20 February 2013

Coleslaw with an asian twist

Coleslaw used to be one of my favourite salads. Childhood days in my Mum's late 1970s kitchen, when Margaret Fulton ruled (she still does occasionally), and when a "salad" was always lettuce, tomato and cucumber with french dressing. There were only two other variations - Potato salad (with bacon chips from a jar) and the aforementioned, sweet and dripping with store bought "coleslaw" dressing. My mum used to add nutmeg and somehow this translated it into a dessert rather than a vegetable. But one day, I tried the coleslaw from a take-out restaurant, and this soggy mess with raw onions and bland flavour destroyed it for me. I will never eat coleslaw again.

But, I will take some of the ingredients, and give it my own twist. I'll eat this kind, and so does everyone else - it's a party favourite. It even has a crunch honouring my mum's bacon chips on potato salad.

  • 2 cups grated carrot (or fine julienne is better if you can be bothered)
  • 2 cups finely sliced red cabbage (also called purple cabbage or blue kraut)
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • 3 tbsp white Japanese sweet sauce (*see note on sauces)
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup aloo bhujia for topping **
  1. Dry toast the sesame seeds in a pan on a hotplate for a minute or two, flipping frequently. Then add to carrot, cabbage and herbs in a salad bowl
  2. Combine dressing ingredints (teriyaki, sweet sauce and sesame oil), and pour over, then toss the salad
  3. Just before serving, sprinkle the aloo bhujia on top. I use about 1/2 cup, but feel free to use more to taste.

Japanese sweet sauce is very similar to sweet Mirin (the non-alcoholic kind you buy from the supermarket, not the real deal), just a little sweeter and less acidic. If you can't find the non-descript "sweet sauce", substitute 2 tbsp Mirin and 1/2 tbsp honey.
Teriyaki sauces differ widely. I usually use Kikkoman's Teriyaki marinade and sauce. It's as fluid as a soy sauce, just a little lighter and sweeter. I have made the dressing with soy instead, and it works well. Just be a little more sparing as it is much richer and saltier. You may also need to add more sweetener to combat this - brown sugar, or honey.

**Aloo Bhujia:
This is the indian version of the potato chip. It's like little vermicelli noodles made of fried potato and rolled in spices. I love them for my gluten free family. You should be able to find it in most supermarkets here in the UAE, elsewhere you may have to look in an Indian grocer or specialty store. If you would like to substitute, anything small, spicy and crunchy will do. Fried noodles would work a treat, or even some two minute noodles, crushed a little. Just test them first to ensure they aren't too hard to eat raw. You might also want to add some finely chopped red chilli to the dressing if the noodles have no kick to them (and, if you need to, a sprinkle of powdered chicken stock to give it that MSG burst ;p ).

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I love salads like this...they really add interest to the meal (plus you get your veggies)! I'll have to get the ingredients and try it!


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