This is a terrific fresh, crunchy Asian salad that I call an Asian Slaw because it has shredded cabbage and carrot like traditional Coleslaw. The fresh herbs and Asian Dressing infused with Thai flavours makes this oriental salad extra special. Delicious AND healthy!
Named as such because it’s made with shredded cabbage like traditional Coleslaw – but other than that, it couldn’t be more different! No oily mayo laden dressing, this Asian salad is fresh, bright and crunchy, but certainly not lacking in flavour. (I also have similarly slaw-like Vietnamese Chicken Salad, that uses Chinese Cabbage which you should give a go!)
The three things that makes this Asian Slaw anything but your usual boring salad are:
The fabulous Asian dressing – I like to give this one a Thai touch with a hit of lime and fish sauce (optional!);
Fresh mint and coriander/cilantro – the herbs makes all the difference in this, that element of freshness and extra flavour;
Sprinkle of crispy fried shallots – little salty pops of crispiness, this is an Asian garnish that goes on “everything”. A little bit goes a long way to add extra texture, flavour and interest to anything that it’s sprinkled on. I use it a lot – so it’s a familiar ingredient to regular readers! Found in the Asian section of large supermarkets but way cheaper in Asian stores! Here’s my essential Asian Market Shopping list.
TIP: Make a big batch – use some as a side dish, then turn it into an Asian Chicken Salad for lunch! It keeps well for days.
This Asian Slaw is not an authentic recipe of any cuisine, but the flavours are reminiscent of Thai and Vietnamese salads because of the bright fresh dressing and the South East Asian herbs (mint and coriander/cilantro) in the salad.
Asian Slaw ingredients
Here’s what goes in my Asian Slaw:
The Asian dressing is made with soy, fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime, sugar, garlic, oil and optional chili.
I know it looks like there’s a lot of ingredients but don’t worry, a few of them are optional – little additions that make the dressing extra special but it’s really terrific even without:
Fish sauce – just a bit adds extra depth of flavour into the dressing. Just skip it if you want;
Lime juice – optional! Just sub with more rice vinegar;
Chilli – purely optional!
Turn it into an Asian CHICKEN Slaw!
I like to make a big batch – and the recipe as written makes quite a lot – and use it as a side as well as turning it into a meal by adding shredded chicken.
Try cooking chicken using this Foolproof Poached Chicken method – it will be the juiciest poached chicken you will ever have!!
What to serve with Asian Salad
I specifically call this an Asian Slaw as opposed to Chinese or Thai because the flavours really are a natural oriental flavour which means it will go beautifully with any Asian food, including Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese.
Here are some suggestions:
Vietnamese Caramelised Pork Bowls – super quick!
Asian Beef Bowls – also super quick!
This is the sort of salad that makes people want to eat their greens. It’s strange to describe a salad as moreish – but that’s what this is.
And I love the colours – it’s so bright and cheerful, it makes me want to dive right into it. Who can resist this kaleidoscope of colours?? – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Asian Slaw - crunchy Oriental Cabbage Salad with Asian Dressing
- 3 cups green cabbage or Chinese cabbage , shredded
- 3 cups red cabbage , shredded
- 2 large carrots , julienned
- 3 cups bean sprouts
- 3 green onions , finely sliced on the diagonal
- 1/2 cup coriander / cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 1/4 cup Asian Fried Shallots (optional), to garnish (Note 1)
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar (Note 2)
- 3 tbsp soy sauce (Note 3)
- 2 tsp fish sauce , or more soy (Note 4)
- 2 tbsp lime juice , or more rice vinegar (Note 5)
- 3 tbsp peanut oil (Note 6)
- 1 1/2 tbsp sugar , any type
- 1/2 tsp birds eye or other red chilli , finely minced (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
Chicken option (for meal)
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.
- Combine the salad ingredients, except the Asian Fried Shallots.
- Pour over dressing and toss to combine.
- Garnish with Asian Fried Shallots. Serve!
- Crunchy Fried Shallots - crispy fried shallot pieces, great garnish for Asian salads. Found in the Asian section of supermarket but cheaper at Asian stores!
- Rice vinegar - can sub with cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
- Soy sauce - ordinary all purpose or light soy. Not dark soy.
- Fish sauce - sub with more soy.
- Lime juice - Sub with more rice vinegar.
- Oil - sub with other neutral flavoured oil.
- Storage - keep dressing separate from salad. Will keep for 3 to 4 days (depending on freshness of beansprouts).
Originally published July 2014. Updated with new photos, new video!
More great Asian salads
Life of Dozer
He didn’t need this for the salad – just the chicken!