Connor’s Favorite Coleslaw

Ingredients for Connor's Favorite Coleslaw - cabbage, lime, peanuts, asafaetida, red pepper flakes, mustard seed, salt, pepper, and sugar.

Ingredients for Connor’s Favorite Coleslaw – cabbage, lime, peanuts, asafaetida, red pepper flakes, mustard seed, salt, pepper, and sugar.

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

Shredded cabbage - to get it this fine, I put it through the food processor twice.

Shredded cabbage – to get it this fine, I put it through the food processor twice.

Toss the sugar, salt, and lime juice with the shredded cabbage.

Toss the sugar, salt, and lime juice with the shredded cabbage. Let sit while you prepare the other items.

Roast fresh peanuts in about 2 teaspoons of peanut oil or a high heat, neutral flavored oil.

Roast fresh peanuts in about 2 teaspoons of peanut oil or a high heat, neutral flavored oil. When brown, remove the peanuts from oil and place them in a mortar or food processor. The remaining oil will be cloudy but reserve it for a following step.

I prefer a mortar and pestle to grind the peanuts. If you choose a food processor, make sure to pulse and not puree. You want pieces not paste.

I prefer a mortar and pestle to grind the peanuts. If you choose a food processor, make sure to pulse and not puree.
You want pieces not paste.

Toss in the ground, roasted peanuts.

Toss the ground peanuts into the shredded cabbage.

Heat the red pepper flakes and mustard seeds in the remaining oil until the mustards begin to pop. They will sound like tiny pieces of popcorn.

Heat the red pepper flakes and mustard seeds in the remaining oil until the mustards begin to pop.
They will sound like tiny pieces of popcorn.

When you hear the mustard seeds pop, add the asafoetida. It will bubble and release a pungent fragrance. Take immediately off the heat. Then pour the contents, oil and all, into the shredded cabbage and toss.

When you hear the mustard seeds pop, add the asafoetida. It will bubble and release a pungent fragrance. Take immediately off the heat. Then pour the contents, oil and all, into the shredded cabbage and toss.

The finished coleslaw.

The finished coleslaw all ready to eat. We recommend serving this the same day it is made.

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5 thoughts on “Connor’s Favorite Coleslaw

  1. Wow, looks great, Ang. I’ve been looking for another slaw to take to potlucks so veg-loving people have some alternatives. The spice in this one has won me over. Thanks.

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  2. You make me hungry AJ!
    Speaking of Guayaquil, do y’all get down often? The Parque Historoico there is amazing. Many of the relocated structures are constructed of redwood from Northern California, transported on ships returning from the gold rush. the “pet” iguanas in the square are fascinating as well.
    Thanks for my Ecuador “fix”

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    • Have yet to visit Guayaquil… my husband has been for work a couple of times but without the invite for me! Hopefully I’ll get down their soon because it looks like a very interesting place to visit. I didn’t know about the California connection. That would make an interesting blog piece! Thanks for the idea!

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