This Asian Pork Salad is a delicious and healthy way to enjoy char siu pork. It is nutritious, flavourful, and perfect for a quick and easy meal and sure to be a hit with family and friends.
Our Asian Pork salad is ideal for picnics and potlucks, it is packed with fresh vegetables and flavourful herbs, and it can be made ahead of time so that you can enjoy your event without having to worry about preparing food on the spot.
Ingredients and Substitutions
In this Asian Pork Salad, we have used young, tender choy sum for its mildly sweet flavour, which compliments the earthiness of the red cabbage, fresh herbs and tart vinaigrette - a perfect partner to the sweet Char Siu Pork fillet.
- Char Siu Pork - in this instance, I have used some char siu pork that I bought from the Deli. You can also find it in Asian food stores, but I like to make my Char Siu Pork from scratch using a recipe from Nagi at Recipe Tin Eats. If you really can't get your hands on any, then try some ham steaks cooked in hoi sin sauce.
- Choy sum - this forms the base of our salad; swap it for baby bok choy or pak choy or baby spinach leaves.
- Red cabbage - used to add some colour, but you can go for Wombok/Napa cabbage, or even a thinly sliced ordinary white cabbage would be fine.
- Carrot - used for some colour and added crunch, swap for some daikon/Asian white radish or plain radishes, which will add a peppery element as well.
- Fresh herbs - we have used coriander/cilantro leaves and fresh mint. Swap for any Asian herbs you prefer - amaranth, Thai basil, and purple basil are all great alternatives.
- Asian vinaigrette - we have made a simple vinaigrette with lime, rice vinegar and sesame oil dressing which comes together easily and adds some nice tartness to combat the sweetness of the char siu pork.
How To Make This Salad
Step 1 - Prepare the Vegetables
Cut off the base of the choy sum stalks and trim them to remove any fibrous outer husk. Remove any wilted, yellowed or damaged leaves.
Wash under cold running water, taking extra care to remove any dirt between the leaves and stalks, then drain and pat dry. Then thinly shred the choy sum with a sharp knife.
You must be careful when handling red cabbage as it discolours easily. Wash it carefully to remove any dirt, and remove the core and the outer leaves.
Shred finely using a mandoline/v-slicer slicer, with a sharp knife or with the slicing attachment in a food processor.
Once shredded place it in a colander and give it a good rinse in the sink, making sure that you let the excess water drain out before adding it to your salad.
Very young carrots just need to be scrubbed clean and topped and tailed. Older carrots may need to be peeled (but try not to take too much off as most of the nutrients are stored beneath the skin.
For this recipe, you will need to cut your carrots into a fine julienne. This can be done using a julienne peeler or with the julienne attachment on your mandoline/v-slicer.
Step 2 - Chop Your Herbs
Place your herbs in a colander and rinse well under gently running cold water, then pat dry. Strip the mint leaves from the stems.
If your coriander has tender stems, then roughly chop; otherwise, strip the coriander leaves from the stems to add to your salad.
Step 3 - Assemble Your Asian Pork Salad
Place all the vinaigrette ingredients in a glass jar, season and shake well until emulsified; taste and adjust seasonings according to your liking.
Add all the prepared vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad, and season with salt and pepper.
Toss your salad until well combined, taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
Place the salad on a large platter.
Arrange the char siu pork slices on top.
Drizzle the hoisin sauce on top.
Scatter with the sesame seeds and serve and enjoy!
Some Variations to Try
If you are not a fan of pork, you can substitute with…
- a store-bought charcoal chicken, just shred the chicken and replace the Asian dressing with a pesto mayo to go with it (place 2 tbsps mayo, 1 tablespoon pesto, oil or water to loosen in a small bowl and whisk until combined).
- some crispy duck bought from an Asian takeaway,
- some rare roast beef from the deli and make a honey mustard dressing to go with in place of the Asian vinaigrette.
- some grilled chorizo and make this smoked paprika dressing to drizzle on top instead.
- add avocado and some mixed seeds or nuts to make it vegan great with a za’atar dressing.
Tips and Questions
What is the Difference Between Choy Sum and Yu Choy?
- They are the same thing, choy sum in Mandarin and yow choy in Cantonese. Yu choy translates to oil vegetable and is used to produce oil.
- Choy sum/yu choy has slender stems that are pale green and firm with flat and lightly serrated green leaves. It is relatively mild and tender, with a slightly sweet flavour. Great in salads.
- Do not confuse it with Gai Lan or Chinese broccoli, which is larger, less tender and may have some yellow flowers. It has a more pronounced bitter and/or mustard-like flavour than choy sum. Best to cook with.
Can I Make This Salad Ahead of Time?
- Yes, this is a great salad that can be made one or two hours in advance and kept in the fridge. I would drizzle the hoi sin sauce and sesame seeds just before serving.
- You can prepare the vegetables and dressing the day before and keep the veggies in a container with water covered in the fridge and the vinaigrette in a glass jar.
- Drain the veggies, shake up the dressing and toss together before serving; then arrange the pork and add the garnishes.
How Can I Store My Asian Pork Salad?
- Keep it covered in an air-tight container in your fridge, and you will be able to enjoy it for a week or so.
- I like the leftovers in a wrap the next day or stirred through some noodles.
Can I Meal Prep for My Lunches?
- This Asian Pork Salad is a great recipe to food prep for lunches throughout the week.
- Prepare the salad vegetables and place them in separate containers; cut up the pork and put it on top; place the dressing in a small separate container to add just before eating; chop up some herbs the day before and scatter them on the top.
What Diets Is It Suitable For?
This is a dairy and nut-free salad; if you would like to make it gluten-free, paleo and whole30 compliant, then you will have to choose a brand of hoi sin sauce that would be suitable, or you could also try making your own healthy hoisin sauce recipe.
- Mandoline / V-Slicer or Julienne Peeler or a Food Processor
- 400 grams Char siu pork1 (approximately 14 ounces)
- 300 grams choy sum (1 bunch, approximately 10.6 ounces)
- 200 grams red cabbage (¼ small head, approximately 7 ounces or 2 cups shredded)
- 150 grams carrot (approximately 2 medium carrots - 5.3oz or 1½ cups grated)
- ⅓ cup coriander/cilantro (roughly chopped)
- ⅓ cup mint leaves
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- ⅓ cup neutral oil (either a MCT oil, peanut or grapeseed oil)
- 1 tablespoon Asian dark sesame oil
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted)
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce2
- Wash the choy sum trim the ends, then shred finely.
- Wash the red cabbage, remove the core and the outer leaves. Shred finely using a mandoline/v-slicer.
- Wash and peel your carrots, remove the tops and ends. Then cut into a fine julienne using a julienne peeler or the julienne attachment on your mandoline/v-slicer.
- If your char siu pork is not sliced, cut into thin rounds.
- Place all the vinaigrette ingredients in a glass jar, shake until emulsified.
- Add the herbs to your bowl with all the salad ingredients, pour the dressing over the salad, season with salt and pepper. Toss your salad until well combined, taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
- Place the salad on a large platter, arrange the pork slices on top, drizzle the hoisin sauce on top, scatter with the sesame seeds and keep chilled until ready to serve.
- Available from larger Coles & Woolworths Stores called Chinese BBQ pork
or Asian Food Stores or make your own.
- If you make your own Char Siu Pork, add a tablespoon of the pan juices.