Chrysanthemum leaf butashabu salad

Chrysanthemum leaves are a popular leafy green in East Asian cooking. Known as tong hao (茼蒿) in Mandarin and shungiku (春菊) in Japanese. I mainly grew up eating them in soups and to be honest they weren’t my favourite because they're quite bitter and very herbaceous and fragrant. I love them now, and use them in soups often, but they are also great as a salad. The mild bitterness is similar to rocket and the fragrance is more mild when its raw.

This salad uses my favourite salad dressing that I always keep in the fridge. You can mix the dressing with oil if you like, but lately I’ve preferred to mix the base only and add oil when I am dressing the salad. This allows me to control the amount of dressing I use and I can also change the oils depending on what I am making. Here I’ve used a combination of sesame oil and olive oil for flavour, but you could easily use grapeseed oil or other vegetable oil if you preferred. I also think chilli oil would be nice with this.

The “butashabu” part of the recipe title refers to the shabu-shabu style pork that is quickly poached and tossed through. In the picture this is also served with radish kimchi.

  • Cooking time



  • 1 bunch chrysanthemum leaves (tong hao in Chinese, shungiku in Japanese), picked
  • 1 cucumber, peeled at intervals and thinly sliced on a steep diagonal
  • 3 thick spring onions, thinly sliced on a steep diagonal
  • 150 g thinly sliced pork belly
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Pickled onion dressing base (makes extra)
  • 1 small brown onion, very finely grated
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar


  1. Start the dressing base at least an hour in advance. The onion needs time to pickle so that it is not too sharp and bitter. Combine all the ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine. It will keep in the fridge for a few months.
  2. Prepare the leaves by picking any thick stems, washing well, chilling in the fridge and spinning dry. Combine with the cucumber and spring onion.
  3. Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil and add the pork. Boil for just 30 seconds until cooked through, remove from the pot and drain well.
  4. Add the pork to the greens and toss with the sesame oil and olive oil. Add about 2 tablespoons of the dressing base and toss to combine just before serving.

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