A salad /side dish recipe? Yeah, you read that right. This is a Filipino side dish, “ensaladang” is a borrowed Spanish word meaning salad and “labanos” is simply radish. Although the name of the dish means salad, it is a side dish, a perfect partner for fried seafood or pork.
My grandmother made this all the time when I was in grade school. It’s another one of the recipes that she never taught me or my mom to make. Usually, when she’s in the kitchen, i’d be watching her prepare the ingredients and would ask her if I can help, and grandma will always send me away. She doesn’t like anyone messing with her ‘kitchen’. That’s why, until she passed away, she never taught anyone the recipe(s) she knew!
Oh well, decades later, when I can safely say that I can handle myself inside the kitchen (now I know how my grandma feels when someone is ‘bothering’ her while cooking, haha!) I finally made my grandma’s ‘Ensaladang labanos’! And it’s just how it tasted exactly the first time she asked me to try it out, years and years and years ago. So here’s the recipe:
ENSALADANG LABANOS (Radish Salad)
1 1/2 cups radish, sliced into strips
2 small tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 small onion, sliced thinly
1/3 cup vinegar (or less, depends on how much you want to use)
1/8 cup rock salt
1. Combine salt and radish strips and set aside for about 20 to 30 minutes. (The salting process removes the bitter taste of the radish).
2. After 30 minutes, the salted radish can now be squeezed to death (haha!) Wash the squeezed radish strips with water and drain water, or you can squeeze again, not too much this time.
3. In a glass jar or plastic container, combine the radish strips, tomatoes, onion and vinegar.
4. Serve with any kind of fried seafood or pork.
You might think that this will have a strong sour taste, but no. There is a hint of onion flavor as well as the tomato; and the crunch of the radish is just perfect if you’re looking for that certain texture in food.
This side dish can be stored in the fridge and can last for more than a week.