Lichen salad

Lichen salad

By
From
Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong
Serves
4
Photographer
Stuart Scott

Shaxi’s landscape was so stunning, and the air so crisp, that I promptly borrowed a bicycle and cruised around the charming old town and countryside. What took my eye were two ladies skilfully carving something from a tree. It was fresh lichen — an astonishing partnership between two very di‘fferent organisms, fungus and alga. Lichen inhabit just about any solid surface in less extreme climates, from rocks and walls to trees and concrete. A few are unattached and blow about freely. Once known as a peasant food, lichen is now a delicacy. Locals tell me it’s their secret to living past the age of 90 years. I am ‘lichen’ the sound of that …

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
150g fresh lichen or fresh black fungus, cut in half
2 whole dried chinese white fungus, soaked in water for 30 minutes, then sliced
1 small handful coriander, roughly chopped

Dressing

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chinese red vinegar
2 tablespoons chinese black vinegar
60ml light soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, ‡finely chopped
4cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
2 spring onions, ‡finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes

Method

  1. Combine the dressing ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside and allow the flavours to infuse for 10 minutes.
  2. Place the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the dressing and toss well.
  3. Transfer to a platter and serve.
Tags:
Greater
Mekong
Luke
Nguyen
Red
Lantern
Vietnam
Vietnamese
Asian
Asia
South
East
Southeast
South-east
SBS
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