Its summer in Australia, and to me that means salads. Crisp fresh vegetables, salad leaves and lots of them. The thing is that you very quickly get bored with making the same three options and so I find myself looking for inspiration continuously. Lucky me, I didn’t have to go too far for this idea. When I was living in Melbourne, my sister would make a divine Vietnamese Coleslaw often as frequently as once a week. I now live in Queensland and have found this version to be a little different each time I make it, yet the core flavours remain the same. I should also tip my hat to Kylie Kwong and her book on her journey to China. If I’m feeling a bit lost, or forgotten what I do, her book always reminds me of where to begin.
To make this work well, I find a sharp knife is essential to getting your veggies chopped really finely. What makes this special is the fine textures and then the fresh flavour and crunchiness of the veggies with the salty, vinegar of the dressing.
Leah’s Asian Coleslaw serves approx 4
- 1/4 Chinese Cabbage shredded (Wombok) – you can substitute normal white cabbage but I don’t find the leaves to be as tender
- approx 20 snow peas slices into fine batons
- 2 small carrots sliced into very fine batons approx same size as snow peas
- 1 stalk of celery sliced into fine batons approx same length as snow peas
- 1 birds eye chilli sliced finely (optional)
- 12 baby tomatoes, halved – use yellow and red if you can find them to add to the colour
- 2 x spring onions sliced finely
- 1/2 cup fresh dill tips
- 1/4 cup finely cut mint leaves
- 1/2 cup of coriander (cilantro) chopped finely
- 3 table spoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Cut all your veggies and mix together in a large bowl with the cut herbs and chilli. The vegetables should be about 4 – 5cm long (1 – 1/2 inches) and as fine as you can get it. In a smaller bowl mix the soy sauce, sesame seeds & oil, vinegar. Pour and mix into salad as you are about to serve. Can be left for a little period of time, but if left overnight your veg will start to go soggy.
I think that this would go fabulously will barbecued squid (secretly wishing I had some for dinner tonight), but it also goes well with poached chicken pieces, grilled fish or grilled prawns.