Vegetable farmers are having a crisis: Prices are once again too high, and to add salt to the wound, they’re being blamed for oversupply. While one official “helpfully” suggested we can just eat more vegetables to address our food problems, it’s probably not that simple.
But okay, if it’s about “babangon tayo” DIY style, might as well start in a place we know well: our kitchens.
Eating your leafy greens in Filipino cuisine often involves some form of cooking, be it as part of a hearty sinigang, a flavorful pinakbet, a locally adapted chopsuey, or a simple but quintessential gisa or adobo. Not to mention the other usual ways we incorporate vegetables into our meals, such as ensaladas.
And while some days it’s perfectly fine to just slather your favorite store-bought or homemade dressing on your fresh greens, there are also times we get the (grown-up) craving for fresh veggies in a different way. Generously drizzle on some refreshing tangy-sweet mulberry vinegar, which is a simple mix of mulberries (locally called amoras or moras), honey, and olive oil. Add some addictively spicy dilis and some feta and panocha for hints of saltiness and sweetness, and you’ve got a new favorite salad you can enjoy with all the leafy greens you can grab at your local market.
Ingredients (4 servings)
2 cups kamote tops
2 cups dahon ng sili
2 cups lettuce leaf
5 tbsp mulberry vinegar
2 tbsp honey (optional)
5 tbsp olive or soybean oil
¼ cup feta cheese
3 tbsp pickled onions
¼ cup crushed panocha
For the crispy dilis:
½ cup dried dilis
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp sambal chili sauce or Sriracha
½ cup cornstarch
For the crispy dilis:
- Using a medium-sized bowl, combine salt, sugar, and cornstarch
- Prepare a separate medium-sized bowl and add in your chili sauce and dilis. Mix until everything is well coated
- Dip chili sauce-coated dilis in cornstarch mixture
- Over medium heat, deep-fry dilis until golden brown
- Place on a wide plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool down
For the salad:
- Pick out leaves without the stems and place in a bowl
- Rinse leaves and place in your salad spinner or pat dry with paper towels
- In a medium bowl, add your fruit vinegar, and gradually whisk in your soya oil or olive oil until well combined. Add honey to your liking. You may also mix these in a small food processor. Season with salt and pepper
- Place drained leaves in a mixing bowl and spoon over your dressing and toss
- Transfer in a mixing bowl and top with pickled onions, panocha, feta cheese, and crispy dilis