I’ve been on a cabbage kick recently. It all started last week, when I promised to make dinner for some friends. Only my student loan refund hasn’t come in yet, and I’ve been scrapping the bottom of the financial barrel, a situation that necessitates frugal cooking. I settled up on teriyaki chicken (I had a big bag of chicken tenders from Trader Joe’s in the freezer), brown rice and stir-fried veggies with ginger and garlic. Cabbage, being cheap, was a essential component of the big bowl of veggies.
In addition to being cheap, cabbages are also quite large, so I only used half of each in the stirfry, knowing that I had a potluck to go to Friday night. This is where the coleslaw comes in. I learned how to make coleslaw from the Frog Commissary Cookbook the first summer I lived in Philly, and have been riffing on their recipe ever since. The one I made Friday that is pictured above is inspired by asian flavors (mostly because there was a little nub of ginger staring at me from the counter as I was making it). Most people think of coleslaw as being a summer dish that is soaked in a sweet mayonnaise-y dressing. This one is a whole other, hugely delicious beast that is wonderful in the winter when you are dying for something that is a little bit puckery and crispy.
You will find the recipe after the jump…
Red and Green Coleslaw with Black Sesame Seeds
1/2 head of green cabbage
1/2 head of red cabbage
1 red pepper
1/2 cup of seasoned rice wine vinegar (it’s okay if you want to use a different style of vinegar, but you’re going to have to add a little sweetener if you do, as the seasoned stuff comes a bit presweetened)
3/4 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 inch of ginger, peeled and grated
coarse black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
Shred the cabbage. I always do it with a knife, I find that using a grater or a food process makes the pieces too small, and part of why I like this coleslaw is for it’s crunch. Cut the red pepper into very thin strips, no more than two inches long. You can pull out the grater for the carrot if you want, although I tend to cut it into matchstick sized pieces, so that it has a little more substance than the grater would leave it with. The goal is to have veggies that are all roughly the same thickness and length. Mound all the veggies in a large mixing bowl, so that you’ll have room to combine with dressing.
Mix the elements of the dressing together in a small bowl and whisk together. Taste it to make sure that the flavor balance is to your liking. If it is, pour over the veggies. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on and stir until all the veggies are slicked with the dressing.
Let the coleslaw sit for at least a half hour before serving, so that the flavors have some time to mingle. This is one of those dishes that just gets better over time, if you live with others, you will find yourself fighting over the leftovers.
*If you want to turn this coleslaw into a full meal, poach a couple of chicken breaks in some water or chicken stock (adding a little fresh ginger to the poaching liquid would be an inspired move). Let them cool a bit and then shred with a fork. Blend into the coleslaw and eat.
**Because I was making this coleslaw for a potluck, I left out cilantro. I love the stuff, but some people hate it, and I find that the coleslaw is just fine with out it. However, if you’re a cilantro fan, I’d say go for it.