I've always been a firm believer that we eat with our eyes first. When it comes to plating the perfect dish, bringing in fresh, vibrant colors just makes the whole meal come alive. That's why I love this delicious recipe from Plenty-- a beautifully photographed cookbook by London chef Yotam Ottolenghi. This colorful slaw makes a great side dish for hearty winter meals and adds a nice dose of color and crunch.
The recipe below is directly from the book, although I made a couple of substitutions to suit my taste. It serves up to six.
6 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1 lemongrass stalk, chopped into small pieces
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp chile flakes (I used chile powder)
4 tbsp light olive oil or sunflower oil
1 1/4 cups macadamia nuts (I used cashews)
2 tsp butter (I used vegan butter substitute)
2 tbsp sugar (I used 2 1/2 tsp of Truvia)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chile flakes (or chile powder)
7 inner leaves of Savoy cabbage (6 oz.), finely shredded
1/2 red cabbage (10 oz.), finely shredded
1 mango, cut into thin strips
1 papaya, cut into strips
1 fresh red chile, seeded and finely sliced
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
For the dressing, place all the ingredients except the sesame and olive oil, in a small saucepan and reduce over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken. Remove from heat and cool. Strain the thickened sauce into a bowl and add in the oils. Set aside for later.
You can leave out the macadamia nuts (or in this case, cashews), but I find that it adds a nice Asian-inspired flavor that goes well with the sesame oil. Place the nuts in a frying pan over medium heat to dry roast for a few minutes. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add butter. Once it has melted, add the sugar, salt and chile flakes (or powder). Stir until the mixture caramelizes. It only takes about 1 to 2 minutes, so watch it closely! Cool the nuts on a sheet of parchment paper before roughly chopping them.
Place the shredded cabbages in a large mixing bowl with the rest of the slaw ingredients, including the chopped nuts. Toss in the dressing and serve. Enjoy!