Indian coleslaw

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My dad and I have a penchant for the same side dishes: steamed or grilled broccoli, salad with honey mustard dressing, and coleslaw. I can say that my dad orders one of those things every time that he eats in a restaurant, and I probably do at least 50% of the time. We find foods that we like, and we stick to them.

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So when I saw a recipe for coleslaw, but different coleslaw, my interest piqued. When I think of coleslaw that I really love, I do not think of the vinegary, cream-free side dish that my grandma makes in the summer; my mind zooms into the mayo-based, thick-cut cabbage served alongside barbecue and chicken tenders. So sweet, so tangy. I’m salivating right now thinking about it. What a weird food to not be able to resist, right?

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Well, if you’re thinking “eh” about my little ode to coleslaw right now, here is a surprise: This Indian coleslaw is not like your grandma, or your BBQ joint, or your neighborhood restaurant makes it. In fact, I’d never eaten anything like this coleslaw before, but man am I glad that I have now.

It’s kind of spicy, and crisp of course, but it’s filled with ingredients that just, well, they just make it exotic. This coleslaw is yellow, flavored with turmeric and cilantro, sweetened with shredded coconut and dotted with crunchy peanuts. It’s surprising– yellow coleslaw!– and it’s completely delicious. I’m sure my dad would not order this in a restaurant if he found out how different it is from our normal coleslaw friend, but since I know that variety is the spice of life (while accepted my hard-headed affections), I’ll wholeheartedly try a variation on one of my favorite simple sides. And recently, I’ve eaten more of this Indian coleslaw than the version I grew up with.

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Indian coleslaw
from The Splendid Table
makes 4 to 6 servings
four-stars

 

1 bag of coleslaw mix
1 or 2 fresh Serrano chiles, stems discarded (amount based on how much spice you like)
¼ cup roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
¾ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
juice from 1 lime
2 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

 

1. Slice the chiles in half lengthwise and then cut each half as thinly as you can into half moons, leaving the rib and seeds in the chile.

2. In a large bowl, mix together coleslaw mix, chile slices, peanuts, coconut, cilantro, salt and lime juice.

3. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Once sizzling (sprinkle in a little water to determine this), add the mustard seeds and cover the pan. The seeds will pop, like the sound of popcorn when cooked on the stove. Once the popping stops (or when the pops are within a few seconds of each other, like when making popcorn), remove the pan for the heat and stir in the tumeric.

4. Dump the mixture over the cabbage and mix until everything is tinged with the yellow liquid. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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