Cole Slaw Redefined: Spicy Asian Cole Slaw with Chicken and Avocado

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I love cole slaw. I think it's a seriously underrated salad. If done right, it can be insanely flavorful and the perfect accompaniment to any main dish, especially bbq or grilled meats. I make a few different versions of basic cole slaws, but the other day I got inspired to satisfy my Asian craving and decided to combine the two. Adding some leftover grilled chicken from the night before made a simple side dish into the main event. You can add the chicken or leave it out, or substitute shrimp for a vegetarian version. It's very colorful, extremely flavorful, and will healthily satisfy your Asian craving without having to go the route of noodles and rice (although I love that too).

Spicy Asian Cole Slaw with Chicken and Avocado
1 Chinese cabbage
1 red onion
3 carrots
3-4 scallions
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
3 cooked chicken breasts
2 avocados
1 cup good mayo
2 limes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp sriracha hot sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
Run the cabbage under water to remove any dirt; peel off any outer layers of cabbage that look unappealing and throw away. Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, then cut out the tough stem. Cut the cabbage into 1/4 inch thick slices and dry very well (using a salad spinner works best). Set into a large bowl.
Peel and cut the onion very thinly and add to the cabbage. Peel the carrots and grate them using a box grater (conversely, you can buy a bag of pre-shredded carrots), and add to the bowl. Cut the scallions thinly on the bias (this means at a diagonal) and add to the bowl along with the cilantro. Take the chicken breasts and either cut into cubes or shred using two forks or your fingers. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit. Remove the flesh with a spoon in one large piece and cut into 1/2 inch sized cubes. Add both to the mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste, then give a good toss to combine, careful not to break up the avocado.
To make the dressing, whisk together the mayo, the juice of both limes, garlic, ginger, sriracha, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. Taste and adjust with salt, pepper, and sriracho to taste. Pour dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss well, carefully coating the salad with the dressing but not breaking up the avocado. Rough chop the peanuts and add to the slaw on top. Top with toasted sesame seeds and serve.
The salad can be served immediately or refrigerated for later. If doing that, I recommend not adding the avocado and peanuts until right befor serving so the avocado doesn't brown and the peanuts stay crunchy.

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