Thursday, January 10, 2008

Coleslaw, my first ever

I had never made - or even tried - the American coleslaw salad* until a fortnight or so ago. And whereas I understand it's a typical salad to eat on your summer barbeque, I felt the sudden urge to try it just before Christmas - must have been all the substantial Christmas feasts I was attending during that time. I used Elise's coleslaw recipe as a starting point, and came up with this version. And I must admit I liked this simple cabbage salad a lot - the light mayonnaise dressing, the crunchy carrot and cabbage, the lively colours - all of it.

I actually liked enough to throw together a last minute red cabbage coleslaw for our New Year's Eve Feast. And definitely enough to consider making it again soon. So if you've got a specific coleslaw recipe you think I should try, tell me. I'm all ears!

You can read more about coleslaw over at Elise's or Wikipedia.

(Ameerika kapsa-porgandisalat 'Coleslaw')
Serves 4

300 grams white cabbage
2-3 carrots, peeled
1 small red onion
a handful of parsley
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp plain yogurt/sour cream
1 tsp strong mustard
black pepper

Wash the cabbage and shred with a sharp chef's knife or a kitchen mandoline. Cut carrots into matchsticks (i.e. julienne).
Halve the onion, then cut into fine slices and separate the slices into rings.
Mix the vegetables in a large bowl, throw in the chopped parsley.
Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl, then fold into the cabbage mixture.

* I understand that coleslaw can be pretty much any shredded cabbage salad, but the American coleslaw uses mayonnaise dressing?


Lydia said...

There are some constants (cabbage, carrots, mayonnaise), but then everyone does their own tweak. I don't use raw onions, because I don't like them. But I always shred an apple into my coleslaw, and I use cider vinegar in the dressing.

DaviMack said...

Yes - it, unfortunately, uses mayo. I've had interesting variations using rice vinegar & a tiny bit of sesame oil, to give it a bit of an Asian twist.

I think, though, that the American version is a derivative of the German salads, so maybe you could regard it as merely an offshoot to something you're already familiar with?

DaviMack said...

Oh - and I'll second what Lydia had to say about leaving out the raw onions, and including a bit of apple for sweetness.

Coffee & Vanilla said...


That is a very nice looking Coleslaw :)


Meeta said...

Although I love onions I prefer, like Lydia, a bit of apple for added sweetiness. I love this colorful bright salad and always try going easy on the mayo.

Shayne said...

Like everything else that is great coleslaw ans bad coleslaw and if it is good I love it and yours looks like one of the good ones.

Kevin Kossowan said...

I didn't realize it was such an American dish. And it certainly IS one of those things that is customizable as per your tastes. I enjoy the plain old cabbage-carrot-onion-dressing variety. Glad you enjoyed it!

Wendy said...

That looks nothing like a typical UK coleslaw which is always drenched in mayonnaise.
Really looking forward to trying this out.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Ah, yes, coleslaw is a summertime staple in the US. Though mayonnaise is the classic prep, my mom always make a vinaigrette slaw with shredded cabbage, carrots, and broccoli that we loved. I also like Asian slaw with sesame oil, scallions, and soy sauce. mmm... they're all good.

Kalyn said...

Yum, I love coleslaw (mayo and all!)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Coleslaw is just coleslaw: cabbage, onion, carrot. Then there is the moment. That's what sitting on the counter as your making the slaw and it presents it's self and pretty much jumps in uninvited. Once after I'd done the carrot on the mandoline, there was half an apple that jumped right through the mandoline and into the slaw bowl. Another time it was jicama. Many times it's some thinly sliced poblano pepper.
If I'm making it for my husband there are only two dressings. One is a brand: Marzettie the other is an oil & vinegar.
Wish I had some of yours. We have slaw all year round.

lobstersquad said...

I like that tip about the yogurt. Love coleslaw, and always forget it exists. And what else are you going to do with winter vegetables?

Mariajaan said...

I thought there were some sugar on the original American recipe because to me it always seemed so sweet. Your recipe with mustard is very appealing and I will try it this very evening; I have guests! Would you please let me know what specialty food stores you know in Tallinn? Have a good weekend.

CompassRose said...

The only thing coleslaw has to have is cabbage -- "cole" is derived from an old word for cabbage. There are plenty of vinaigrette-dressed coleslaws around as well, which I much prefer (since I hate American-style sugary mayo dressings). (The mayo kind will usually be described as a "creamy coleslaw" at the deli counter or in a fast-food joint.)

I too like to make Asian-influenced slaws, and red cabbage ones using a bit of applejuice in the vinaigrette.

elarael said...

