Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crunchy Sesame Slaw

I much prefer a creamy style slaw to the more vinegary variety, so "Crunchy Sesame Slaw" (page 74) was calling to me when I found myself looking for a side dish for Vietnamese Po'Boys (to be reviewed next). The vegetables in the salad portion include cabbage and carrot, same as you find in many slaw recipes, but an unexpected (and wonderful) addition is snow peas, cut into very thin matchsticks, with green onions rounding out the list of veggies. The dressing is a mixture of tahini, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil. My golden rule is to cook completely oil free, but I will make the occasional exception for sesame oil. What I've discovered, though, is it only takes the tiniest amount of this very flavorful oil to stand out in a dish. Here, the recipe called for one tablespoon, and I used just one teaspoon. It was enough for the unique flavor of sesame oil to shine through, especially since sesame seeds are also sprinkled on top of the salad after it is tossed with the dressing. It could be that different brands of tahini are thicker than others, but I found I had to add about ¼ cup of water to the dressing to make it pourable, because made as written, my dressing came out more as a spread. An additional optional topping of crispy chow mein noodles is offered up, but I passed since I'm pretty sure that "crispy" means "fried". With the sesame oil and seeds, rice vinegar, snow peas, and chow mein noodles (if used), this slaw has a definite Asian persuasion, and it made an excellent side for the Vietnamese Po'Boys.

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