May 082015
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Oriental Ginger Coleslaw


My mother once told me a story about ginger.


When I was small we lived in Switzerland, a beautiful country but not one known for the use of ginger in its cooking. My mother, being Pakistani, would regularly cook with ginger, garlic, onions and lots of spices. One day while she was shopping, my mother filled a bag with several pieces of ginger root and added it to her basket. A lady approached her and asked her, ‘Excuse me, but how do you cook this vegetable?’ My mother tried to explain to her in her best French that it was not a vegetable but in fact a herb and that using a small amount went a long way. I don’t know if that lady ever did learn how to use ginger in her cooking. Hopefully she did, because the benefits of ginger are many and amazing!


Ginger has been used for medicinal and culinary purposes for more than 2000 years in Asian cultures. Some of its benefits include:

  • easing nausea and motion-sickness
  • soothing the digestive system and intestinal tract
  • fighting cold and flu symptoms
  • stimulating circulation
  • reducing inflammation in the body.


My recipe for Oriental Ginger Coleslaw is a zesty alternative to the creamy type of coleslaw which many people are accustomed to. When I use fresh ginger in a salad dressing, I usually grate it on the fine side of a cheese grater. When grating it this way, you will end up holding a small pile of tough stringy ginger pulp which you should discard. Make sure you only use the soft ginger which comes out on the underside of the grater.


The taste of raw ginger is quite pungent and the amount you use will depend on two things: your own taste preferences and the potency of your ginger root (I have found that organic ginger is stronger than non-organic ginger). Add 1/2 Tbsp of freshly grated ginger if you don’t love ginger or your ginger root is very potent. Add 1 Tbsp of freshly grated ginger if you’re the sort of person who loves adding a shot of ginger to your fresh fruit juice or enjoys sipping on fresh ginger tea. Remember, you can always start with less ginger and add more after tasting your coleslaw.


Share your thoughts: What is your favourite way to eat raw ginger? Grated in a salad dressing, steeped in tea, added into juice, or sucked on like candy?


Oriental Ginger Coleslaw





(Serves 4 as a side salad)



Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 – 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated (TIP: use the fine side of a cheese grater, discarding the tough stringy pulp which is left at the end of grating)

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp sesame oil

2 tsp sugar (preferably brown sugar)

1/2  – 1 tsp coarse sea salt


Salad Ingredients:

200g / 7 oz cabbage (red or white), shredded

200g / 7 oz carrots, peeled and grated

100g / 3.5 oz radishes, grated

3 Tbsp fresh coriander/cilantro leaves, chopped (or more to taste)

3 spring onions/scallions, finely sliced (white and green parts)

3 Tbsp crushed peanuts (or more to taste)

2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)




  1. Make the dressing first to allow the flavors to develop. Get a jar or small bowl. Take some ginger and grate it on the fine side of a cheese grater (discard the stringy pulp which is left over after grating). The amount of ginger you use will depend on your own taste and also the strength of the ginger, but anywhere between 1/2 and 1 Tbsp would be a good amount. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and combine well. Set aside while you make the salad.
  2. If you have a mandolin or grater attachment for your food processor, it will make grating the vegetables much easier. If you don’t, then I recommend using a cheese grater to grate the carrots and radishes and a knife to finely shred the cabbage.
  3. Wash and dry your vegetables, and grate or finely shred them. Place them in a large bowl.
  4. Wash and chop 3 spring onions/scallions (using both the white and green parts). Add it to the bowl.
  5. Wash and chop enough fresh coriander/cilantro leaves to get at least 3 Tbsp of chopped herbs. Add it to the bowl.
  6. Add 3 Tbsp of crushed peanuts and 2 Tbsp of toasted sesame seeds to the bowl.
  7. Toss everything until combined well.
  8. Pour the salad dressing on top of the salad and toss until evenly mixed.
  9. Serve immediately or refrigerate for upto 3 days.
  10. It is delicious served as a side dish to fish or chicken.



Share your thoughts: What is your favourite way to eat raw ginger? Grated in a salad dressing, steeped in tea, added into juice, or sucked on like candy?


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  8 Responses to “Recipe: Oriental Ginger Coleslaw”

  1. Love this salad and the dressing…We too use a lot of raw fresh ginger in Indian cooking..My husband even likes to add a slice in his tea while it is brewing:))

    • Thanks Shy :-) I love all the fresh ginger used in Pakistani and Indian cooking – so tasty and so good for you.

      Great to know that your husband adds a slice of fresh ginger to his tea. The first time I tried that was in Sri Lanka and I loved it!

  2. Love this dressing, fresh ginger is always something I love to incorporate into recipes! Thanks!

    • Thanks Sabrina. I love anything with fresh ginger in it as well – it really awakens your senses!

  3. What a delicious slaw. I love the spice of ginger.. so I must make it!

    • Thanks Thalia, I love fresh raw ginger as well – especially the smell when you first start peeling it :-)

  4. Great recipe! Can’t wait to try it :-) Thank you for sharing Erum!