Try making it with homemade mayo or aioli. I use Veganese, a tofu based vegetarian mayo that I love, haha! My mom makes it vinaigrette style with brown rice vinegar and it is so good.

Other people I know swear by the Japanese mayo: Kewpie brand.

Another trick is freshly harvested young cabbage, it is SO sweet and tender, I love the difference it makes!

Julie said...

I love coleslaw, and your version sounds great.

There must be as many coleslaws as there are people who make it. I use cabbage, carrots, and very finely minced onion. My dressing is mayonnaise (I use Hellmann's), with about two teaspoons of vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar for every half cup mayonnaise, plus salt and pepper. I taste and add til I'm happy with the balance, and I use enough dressing to lighly coat everything. Sometimes I add celery seed too.

I also make a version without mayo from a recipe of Alice Waters. It has a dressing that includes lime juice, cilantro, and jalapeno. There's a recipe for it here.

Coleslaw is often thought of as summer food I think that its lightness and crispness are just the sort of vegetable hit that I crave at this time of the year.

meeso said...

I love coleslaw...all different kinds! One of my favorite summer salads...this looks really good :)

Anonymous said...

Tangy Coleslaw

1 cabbage, finely shredded or a 16-ounce package of shredded coleslaw mix
1 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced

1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 cup vinegar
2/3 cup vegetable oil

Combine shredded cabbage with sliced onion. Combine dressing ingredients and bring to boil. Pour over cabbage and toss. Cool, then refrigerate.

Ramona said...

Coleslaw definitely goes with bbq here in the US. I love it! It also goes on sandwiches quite a bit. Usually called "specials", such as roast beef/turkey/corned beef special. It goes really well on pulld pork too (bbq). There's also Prmanti brothers in Pittsburgh which is famous for it's sandwiches piled with coleslaw and fries!

Pille said...

Lydia – I’ll keep that shredded apple in mind for next time, thanks for the tip.

David – what's that raw onion phobia?? Onion is a real superfood (and not all of them give you ‘onion breath’. And parsley always helps:) We don’t really do raw cabbage salads here so much – I guess sauerkraut was so much more convenient in the old days…

Margot – I think so, too :)

Meeta – I was actually surprised how little mayo went such a long way! I do remember now, vaguely, something like this being served in Edinburgh university canteens, but that was really mayonnaise-laden.

Shayne – I agree! As cabbage plays such a huge role in this salad, then a industrially grown tasteless cabbage wouldn’t really make a good salad…

Kevin – looks we’ve got a pretty similar taste then :)

Wendy – as I said, I only now remembered the UK version, and yes, it was drenched in mayonnaise :)

Susan – I must try an Asian slaw one day – so many of you recommend it!

Kalyn – nice and crunchy, isn’t it?

Tanna – I like the way you describe your coleslaw making – with jumpy vegetables and all that :) I haven’t tried jicama yet myself, but I’m definitely curious.

Lobstersquad –well, usually I make soup or stews, or roast those roots in the oven. But this coleslaw was a very refreshing change, I must admit..

Mariajaan – carrots are inherently pretty sweet, though there may be lots of American recipes adding sugar. Did you get my email re: the specialty food stores in Tallinn?

CompassRose – thank you for the clarification! There seem to be loads of different coleslaw recipes. Estonian mayonnaise is quite un-sugary, compared even to the ones found in other Nordic countries.

Elarael – I love the idea of home-made aioli! I must wait till late spring, however, when decent fresh garlic is available again. I hate the dry winter garlic..

Julie – again, the celery seed addition is intriguing, although it sounds I use less mayonnaise dressing than you?

Meeso – I’ll be definitely making it again in the summer :)

Anon. – thank you for the recipe!

Ramona – a sandwich filling? Mmmm, there’s something to think about. Although I think I’d need to shred my cabbage much more finely for that?

Randi said...

I always use celery seed in mine. It gives it a bit of oomph!! Also, I only use cider vinegar.

Karina said...

So happy to see the gluten-free label! I just added this recipe to my coleslaw post. :)

Anonymous said...

Coleslaw isn't American, it's British.

Shelly Borrell said...

I stumbled upon your blog searching for coleslaw and food blogs. I recently posted about my coleslaw experiences on Nibbles of Tidbits, a Food Blog. Nice Blog!

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post but i just wanted to jump in.....while many americans do use that mayo-based slaw...I'm from north carolina and this is what I consider traditional for me::

I don't call it "barbequed coleslaw" though, as the article suggests I might...I just call it "barbeque slaw" or "red slaw." It's definitely not so sweet and has a slightly spicy tang to it...a perfect complement to pulled pork!