Thailand has hands down one of the most flavourful cuisines I have tasted. In this Thai red cabbage slaw I have attempted to bring together some of the flavours of Thai cuisine I love the most. The result is a refreshing coleslaw where the flavours of sriracha and lime are king and where the crunch of the carrot and red cabbage is paired with that of roasted cashews. Yes, cashews!
Asian slaw recipes often include peanuts but I decided to use cashew nuts as those are my husband’s favourites and the first time I made this salad it was for him. While we usually buy natural cashews, on the day I first tested this recipe I found only salted roasted cashews at home. In this recipe they actually work great as the little salt they provide is all you need. Yep, no extra salt is added to this salad if using salted nuts.
Since peanuts are featured in many popular Thai dishes, if you prefer peanuts just go ahead and swap the cashews for some salted peanuts for your Thai-inspired coleslaw. Overall, the nuts are giving more of a crunch rather than lots of flavour. The spicy sriracha sauce and zesty lime are definitely in the foreground in this Thai-inspired coleslaw.
I had been making home-made coleslaw for a while but always stuck with the original and used white cabbage. Red cabbage is so much more beautiful. Ok, I may be biased because purple is my favourite colour, but look at it. You can tell this Asian slaw is so much more flavourful than regular coleslaw just from its looks. (I know, I know. Not everybody experiences synaesthesia. I know. But look at that. You can clearly see it’s so full of flavours!)
Use red cabbage as filling also for veggie empanadas!
Preparing the lime sriracha mayo
In this recipe I am using store-bought mayonnaise. You are very welcome to make your own, but that will add 5 more minutes to the recipe procedure, as well as a few more ingredients. I am a big fan of home-made mayo and try to make my own whenever I get a chance, but sometimes I just want to make a quick dish and not get too many kitchen tools involved. This is when I find it most useful to have a tube of mayonnaise in the fridge. You never know when you may need it.
To make lime sriracha mayo dressing for this Thai red cabbage slaw you need to combine mayonnaise, sriracha sauce and lime juice in a bowl and mix well. You can just use a spoon – like the one you used to measure the sriracha sauce or the lime juice. Give the mixture a good stir and taste. I am quite sensitive to the spice factor, so I kept my lime sriracha mayo quite mild. For a stronger kick feel free to add more sriracha than advised in this recipe. In order to not thin out the dressing too much I wouldn’t recommend adding any more lime juice to the mayonnaise. If you’re in for a stronger lime flavour, add one extra tablespoon of lime juice to the carrots before mixing in the dressing. Be mindful that the lime zest will also add in some more lime flavour than just the dressing alone.
How to make Thai red cabbage slaw
Clean and peel the carrots, and chop off a section of the red cabbage. You’re not going to need a lot and it’s so much easier to handle a portion of the cabbage head. Wrap the rest of the cabbage in cling film and store it in the fridge for the next cabbage recipe. Both the carrots and red cabbage need to be shredded. The way you want to do this is totally up to you – if you’re in a rush you can just add it all to a food processor and let those blades to the job.
I like to thinly slice the cabbage with a knife, as I think this is the best way when making such a small portion like in this recipe. If the cabbage shreds end up being too long, I cut them in half. As for the carrots, I am a great fan of the spiralizer, so if you have one definitely go for it. Same as with the cabbage, the carrot “spaghetti” might be too long to use in coleslaw so I generally give them a couple of cuts with the scissors to make smaller strings.
Combine the veggies in a bowl and add half of the crushed cashews. Pour in the lime sriracha mayo and evenly distribute the dressing mixing well with a spoon or rubber spatula. Transfer the coleslaw to a serving bowl and sprinkle the remains of the cashews on the top. As a finishing touch, grate some lemon zest on top of the salad.
Do I need to use a spiralizer to make this Thai red cabbage slaw? No, the use of a spiralizer is not mandatory. Since I own one I think it’s a nice tool to use when getting creative in the kitchen. If you don’t have one you can julienne the carrot or just shred it on a large grater. Whatever suits your taste. Still, veggie spiralizers are becoming more and more popular and it’s easy to find them on the market now. I would recommend getting one as they can really ignite your creativity in the kitchen!
Since I just love how red cabbage looks, and I also love spiralized carrots I just had to take a picture of the ingredients to this Thai-inspired coleslaw. It’s all so beautiful I’d happily eat this salad as it is – deconstructed. Look at this beautiful bowl of raw colours!
Even when all the ingredients are combined this Thai red cabbage slaw is a show stopper. That touch of grated lime zest on the top contrasts so beautifully with the vivid orange and purple of the carrot and the cabbage. This is definitely a great side to fish dishes; even a nice addition to tacos or to chicken wraps.
Thai red cabbage slaw
- 140 g red cabbage
- 100 g carrots
- 100 g mayonnaise
- 1 lime
- 1 tsp sriracha sauce
- 30 g salted roasted cashew nuts
- Zest the lime and juice it. In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, sriracha sauce and 2 tbsp of lime juice. Stir to combine.
- Peel and spiralize the carrots. Using a knife or a pair of scissors, cut the carrots into shorter strings. Thinly slice the red cabbage. Combine the vegetables and stir in the sriracha mayo dressing. Crush the cashews and stir half of them in to the salad.
- Transfer the salad to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the remaining cashew nuts on top and finally add the lemon zest.