Asian Slaw

August 24, 2015
Asian Coleslaw

Every Saturday morning, I sit down at the kitchen table with a notepad, a pen, and a glass of ice water.  Then, with a weighty and strategic approach typically reserved for chess and army invasions, I proceed to plan our meals for the week.  I aspire to make my meal plan into a masterwork of logistical intricacy that takes into account produce seasonality, recipe preparation times, my planned workout schedule, Mike's fluctuating demand for leftovers, our current food preferences, and ingredient inventories.  A solid meal plan is a thing of beauty, each meal's ingredients interlocking with the others like Lego bricks.  A subpar meal plan leaves me staring moodily into the pantry, as if the ultimate answer lies between the olive oil and the canned chickpeas.  There is a reason that Mike leaves me alone in the kitchen until it's all over.

My slightly-obsessive meal planning strategy means that many of the blog's recipes complement each other: the remaining half bag of egg noodles from haluski can become tuna noodle; one 3.5 ounce package of crumbled feta cheese is about one cup, enough for couscous stuffed peppers (1/2 cup), green shakshuka (1/4 cup), and marinated tomato salad with arugula and feta (1/4 cup).  I am fully capable of planning an entire week's worth of meals around a 69 cent bunch of cilantro (the little search box in the blog's right sidebar comes in handy for that).  So while the peanut coleslaw recipe I posted last week has been a lovely addition to the recipe repertoire, it presents a problem in the form of half a red cabbage, most of a bag of carrots, and my old nemesis, a partial bunch of cilantro.  The solution?  This Asian slaw (also, spicy maple roasted carrots and eating chopped raw cabbage drizzled with soy sauce and pretending that it is a fulfilling snack).

Granted, it does seem like cheating to use extra slaw ingredients to make more slaw.  However, differing flavor profiles set the two recipes apart.  In the peanut slaw, the focus is on the mildly nutty dressing and crushed red pepper; in this Asian slaw, the cabbage is front and center, tossed with ginger and dressed in lime juice tempered with a bit of sugar.  As I did for the peanut slaw, I used a food processor to  shred the cabbage, and grated the carrot by hand with a box grater.

Adapted from The Heart of the Plate by Mollie Katzen


Asian Coleslaw Ingredients
  • 2 cups finely shredded red cabbage (a bit less than a quarter of a large cabbage)
  • 2 cups grated carrot (about two large carrots)
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into thin matchstick-sized strips
  • 4 green onions, white and light green parts finely diced and dark green parts thinly sliced (white/light green and dark green parts kept separate)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2-3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup snow peas, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Combine the cabbage, carrot, bell pepper, white and light green parts of the green onions, ginger, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir until evenly combined and let sit a room temperature for one hour.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and sugar.  Pour dressing over slaw and toss to combine.  Cover and refrigerate for another hour.

Stir and add additional lime juice and sugar to taste, if desired.  Cover and refrigerate until serving, at least one additional hour.

Before serving, stir in the snow peas and garnish with cilantro and dark green parts of the green onions.

Asian Coleslaw