Sometimes the lack of certain ingredients can force us to try a new recipe. For us, the lack of quality mayonnaise in Ecuador has been a challenge. Even the olive oil we purchase doesn’t always guarantee a good tasting mayo; I think many of the bottles must sit at the port in the hot sun in Guayaquil before making their way up north to Quito.
We can use mayo subsitutes – concoctions made from boxed tofu or thick yogurt mixed with spices. But they all fall short when it comes to a truly delicious creamy coleslaw. So we decided to ditch the mayonnaise altogether and discovered a new favorite salad for my teenage son, a lover of crunchy, salty, and spicy foods. Maybe it will end up being a favorite of yours.
This coleslaw has Indian origins. You’ll notice that in the final technique we saute spices in oil before adding them to the final dish. The spices release flavor into the oil which then adds a subtle richness to the coleslaw. This is an essential trick of Indian cooking used in salads, lentil dishes, and some curries. You’ll find yourself using this technique in other ways and even using different spices.
And feel free to add other vegetables, like grated carrots, julienned cucumbers, thinly sliced red peppers and sweet onion, or even replace the hot pepper flakes with a minced fresh jalepeño. A small addition of minced cilantro would also be tasty. You can make this salad as colorful as you like!
Connor’s Favorite Coleslaw
One medium sized cabbage, shredded
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
juice of one lime or lemon
1/2 cup raw peanuts
1/2 – 1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida, a spice found in Asian grocery stores if not in your own local grocery store