During an annual Memorial Day outing with friends, one of staff member Nancy Szokan's friends made a side dish that she says "knocked us all out." It was a tangy Asian-style cabbage slaw, bright and vinegary with almonds and some other, not instantly recognizable, crunch. Sort of Asian-picnic fusion. This is great, we said. What are those crunchy things? "Uncooked ramen," her friend admitted. And get this: The seasoning was mostly from the ramen noodle packet.
Nancy uses the plain Oriental flavor of ramen noodles, but she says you can substitute any flavor you like. This slaw goes well with fish, pork or pretty much anything. "I honestly don't know how long this will last covered in the refrigerator; we've never kept it more than a day." If you're doubling the recipe, you can reduce the oil by 1/4 cup.
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 package (3 ounces) ramen noodles, broken into small pieces, plus its flavor packet
- 1/2 medium head cabbage, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (see NOTES)
- 1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted (see NOTES)
- 4 scallions, both white and tender green parts, coarsely chopped
In a large bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper with the flavor packet from the noodles, stirring well. Add the chopped cabbage, ramen noodles, sesame seeds, almonds and scallions, tossing lightly to combine. Let the slaw rest at least 10 minutes; covered and refrigerated, it can hold for several hours. Serve at room temperature.
NOTES: To toast sesame seeds, heat them in a dry skillet over medium heat or in a 325-degree oven, shaking the pan frequently, until lightly browned and fragrant, 4 to 8 minutes. Watch carefully because they burn easily.
To toast almonds, place them in a heavy skillet and cook, stirring or shaking, over medium heat for 1 or 2 minutes, or until just lightly browned and crisp. Serve within a few hours.
Adapted from part-time editor Nancy Szokan.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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