Last September, my boyfriend RT and I were in Washington, DC to attend a wedding. After a long Sunday morning of touring the Mall, museums, and the lovely botanical garden with friends, we had worked up an appetite. I had my heart set on Indian lunch buffet and dragged the group north across the city from one locked door to another as we discovered that most Indian restaurants in DC are closed for Sunday lunch. Finally, hot, hungry, and racing the clock to catch our flights home, we abandoned our search and parked ourselves at the nearest open restaurant with shaded outdoor seating.
The place was Nooshi (for noodles + sushi). The sushi was decent, nothing to write home about. But the ginger salad lingered on my palate 11 months later, mostly because RT is still talking about it. I don’t remember who ordered the salad, but I do remember expecting to see a standard sushi joint green salad with bright orange dressing. We were all surprised (pleasantly so, because we were starving at this point) when a large metal bowl of slaw – served family style – appeared at our table. The bowl contained bitter shredded cabbage, salty savory roasted peanuts, acid sweet rice vinegar dressing and spicy pickled ginger, the kind generally served alongside sushi. Biting into the ginger had the same cooling effect as sucking on an Altoid or chewing a pice of cinnamon gum. The salad was more than refreshing; it was rejuvenating.
A lot has changed since last September. A few weeks ago, RT moved to DC. I am frolicking around the nation’s capital this week before I head back to Florida for my second year of law school. I planned on surprising him after work one day with Nooshi take-out. But when we stumbled across pickled ginger at the Korean owned market near his apartment, I had a better idea.
I recreated the salad/slaw, mimicking its flavors almost to a T. We paired it with grilled chicken sausage, and relished the spicy sweet cool crunch on a muggy DC summer evening. RT’s only complaint was that there were no leftovers to take for lunch.
inspired by Nooshi, Washington, DC
1/4 cup Japanese rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp sugar
1 head green cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot, shredded
1/4 cup pickled ginger
3/4 cup salted roasted peanuts
red pepper flakes
In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oils, lime juice, and sugar. Add cabbage and carrot and toss to coat. Add ginger and peanuts, toss to coat. Add red pepper and salt to taste.
Chill for at least 1/2 hour and serve cold.