With its piquant dressing and masses of fresh herbs, this vibrant salad makes a refreshing side dish during hot weather. For a truly unique taste of Australia, add finger limes, native karkalla (pigface), Bower spinach or samphire to your coleslaw.
1 small cucumber
3 small carrots, peeled
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 sticks of celery, finely sliced on the diagonal
½ cup malt vinegar
2 tbsp white sugar, extra
2½ cups finely shredded Chinese white cabbage
⅔ cup julienned spring onions
1¼ cup fresh bean sprouts
¼ cup round leaf mint leaves
¼ cup Vietnamese mint leaves
¼ cup sweet Thai basil leaves
¼ cup coriander leaves
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp roasted sesame seeds
pinch Sichuan pepper and salt (see recipe below)
For the Sichuan pepper and salt
1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
3 tbsp sea salt
1. Using a vegetable peeler, finely slice cucumber and carrots lengthways into ribbons. Set cucumber aside and cut carrots into a fine julienne. Combine carrots in a bowl with sugar and salt, mix well and leave to stand for 15 minutes.
2. Add celery to a small saucepan of boiling salted water and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain, refresh under cold water and drain again. Set aside.
3. Combine vinegar and extra sugar in a small, heavy-based saucepan and stir over heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer, uncovered for about a minute or until slightly reduced. Set aside to cool before stirring through pickled carrot.
4. In a bowl, combine reserved cucumber, pickled carrot mixture, celery, cabbage, spring onion, bean sprouts and herbs. Pour over combined soy sauce and lemon juice and mix well. Arrange in a salad bowl, sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds, Sichuan pepper and salt and serve immediately.
To make the Sichuan pepper and salt: Dry-roast peppercorns and salt in a heavy-based pan. When the peppercorns begin to pop and become aromatic, take off the heat. Allow to cool, then grind to a powder in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder (makes 4 tbsp).
Serving suggestion: Add some sliced, poached lobster to this refreshing coleslaw.