Monday, July 15, 2013

Tamarind-Cashew Slaw

I posted a slaw last week (Beet and Carrot Slaw) and had a lot of people ask me about other "different" things to bring to a picnic instead of the traditional ones that everyone is used to - so today I thought I'd tell you about another slaw that I came up with recently.
Tamarind-Cashew Slaw

There are two different parts to this - the first is making the "Tamarind-Cashew" part of the recipe.  If you've ever eaten at The Cheesecake Factory, you may have tried this as a dipping sauce for their avocado eggrolls (which are fantastic).  The sauce is great to use for a number of different things but in this instance I'm using it as a dressing for the slaw (which is the second part of the recipe).

This recipe also has a fair amount of cilantro in it - and cilantro seems to be one of those things that you love or hate with no middle ground.  People that hate it frequently tell me that it tastes like soap to them.  My advice would be that if you are one of those that hates it, simply omit it.  It will obviously have a different taste but will still be good.  If you like it but want a little less of it, use a little less.  The recipe has what I used when I made it which is NOT necessarily what you want to use when you make it for YOUR tastes!

Part 1 - Tamarind-Cashew Sauce

  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews 
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 3 cloves garlic, quartered 
  • 2 green onions, chopped 
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar 
  • 1 tsp. black pepper 
  • 1 tsp. cumin 
  • 1/2 cup honey 
  • 4 tsp. white vinegar 
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar 
  • 1/2 tsp. tamarind pulp
  • Pinch ground saffron 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  1. Combine first 7 ingredients (cashews, cilantro, garlic, onions, sugar, pepper and cumin) in a food processor. Blend with short bursts until the mixture is well blended, and the cashews and garlic have been chopped into very small pieces.  I have seen recipes for this that call for it to be processed until it's more of a paste but I prefer it to be in small pieces - do whichever you think you'd like better.  It will taste the same, but simply have a different consistency.
  2. Combine the honey, vinegars, tamarind, and saffron in a small bowl. If you're like me, you haven't had much call to use tamarind before and may not even be certain what it is.  You may be able to find tamarind beans (which look kind of like brown pea pods) in your area - I wasn't able to so instead I used tamarind paste/concentrate that I had on hand from visiting an Asian market in the area.  It's available in many grocery stores or from Amazon and is very inexpensive. 
  3. Heat the mixture for about 1 minute in microwave then stir until tamarind pulp dissolves completely. 
  4. Pour mixture into blender or food processor and mix with cashew mixture (about 20 seconds). 
  5. Pour sauce into bowl, add the oil and stir by hand. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
This sauce is incredible to use on just about anything - the eggrolls from Cheesecake Factory are just a start.  There will be plenty left after making the slaw so let your imagination run wild with the rest of it!

Part 2 - The Slaw
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 head purple cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • juice from 2 medium limes
  • 1/3 cup Tamarind-Cashew sauce (see above)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine the green and purple cabbage along with the cilantro in a large bowl after shredding (I use a food processor to shred the cabbage - it makes it MUCH faster and saves my knuckles a lot of pain compared to doing it manually).
  2. Pour in the lime juice and Tamarind-Cashew sauce and mix well.
  3. You may want to add a bit more lime juice or a bit more sauce according to your taste.  There's certainly no right or wrong, let your taste buds guide you.
  4. Chill for an hour.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste just before serving
  6. Enjoy!

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