Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hot Asian Slaw AKA Crack Slaw

Bowl of Hot Asian Slaw
Delicious and Nutritious

Recipe by Robin

The words “Crack Slaw” conjure up two vivid images in my mind, neither of which is appetizing. The term officially refers to the street drug crack and its addictive qualities, doubtlessly coined by someone who’s never seen the dark, vacant look in an addict’s eyes.  I’d like to reinvent this slaw as something sexy, something that we can choose to eat rather than mindlessly wolfing down, with a name that we can utter to our grandma or pastor without having to elaborate. Wouldn’t you really rather eat a Hot Asian Slaw?

Basket of Cabbage, Carrots, Green Onion, Garlic and Ginger
Simple Healthful Ingredients
Starting with the basic concept of ground meat and cabbage with a light vinegar and sesame oil dressing, I’ve added snow pea pods (in season just south and west of here), carrots, fresh ginger, and sesame seeds. Essentially this is a stir fry, so the usual rules for success apply: prepare all veggies and dressing before beginning to cook, chop all veggies to approximately same thickness, dry off veggies as much as possible before cooking, and remove the stir fry to a serving dish immediately when cooked. In this stir fry you’ll prepare the meat first, remove it from the wok, cook the veggies, then add the meat back to the wok and top with the dressing.

The original recipe uses ground beef and a bag of pre-cut coleslaw mix. Feel free to experiment with different meat, veggie, and sauce combinations.

Serving Bowl of Hot Asian Slaw
Top with Sesame Seeds if You Like
Hot Asian Slaw
serves ~6

1½ - 1¾ lbs. cabbage
3 -4 medium carrots, ~6 oz. total
½ - ¾ lb. snow peas
6 - 8 green onions
½ oz. peeled ginger
3 – 4 large cloves garlic
3 tbsp. tamari
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. or more hot chili oil
Sunflower or other mild spray oil
1 lb. ground turkey
½ tbsp. sesame oil
½ tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 - 2 tbsp. sesame seeds

Remove core from cabbage and slice thinly. Cut into large but manageable strips. You will have 10 – 12 cups. Scrub and cut carrots into matchsticks 1 –  1½ inch long; you will have 1 – 1¼ cup.  Wash snow peas and remove strings. Cut in half if desired. Cut green onions into ½ inch slices; you will have about ½ cup.

Cut the ginger into thin, ½ inch long matchsticks. Mince garlic. You’ll want to have approximately equal quantities of ginger and garlic, a tablespoon or a little more of each.

Make sauce (dressing) by combining the tamari, rice vinegar, honey, and hot chili oil thoroughly. 1 teaspoon of hot oil gives the dish a subtle heat, for more fire increase the amount. Don’t overdo it, more hot oil can be served at the table. Set sauce aside.

Heat up a wok on high. When water sizzles, spray with sunflower oil. Add ground turkey and cook until browned, stirring up from the bottom very frequently. Remove meat to heatproof dish.

Carrots, Green Onions, Ginger, and Garlic Cooking in Wok
Start with Carrots
Add sesame oil and toasted sesame oil to wok. When heated add carrots, ginger, and onions and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, another 30 seconds or so.

Add cabbage and toss to coat with oil. Stir fry for 2 – 3 minutes or until hard parts of cabbage begin to wilt, scooping up veggies from the bottom of the wok very frequently to prevent burning and enable even cooking. Add snow peas and continue stir frying for another minute.

Add cooked meat and sauce to wok. Stir fry for another minute or so, until heated through. Remove immediately to a serving dish to prevent overcooking. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or serve on the side.

Closeup of Bowl of Hot Asian Slaw
Just as Yummy as it Looks


  1. This recipe has quickly become part of our regular repertoire! It's a perfect vegetable-laden, low-carb, decent-protein dish. We sometimes add mushrooms, and we use a little extra hot chili oil. We might try water chestnuts sometime, too. Good stuff.

    1. Great ideas, Kelly. And I liked your accidentally cabbage-free version too. :-) I'd like to try it with chicken or turkey breast cutlets sometime this spring.

  2. Ha Ha Ha! Totally agree about the name! We call our version cracker slaw or firecracker slaw because we like it spicy.