Recently I’ve eaten a lot of kale salads. I don’t know if it’s a new trend or I just haven’t noticed them before, but they seem to be on everyone’s menu these days. I wouldn’t think raw kale would be that tasty, but it really is. It has so much body and texture and really stands up to salad dressing. I’ve enjoyed every one I’ve eaten, but my favorite kale salad by FAR is the one served at Chuko, a ramen restaurant in Brooklyn. Now I love ramen, seriously, it might be my favorite food, but this kale salad is the best thing on the menu in my opinion and that’s saying a lot. I’m not the only one who thinks so – even The New York Times agrees. So, let me tell you about this salad. It’s a combination of raw and tempura fried kale (genius – fried kale may be the tastiest thing EVER), pickled golden raisins, dressed in a slightly sweet miso dressing and topped with thin fried strips of sweet potato. It’s crunchy, salty, sweet, sour… everything you could hope for in one bite. This is my attempt at recreating it. It’s not exact, but it’s pretty darn good. If you live in New York, run to Chuko right now and order the kimchi ramen, pork buns, and this salad. If you don’t live here, make this recipe. It’s the next best thing. You’ll love it.
PS) I started this blog one year ago today! Thanks for reading and all your support. Cheers!
Kale Salad with Sweet Potato, Pickled Raisins and Miso Dressing
Inspired by the kale salad at Chuko
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 sweet potato
- peanut oil
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups seltzer water
- pickled golden raisins (recipe below)
- miso dressing (recipe below)
Remove kale leaves from the stalks and cut into small pieces. Set 1/3 of the kale aside to fry and leave the rest raw. (Kale can be tough, so make sure to cut it up into small pieces. Smaller leaves are more tender. If you can find baby kale, even better).
Peel sweet potato. You want to cut very thin strips of the potato. I found the easiest way to achieve this was to continue using my vegetable peeler and then cut those peels into thinner strips. A mandoline would work as well. Set aside. (You’re not going to need to peel the entire potato, just a handful of strips for each salad)
Heat up a pot full of peanut oil. Use a candy/deep fry thermometer so that you can keep the oil in the deep fry range.
While the oil is heating, mix together the flour, corn starch, seltzer water and a pinch of salt to make the tempura batter. You do not want to overmix this batter. It should be lumpy. I used chopsticks to stir it. Don’t make this ahead of time – you want to use it immediately. Add your reserved kale leaves. Again, chopsticks worked well for adding and removing the kale leaves from the batter.
When the peanut oil is in the deep fry zone add your tempura battered kale and fry until lightly golden. I worked in small batches. It takes less than a minute, so don’t leave the pot. Remove kale from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt while the kale is draining. Next, add the sweet potato strips to oil. You do not need to batter these. Remove from the oil, drain on paper towel, and salt once lightly browned. They too take less than a minute.
Combine your raw kale, tempura-fried kale, pickled raisins, and lightly dress with the miso dressing. Top each salad with the fried sweet potato strips. Enjoy!
Pickled Golden Raisins
- 1 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 3/4 cups water
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 3 juniper berries
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 10-12 minutes. Let the mixture cool completely. Refrigerate raisins in the pickling liquid for up to three days; strain before using.
From 101 Cookbooks
(You can find miso at most gourmet groceries or Asian markets. They have it at Whole Foods)
- 2 tablespoons miso
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard (or a bit of whatever mustard you have around)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or honey or agave)
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup mild flavored extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon pure toasted sesame oil (optional)
Make the dressing by whisking the miso, mustard, and brown sugar together. Now whisk in the rice vinegar and keep whisking until it’s smooth. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, and then the sesame oil. Two pinches of fine grain salt. Taste and make any adjustments if needed.