These sweet and sour Asian-style appetiser salad will whet your appetite for the meal to come.

SPICY CORALLINE SEAWEED SALAD

20g dried coral seaweed
20g shredded carrot
5g shredded red capsicum
5g shredded green capsicum
a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds

Dressing
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp chilli oil
1-2 tbsp honey or to taste
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame paste
dash of pepper

Soak dried coral seaweed in several changes of water for about 5 to 6 hours. Once the seaweed expands fully, rinse well then drain well in a plastic colander. Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Blanch the coralline seaweed in hot water for 10 seconds only. Remove and soak in ice cold water for 30 minutes, or until it turns crunchy again. Drain well.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir to mix well. Add the seaweed and the rest of the ingredients. Toss well. Transfer to serving dish.


Bittergourd sour plum delight

BITTER GOURD DELIGHT

250g bitter gourd
2-3 dried sour plums (asam boi)
1 tbsp kei chi (goji berry)
sugar to taste

Cut bitter gourd into half and scoop out the seeds and white pulp. Slice bitter gourd thinly with a mandolin. Soak the slices in a bowl of water with plenty of ice cubes.

Drain the cold bitter gourd slices well and pat dry completely with paper towels. Place into a mixing bowl.

Remove seeds from sour plums and chop or shred with a pair of scissors into crumbly bits.

Add the sour plum and kei chi to the bitter gourd in the mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar and toss until well mixed. Keep chilled for about an hour. Drain off any excess liquid.

Transfer to a plate and serve as an appetiser.


Crunchy black fungus salad

Crunchy black fungus salad

CRUNCHY BLACK FUNGUS

20g black fungus, soaked
60g cucumber, cut lengthwise, removing the core, and cut into wedges
2 bird’s eye chillies, sliced, removing the seeds

Dressing
1 tsp minced garlic
apple cider vinegar to taste
1 tsp caster sugar or to taste
1 tsp light soy sauce

Trim soaked black fungus into neat florets. Clean and rinse well, then drain.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Add the black fungus and toss to mix well.

Chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

At the same time, marinate the cucumber with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10 to 15 minutes.

Squeeze out excess water from cucumber and chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

Just before serving, combine the cucumber with the fungus and chillies.

Toss well and serve chilled.