvero originale e goloso qusto piatto! complimenti davvero, un bacione :)

Three-Cookies said...

I didn't realise that about gardeners - that they are always happy. When some people are stressed, they go for a walk in the park, run, work in the garden whereas gardeners are there all the time. It makes sense. Nice salad BTW.

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious looking salad looks wonderful

Jenny VintageSugarcube) said...

Maya- I love sooo many things about your posts; but learning about new fruit/vegetables/herbs/edible flowers is mos def one of my favorites. In 2012, I have to visit Brunei.

Unknown said...

The salad looks great.

Zoe said...

This is beautiful. What an exotic salad combination!

Sandra said...

You have a ginseng growing around your house..??? wow, now that is amazing, I am drinking ginseng tea almost every evening!!! I love this salad, and never knew that you can eat interesting, we learn something new every day:)) Great photos, Maya:))

Anonymous said...

The salad is stunning! I pretty much kill every plant I touch - I always WANT to grow plants and have a garden, but it never works out.

Honey Bunny and I decided that we are going to try again next year! I'm always hopeful!

Lilly said...

Your mom's yard is amazing!!! I would love to bring seeds and such back from travelling, but I’m too chicken. I don’t want to get into trouble at customs.
You are so lucky to have freshly picked veggies. Home grown is the best!
The salad looks like a party cuz all the ingredients rock! Have a great week =)

Nancy said...

Hi Maya! So this is what you meant when you said you were going pumpkin picking, wow! Your mother is a very talented and passionate gardener. It looks like you had a fabulous day. I also read Kate's post and saw her lovely photos. I can't wait for your hot sauce recipe, those are my hubby's favorite peppers. Also what are you going to do with the pumpkin? This ginseng salad looks so fresh, healthy and I'm sure it tasted as great as it looks.

Savoring Italy said...

Maya-I adore your mom and her amazing garden!She reminds me of my dad and my mother-in-law...they smuggle plants and can grow just any thing:)My dad is proud of his herbs he brought back from Sicily. The rosemary is now planted in my garden, too:)Gorgeous salad.xx

Evelyne CulturEatz said...

You know I have impatiently waiting to see the recipe post since the tease last week. I have to try ginseng leaves now in a salad lol. Everything about this salad is exciting, love it

Carol Egbert said...

A most beautiful and colorful salad.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous, from the flavors to the presentation!
Found you through YBR, love the blog you have here! :)

Nancy said...

Hi Maya, Stopped by to say thanks for participating in the YBR! So thanks ;) Hope you are well.

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