It’s winter here so our cold weather crops are doing very well. Some of the cabbages are ready to harvest, so I thought I’d make one of our favorite recipes — Asian Cole Slaw. The “secret” ingredient in this cole slaw is broken up bits of uncooked Top Ramen noodles. It gives the slaw a great crunchy taste.
Now, variations of this recipe are no doubt found in every church or community cookbook out there. I adapted this recipe from my mom’s old stomping grounds, Idyllwild, California. (Michiganders will be interested to know that Idyllwild is home to the Interlochen of the west and attracts lots of artists and musicians.)
Can anyone raised on church basement potlucks ever forget the jello cottage cheese salads or tator tot casseroles? (photos below) Yes, those are in this cookbook too.
Yeah, well, this Asian Coleslaw is different. It tastes really good and is healthy too, even if it does come from one of these types of cookbooks.
I started off picking a large cabbage from our garden.
While I was picking some fresh onions from the garden…
Cabbagehead came and stole my cabbage!
Fortunately, I was able to wrest it away from him. I quickly shredded it before he could steal it again. (Those of you lucky enough to live in countries where your food processor works can use that to shred your cabbage.)
Next, chop your 8 green onions. It turns out that what I thought were green onions in our garden are some sort of red onions, and large ones at that, so I chopped the cleaned greens and saved the red part for tomorrow’s surprise recipe. Wish I had saved the seed package so I would know what type of onion this was!
Next, brown 1 cup of sliced almonds, 3/4 cup sesame seeds and the chopped onions in a tablespoon of oil. Because I had both black and cream-colored sesame seeds, I used both.
As an aside, expats will be glad to know you can get all of these things here, but you’ll have to do a lot of driving. I got the black sesame seeds at the commissary, the traditional sesame seeds at Pick n Pay in Woodlands, the large bag of sliced almonds at SuperSpar in Arcades, and the rice vinegar at the Melissa shopping center. The Top Ramen noodles (or some suitable substitute) you can get at all of these stores.
The rice vinegar was a surprise find — I had looked in all of the stores I normally frequent and even at the commissary and could find it no where. I was returning some videos in Kabulonga and thought, I’ll check Melissa, and sure enough, there it was, and reasonably priced to boot.
The coleslaw dressing is made up of 5T rice vinegar, 5T sugar, 1/2t sea salt, 1/2t ground pepper, 3/4 cup vegetable oil, and the packs of seasoning that come in the Top Ramen noodle packages. If you don’t use the ramen seasonings the slaw will be very bland. I tried getting by with just one seasoning pack and something was missing. When I added the required second pack the taste was perfect.
As an aside, you can only buy iodated salt here. Even coarse salt crystals are iodized. National law. Also, the vegetable oil here tends to be sunflower oil.
Mix your dressing well and then mix all of the ingredients together, except for the ramen noodles. Chill. Stir occasionally to mix the flavors.
Right before serving the slaw, mix in the ramen noodles. The slaw still tastes good the next day, even with soggy noodles. But, I prefer to keep the slaw and noodles separate until serving, so I’ll often dish up only the slaw we’re going to eat, add the proportional amount of noodles, and serve. The slaw only gets better with time (up to a point, obviously).
ASIAN COLESLAW RECIPE 1 head cabbage, shredded 1 cup sliced almonds 3/4 cup sesame seeds 8 green onions, chopped (include greens) 2 packages Top Ramen noodles Dressing 5 Tablespoons sugar 3/4 cup salad oil 5 Tablespoons rice vinegar 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cracked pepper 2 seasoning packages from the Top Ramen noodles (the slaw will be very bland without these) Brown sesame seeds, almonds and onions in small amount of oil. Mix all ingredients and toss in dressing, stirring well. Chill (stirring occasionally). Add broken up Ramen noodles and mix well just before serving.