Thursday, 25 April 2013

Japanese Coleslaw

I adore Japanese food. It's light and flavourful and mostly colourful and beautiful too.

If I'm out in town and I want to eat healthily, I always try to eat sushi or some kind of Far Eastern broth. If I fancy a bit of both, then a bento box from a Japanese cafe would be perfect. In reality, it looks like a TV dinner with compartments in an oblong box for different bites. There's always some rice, topped with a protein of some kind. Maybe a salad, maybe soup, maybe some pickles, and maybe something sweet. I adore the variety.

When I'm home, I sometimes try to re-create the bento by serving some Miso Soup along with a main course and a side dish. Today's coleslaw accompanies some Teryaki Haddock (recipe to follow soon) I made with brown rice. The coleslaw is so easy to make and uses very similar ingredients to the western-style one, but with a sweet and sour dressing instead of the usual heavy mayonnaise. I think it may be time to ditch the mayo out of my life. The regular stuff is too fattening (it's basically a pure oil/egg emulsion - why do it to yourself?) and the light stuff is not mayo - it's house paint.

The dressing ingredients were all bought from my local Asian grocery, but you can easily find the same stuff in you regular supermarket.  Cost-wise, the dressing ingredients set you back a bit when you buy them, but they last forever. Cabbage and carrot are cheap as anything. All-in, this lovely side dish comes in at 50p per serving.

Ideally, I would buy some bento boxes with compartments to use at home. But I think that it may be taking my Japanese obsession a bit too far. What would be next? A kimono and a ceremonial sword?

Serves 2


Quarter of a white or green cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot, grated
1 teaspoon of black onion (nigella) seeds
2 pieces of stem ginger in syrup, grated
Half a clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon each of sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and brown sugar
Salt and black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together and refrigerate for an hour or two to let the flavours develop. Serve as part of a bento box-style meal

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