Trust me, once you get into the habit of making your own slaw, the sloppy muck they sell in your local supermarket just wont cut it. There are a million coleslaw recipes on the internet, so the trick is to mix and match until you get the combo that works for you, and you can call your own. The absolute basic recipe is a winner and consists of 3 types of veg and a mayo mix. To make it work you’ll need a mandolin or a lot of patience and a very sharp knife…
Step 1 – The Veg
Cut it all up, mix it around in a bowl, and adding your dressing. The slice is critical though, has to be a fine slice as per the image. Invest in a mandolin, some will also allow you to julienne the carrot, but grating it will suffice.
Once you have cut the veg, mix it in a large bowl with a pinch of salt and a pinch of caster sugar and a dash of red wine vinegar and then leave it for 20 minutes. This will semi ‘cure’ the mix, in doing so it will likely release some water, which you’ll need to extract and discard before adding any dressing.
Tried and tested veg that works well:
- Sliced pepper
- Julienned apple
- Chilli – smokey dried chipotles are good, fresh red chillis too, but then I do love chillis
- Green/savoy cabbage is an interesting alternative to white
- Freshly grated horseradish
Tried, Tested and Overrated:
- White onion – it’s ok, but can be too powerful. Not as good as red, but if this is what you have just use a bit less.
- Red cabbage – bit too hard – might be ok if cured for longer
- Fennel bulb – it was reasonable, but disappointing really
- Spring onion – lacked punch
Step 2 – The Dressing
I’m not overly keen on the gloopy almost liquid texture of prepackaged slaw, I find a light coating works best. The beauty of making your own is you can add the lube a bit at a time until you get the consistency you want. My only recommendation is a mix 50/50 of mayo, with either sour cream, butter milk or yoghurt – avoid creme fraiche, its not right for reasons I can’t put my finger on.
Make sure you add the dressing just before serving, and as mentioned above, drain any excess liquid from the veg before you mix it in.
Tried and tested additions that work well:
Try one of these:
- A teaspoon of dijon mustard
- A splash of tabasco
- A big blob of double cream
- A pinch of smoked paprika
- The juice of a lime
- A spoonful of horseradish
Step 3 – Optional Additions
At this stage you have awesome coleslaw – congrats! You might want to experiment with extra ingredients though, here’s my research:
Tried and tested non-veg that works well:
- Smoked cheese – fantastic, don’t overdo it though!
- Coriander/mint – (basil not so great)
- Crispy bacon
- Pumpkin seed – in fact, seeds of any type