This is a family recipe in a few ways. I first got obsessed with this salad a couple of years ago when one of my aunts was making it a lot. Hers was inspired by two different recipes (neither for Asian coleslaw), which I bothered her until she sent me, I thought it was so good I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I have been making my version of her salad (below) for long enough that it’s established its own pattern in my head of what “Asian Coleslaw” is like.
So, during our craft retreat, another aunt decided to make “Asian Coleslaw” with some veggies left in her fridge. Great! I offered to help, and had to laugh as soon as she started putting things in. Parsley? Olive oil instead of peanut or sesame? If you’re putting that, why not add this cauliflower? No? As it became more and more clear that our visions differed (and of course her version was also delicious) I realized that here was one of my own lessons coming back to me, of course you can make it with whatever you have and whatever you like! Please feel free to experiment.
This much will feed four as a side.
Combine in a bowl:
1/2 small cabbage (your favorite kind) shredded
3 medium carrots, grated
1/4 cup chopped cashews (peanuts and or/sesame seeds would also be good)
3 green onions/scallions, chopped fine (optional)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (and/or parsley or other herbs)
Dressing (I make this in my little food processor):
1 Tablespoon shallot, or 2 cloves of garlic
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil (you can also use peanut)
Juice of one small lime (or splash of rice vinegar, although I like lime better)
2 – 3 Tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons sugar or maple syrup
Squirt of hot sauce (or add serrano or another hot chile)
Process the dressing until everything is combined and chopped fine (you could also mince the solid ingredients by hand and combine everything in the bowl). Pour the dressing over the salad, toss, and you are done! This also keeps quite well in the fridge for several days.
I realized as I was thinking about posting this recipe that’s a really a year-round salad. I tend to think of it almost more for winter, since the ingredients are still readily available, and it provides a little something fresh when almost everything seems warm and stewed. But, it also makes me think of my cousin (sweating out the Brooklyn summer without AC) and everyone stuck in the Midwest heatwave – a tasty way to get your veggies without ever turning on the oven. I’m still making it here, even though our monsoon-season weather has been exquisite, so close to perfect that I keep sitting on the (brick) front steps with my laptop to feel the breezes. I’m telling you, the world’s best weather is in the mountain southwest, once it starts to rain.
One last note, my DIY envelope tutorial was featured on KP’s blog today! We became friends in person (when we lived in the same country) now I love keeping up with her fun projects and lovely photos (plus she has a recycle project challenge)!