I have written a few times that Asian food is like a new frontier for me. I wasn’t raised eating much of it, and in the 70’s and 80’s, most of the Orange County, California, food scene did not have a wide array of Asian restaurants. Thankfully, an influx of Vietnamese, Lao, and Korean families started populating the area, so it has since exploded into an Asian food wonderland of sorts. While I will often berate the ubiquitous fake tits and humvees that festoon much of O.C. and which, consequently, led my wife and I to bid it adieu, I will say that now it has some balance by the soul brought in from different cultures and their cuisines.
But in my Carter and Reagan era childhood, Chinese food consisted of magenta-colored sweet and sour chicken from the only local Chinese place, The Golden Something. Funnily enough, bean sprouts and duck scared me as a kid, but the unnaturally infrared gelatinous mess of carrots, pineapple, and chicken welcomed me with open arms. I think my teeth looked like a photo negative by the time I left the restaurant, actually.
I have since learned to cook a variety of Asian main dishes, but I am sorely lacking in the side dish category. Yesterday, I had an extra bag o’ coleslaw mix from a party we had on Sunday. I knew I was making chicken satay (https://dinnerwithjonny.com/2013/01/24/ww-chicken-satay-with-peanut-sauce/), so I started googling. I found quite a few Weight Watchers recipes calling for crushed raw ramen noodles for the crunch effect. As I am not in the habit of having ramen around, this wasn’t going to work. Instead, I found a recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe-Tools/Print/Recipe.aspx?recipeID=14297&origin=detail&servings=10&metric=false.
It goes perfectly with satay, as you will see, it is easy to make, and it is altogether wonderful. I did make some changes, though…
I had no fresh ginger on hand last night. But what I did have was some crystallized ginger left over from the holidays, which stays good for a decade or something. It worked marvelously.
Easy Asian Coleslaw
Serves 6, I would think
5 tbsp. rice vinegar, or white vinegar in a pinch
5 tbsp. oil
5 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
3 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. brown sugar (how come you taste so good?)
2 tbsp. minced crystallized ginger or fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag (about 8 to 10 cups worth or so) coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
one bunch green onions, chopped
1 chopped bell pepper (optional)
chopped cilantro (optional)
In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. Whisk it well so it’s all combined as a happy family.
In a large bowl for tossing, add the veggies and pour the dressing over it. Toss this baby like you mean it and so everything is coated well. Cover this and put it in the fridge to chill if you still need to make the main course, or serve right there. It’s kick ass both ways.
Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.