This delicious Asian slaw is a fresh and light salad with a zesty dressing and a flavourful crunch. Think of it as an Asian coleslaw, it’s got the classic cabbage and carrot but is infused with Asian flavours like sesame oil, ginger, and soy sauce rather than a heavy mayo. It’s such a fantastic and versatile dish because it can be eaten as a side with nearly anything but also tastes great on its own as a main dish. There’s really no downsides; it’s refreshing, delicious, packed full of flavour, easy and quick to make, and healthy!
What is Asian Slaw?
Asian slaw or Asian salad is similar to a regular coleslaw. While a regular coleslaw typically uses mayonnaise, Asian slaw is made with sesame oil, soy sauce, olive oil, and rice vinegar-based dressing. The base ingredients are also very similar. Just like coleslaw, this Asian slaw recipe uses thinly sliced red cabbage and carrot. However, instead of green cabbage, we use wombok (also known as Chinese or napa cabbage). Wombok, along with green onions and sesame seeds, is used to incorporate the Asian ingredients and flavour.
Where to Buy Asian Slaw?
Nowadays, it’s very common (in Australia at least) to find Asian slaw ready-made at the supermarket. It typically comes prepared in a plastic container and includes the dressing and fried noodle pieces as toppings. These are super convenient but asian slaw uses such simple ingredients and barely takes any time to make so it’s not that hard to do on your own anyway.
This recipe uses the following ingredients to create this delicious salad:
Wombok (Chinese/napa cabbage)
I also used sesame seeds, watercress, and fried noodle pieces for an added crunch to the salad. I’ve also seen red bell pepper (capsicum) and broccoli slaw used in Asian salad recipes so feel free to adjust the ingredients to your liking but cabbage is essential. I know some people also like to add coriander/cilantro but I don’t think this plant should exist on the planet, let alone in a salad so I don’t use it. It smells and tastes like stink bugs.
2 Tips to Make Delicious Asian Slaw
- The best part of this Asian coleslaw recipe is that freshness and crunchiness of the vegetables. The key tip is to drain water after washing the vegetables. I used a colander to drain water briefly then used a salad spin to remove excess water as much as I can. It also helps to prevent the dressing from becoming watery and also the rich flavour diluted.
- And for the same reason, toss the salad with the dressing just before serving.
How to Make the Sesame Soy Sauce Vinaigrette
The dressing for this Asian coleslaw is bursting with flavour and so easy to make. You will need soy sauce, olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, mirin, ginger, and honey. Once you have the ingredients, all you need to do is mix them together and it’s done! Serve it over the slaw and toss to combine. If you don’t have any Japanese ingredients such as Mirin, see substitution options in this post : Japanese food substitutions.
What to Serve Asian Coleslaw With?
This slaw is so fantastic because it really can go with anything. I think the light and fresh nature of the slaw pairs well with fried foods like Karaage chicken and Tonkatsu fried pork. Another great way to use it is to add it into bento boxes and in wraps. I also love to sometimes add some grilled chicken and turn it into a delicious chicken salad and eat it as a main dish.
A: Yes, Asian slaw is a very healthy food.
A: I don’t know much about the keto diet but I believe that this salad is keto-friendly if you do not use the fried noodle pieces.
A No. Most Asian slaw recipes use soy sauce, which is not gluten-free. However, nowadays there are gluten-free soy sauce options so you can adjust it to make it gluten-free. You will also need to take out the fried noodle pieces as they are not gluten-free either.
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Sesame Soy Dressings
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar *1
- 1/2 tbsp soy sauce *2
- 1/2 tbsp mirin *3
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp grated ginger
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds oil
- 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 50 g red cabbage
- 50 g green cabbage
- 50 g Napa cabbage
- 1/2 carrot
- 1 scallion
- 1/4 cup edamame (frozen) *without pods
- Watercress to garnish *4
- 2 tbsp fried noodle to garnish *5
Sesame soy dressing
- Combine all ingredients and set aside.
- Finely shred red cabbage, green cabbage, napa cabbage, and carrot.
- Chop scallion finely and set aside.
- Wash the shredded vegetables in a large mixing bowl under running water.
- Drain the water with a colander.
- Place the shredded vegetables in a salad spin and remove excess water as much as you can.
- Toss the vegetables into a serving dish.
- Scatter the edamame and garnish with watercress and fried noodle pieces.
- Dress with the sesame and soy dressings to serve.