What happened to good old fashioned coleslaw? I say good but actually, so many times it wasn’t, sometimes in fact it has been downright terrible. Limp, greasy, over oniony, short on seasoning, cabbage too big, drowned in cheap mayo etc etc. Poor coleslaw has hung its head in shame and hidden at the back of the buffet table. Until now and talk about a makeover – the humble coleslaw has had some sort of sonic reinvention, spruced up and started wearing international couture. Asian Slaw, Spicy Slaw, Citrus Slaw, Moroccan Slaw – it’s thrown off its dowdy mayo, lost the Cole and got down and funky with the kids. Spicy, herby, tangy or hot – Slaw can be anything you like as long as it is crunchy.
I love a crunchy salad and regulars to these pages will know I am not stranger to this type of side. My Christmas Salad (December 2013), the Thai-ish Salad (November 2015), Carrot Salad (January 2013) and of course the Celeriac Remoulade (January 2016) are variations on the slaw theme. They are all cheap and easy to rustle up, happily retain their crunch for a couple of days in the fridge and will go with a myriad of other things as well as being perfect for lunch on their own (I particularly like this ones with a piece of cold salmon). There is an added bonus though and its a huge and resounding boom of a bonus. Children love them. Who knew that getting raw veggies into children could ever be so easy? My son particularly likes my Christmas Salad and regularly has if for his packed lunch. My daughter however adores this gingery, piquant New Slaw the best, told me it is her favourite salad and had it three times this week.
Carrots, fennel, beetroot, cabbage (green, white or red), radish, celeriac, apple, broccoli – any of these work well. Then do you want a sharp, zingy dressing, maybe spicy too? Or perhaps a creamy dressing, a little more traditional although I favour yogurt or creme fraiche here over the ubiquitous mayo. Add herbs, lots of them and seeds are good too. Sometimes I add dried cranberries or raisins as I love that little burst of sweetness. Customise your slaw as you please, make your own bespoke version. We eat one of these raw, crunchy types of salad a few time a week and this one is the current favourite. Gingery, herby and with a little heat it goes perfectly with barbecued chicken and I will post my favourite grilled chicken recipe in the next week or so. Meanwhile may the crunch be with you, it is delicious and you can just feel it doing you good.
The other day I didn’t have any cabbage so used more carrots and it was just as good. Different but just as good and that is the point of these slaws really, add a little more or less of something as you please, make it your own.
3 carrots, peeled
1/4 of a small red or green cabbage, core removed and finely chopped
6 radishes, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
A thumb of ginger, peeled
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
A small packet of coriander
A small packet of mint
A handful of raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil, a light one
Juice of 1 lime, you may need 2 depending on their size and juiciness.
Grate the carrots and put into a large bowl with the radishes, onions, cabbage and chilli. I use a box grater for this rather than an attachment in the processor as I find using this makes the veggies really wet. Finely grate the ginger, add this to the bowl along with the olive oil and lime juice. Season and mix well with your hands so that everything is combined. Chop or snip the herbs over the salad, add the raisins/cranberries if using, mix once more and serve to happy faces.