Asian-inspired Coleslaw

asian slaw

The other night we had an Asian-flavored pork and green bean dish. For salad, I thought I’d make a cabbage salad. To keep up the Asian theme, I used ginger, rice vinegar, and fish sauce. It tasted spicy, fresh, and crunchy. It was just as good the next day.

Serves 6 to 8


  • 1/2 medium head cabbage (about 20 ounces), shredded
  • 2 large carrots, shredded 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced or 4 to 5 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • A large handful roughly chopped fresh cilantro 1 small serrano chile, very finely chopped
  • 1 generous tablespoon peeled and finely chopped ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice or 1 tablespoon Eureka lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons mildly flavored extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon shichimi togarashi, or more to taste (optional)


  1. Pile the cabbage, carrots, onion, cilantro, chile, ginger, and garlic in a salad bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, rice vinegar, fish sauce, and olive oil. Pour it over the salad and toss very well.
  3. Taste, and if you want it spicier, add the shichimi, starting with a half teaspoon. Toss well after each addition and taste until you have the balance you want. Adjust with more lemon, vinegar, or salt if necessary.

Quick Notes

A mandoline makes quick work of the cabbage. I particularly love my handheld mandolines; I have a straight-edged one and one that juliennes.

The garlic is optional because raw garlic can taste hot if the salad sits before serving. If you love garlic, please add it.

The fish sauce seems to add all the salt necessary, but do taste the salad and adjust the seasoning to your palate.

Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese chile pepper blend that includes black sesame seeds. You can find it in Asian supermarkets and it is often added to Japanese noodle soups.


If you have radishes or a daikon in the house, shred and add to the salad. One night I had a fat zucchini and added it. Don’t be afraid of raw zucchini, especially when finely sliced or julienned, it tastes great.

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