Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ancient Cole Slaw (Athenian Cabbage Salad)

Here is another easy, delicious (and healthy) recipe from the ancient times thanks to The Classical Cookbook (my inspiration for  Coriander-Crusted Eggplant and Cato's Lentils).  This fresh tasting slaw is a lovely dish that can be served as a starter or with a meal. The only ingredient I have left out is rue, an herb that is neither commonly used nor easily available (did not find any either fresh or dry in any of the markets).  If you are interested in replicating the ancient recipe, rue is available for purchase at most nurseries.

According to the Classical Cookbook, Romans of antiquity (and Greeks too as is evident from the title of this post) were very fond of cabbage and grew them avidly.  The doctors of the times recommended cabbage as a cure for headaches, arthritis, stomach problems and even as prevention for hangovers if it was eaten before indulging in alcoholic beverages. Whether or not cabbage was helpful in curing the various diseases, it was apparently only wishful thinking that it would prevent hangovers :D.

We do know that cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamins K and C (more than oranges!) and a very good source for various anti-oxidants, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory compounds and B-vitamins.  It is also a good source of dietary fiber.  Cabbage  is low in calories and hence a wonderful addition to the diet of anyone trying to limit their caloric intake.  Mild, sweet, and crunchy, it is a great addition to salads, stir-fries, and soups.

The fresh cilantro and honey vinegar (oxymeli) are what makes this slaw special.  If you do not use honey, you may use agave syrup or another sweetener.

2 - 4 Servings 


2 Tbsp Honey
4 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 small green Cabbage, shredded
1 small bunch fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 tiny pinch Asafetida


Prepare the honey vinegar (Oxymeli):  Heat the honey in a small pan until it is boiling; stir in the vinegar and mix well.  Continue cooking until the raw honey flavor cooks out - a couple of minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Combine the cabbage, cilantro, asafetida, and salt in a large bowl.

Add about 2-3 Tbsp of the honey vinegar and mix well; taste to check the seasonings.

Add more honey vinegar if desired and mix thoroughly.

Serve or chill until needed.  The slaw stays fresh for a day or two. Eat. Enjoy!!

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