Friday, March 25, 2011

Asian Cole Slaw

One of my coworkers brought this dish to a potluck a few years ago, and I fell in love. I've since added my own tweaks. I love to make this in the spring and summer, to go with all the yummy grilled food that gets made this time of year.

The first thing you'll want is a container with a tight seal. Usually I use those plastic food containers with the screw top, but we must have a Tupperware gnome, because all of our plastic containers are disappearing. So instead, today I used a Bell jar. Any kind of container would be fine here, as long as it has a tightly fitting lid.

Measure out some sugar and pour it in.

Next is some vegetable oil.

Vinegar is next. I use both apple cider vinegar (for some extra tang) and rice wine vinegar (for a more Asian flavor.)

Soy sauce adds to the Asian flavor profile.

Sesame oil just makes things smell nice!

I give the dressing a small pinch of salt (to add another element to the dressing--just a tiny pinch, mind you, there are other aspects here that add a salty flavor), as well as a few cracks from my pepper grinder and a small shake of crushed red pepper flakes.

I like looking at the dressing before it's mixed up--the liquid trying to soak into the sugar reminds me of a lava lamp.

Once you're done watching the bubbles, you can give your dressing a good shake and set it aside.

To add some crunch to your cole slaw, nab a package of ramen noodles. I used Oriental flavor, but use whatever flavor you like best (I think they all taste fairly similar.) If you're taking this salad to a potluck, a package of shrimp flavor and some of those little salad shrimps would jazz it up a little.

Anyhow, crush up your noodles. If you've got a kid, they'll love this job!

Pour the crushed noodles into a small baking dish (and use your hands to break up any huge lumps of noodles you may have missed.

Sprinkle the noodles with some sesame oil.

Shake in the ramen seasoning packet.

Add a handful of slivered almonds. Then give the noodles a good toss, and make sure the seasoning gets a good mix.

Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until the nuts and noodles get a little color, and let cool.

Now you're ready to assemble your cole slaw. I make it in small, individual-sized batches, since the cole slaw tends to become wilted after a while. If you're taking this somewhere, I would wait until the last minute to assemble it. Give your dressing a good shake. Pour some dressing over the cole slaw and toss. I like to make sure my cabbage is well coated.

Then sprinkle in as much of the ramen noodle mix as you like, and stir it in. Let the flavors meld for a few minutes, and then dig in!

Asian Cole Slaw

1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
salt and pepper, to taste
a pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 package ramen noodles
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 c. sliced almonds

1 bag cole slaw mix

In a container with a tight-fitting lid, combine sugar, oil, vinegars, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes. Shake well and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F. Crush ramen noodles. Pour into a small baking dish; coat with sesame oil. Add almonds and sprinkle on seasoning packet from ramen noodles. Toss everything together. Bake for 20-25 minutes until nuts and noodles are lightly golden brown. Let cool fully.

Toss cole slaw mix with dressing. Add noodles and toss again. Serve immediately.

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