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Spicy Indian Slaw

I love slaw, and while I’d never seen an Indian slaw recipe, I figured there had to be something like a slaw tradition. My first pass through Google yielded, unexpectedly, a Harvard recipe. It required some substantial modifications to remove the major nightshade components, as well as a separate visit to my favorite ethnic grocer to track down some of the rarer ingredients for the chaat masala.

If you’ve never experienced chaat masala, prepare for a special sweet & sour & OMG flavor bender. But also be aware that the black salt (kala namak) in the chaat masala, when combined with the ingredients in this slaw recipe, will release some of the sulfur entrained in the salt. There will be a faint rotten egg smell. If that’s untenable for you, then skip the black salt in the chaat. But before you do that, be sure to taste just a bit. Sulfur is actually part of the savory experience, and is one of those elements that plays a role in umami. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised. Besides, a quick mix and it will largely disperse, unless you are a sulfur super taster, in which case you’ll notice.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • juice of 2 limes
  • juice of 1 orange (possibly scant)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon chaat masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1-2 bundles of scallions, thinly sliced, preferably on the diagonal
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, fresh, finely chopped
  • 1 green cabbage head, halved, cored, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

1Combine the ginger, lime juice, orange juice, vinegar, chaat masala, and toasted cumin, together in a large bowl

2Trim the ends of the cilantro, and pick out any black or otherwise nasty leaves. Then separate the leaves from the stems, and toss the stems with the garlic into the food processor. You don’t actually have to separate every leaf from every stem. Chop the top third of the bunch, dropping the bottom two-thirds in your processor. Pulse until you have pulverized the stems, adding a bit of the liquid from above as you go to facilitate a smooth running machine. At the end, drop the leafy final third of the cilantro in and pulse briefly until the leaves are roughly chopped, but not pulverized like the stems.

3Add the cabbage and scallions to the large bowl and pour the dressing from the blender or food processor on top. Use a spatula to get every drop. Toss with your hands or the spatula until the cabbage is thoroughly coated with the dressing. Taste, and augment with more lime and/or orange juice as required. Let sit for several hours. If you’re serving soon, room temperature is fine; otherwise, cover and refrigerate.

4Sprinkle with the peanuts and serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Add peanuts just before serving, or in a bowl to the side.

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