coleslaw 1

My 5-year old son tried coleslaw for the first time the other day, and he absolutely loved it! I seriously don’t know what took me so long. He generally loves crunchy vegetables, and enjoys dipping cucumber and raw carrot sticks in Japanese goma dressing or Korean bean paste, arugula in vinegrette and chomping on the cold iceberg lettuce cups in Chinese restaurants that are served with steamed ginger chicken. As any mother would be, I’m thrilled by his enthusiasm about raw cabbage and carrots! But instead of drenching the vegetables in store-bought dressing, I tried my hand at making my own, and am happy to report that the slaw was a roaring success.

I must admit that I’m hardly a coleslaw fan. It is on my “never order” list when eating out, but my hubby adores that stuff. I would only take small bites off my hubby’s plate, and have so far not encountered even one that I really fancied. I’m not even nostalgic about the classic KFC version, which my hubby calls, “da bomb”. I guess it’s because my ideal coleslaw has to be fresh and zingy, and the ones out there are often overly creamy, soggy and heavy. I never thought I’d use the word healthy in the same sentence as slaw, but here we go. This recipe actually makes light and healthy slaw! Slaw that I can eat a bowlful of, without any guilt. Which was exactly what my hubby and I did for dinner a few nights ago, with a roasted chicken thrown in for good measure.

I made two versions for this post. One classic (main picture), and one with beetroot grated in (below). The tanginess of the Greek yogurt works very well to balance out the earthiness of raw beets. The only thing to note is that you might need to make one and a half times the dressing if you’re adding the beetroot. The salad can be sweetened with grated apple or raisins, which break the monotony with a burst of flavour added to each bite. I have heard many say that coleslaw is perfect picnic food. I never appreciated why, until now. Imagine having a plate heaped with this crunchy slaw, with a few slices of smoked salmon draped over, a couple of sticky glazed pork ribs, some good, crusty bread on the side, plus a glass of chilled rosé or iced tea in your hand. You’re sitting on the grass, legs out-stretched and watching the kids (and/or dogs) play as the sun slowly sets. Now all I need is a cooler box, and I’m ready to go.

coleslaw 2

About Dawn Chia

Dawn, a lanky food-crazed lady, started out writing for lifestyle magazines, and later spent several years in banking. When not eating, she's cooking, reading about, hankering after, and writing about food. On her first date with her boyfriend (now husband), they dined at four restaurants across Singapore. He's gained 25lbs since, and their culinary escapades continue after welcoming two rotund angels. Dawn's committed to feeding them with the best, and creating lasting food memories and traditions for her family.


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4 June 2014


This looks great! It is so great to see someone else who wants a slaw to feature the vegetables, not to hide them. when I order it out at a place like KFC or Chi-Fil-A, I drain off the excess dressing using the container lid to strain and press out all the “soup”.
I love a good slaw, but so many are, like you said, too fattening and also too sweet for me. I make my own at home using rice vinegar, light mayo & yogurt, a pinch of sugar, a dash of salt, a generous sprinkling of black pepper and, sometimes, 1 teaspoon or so of grated horseradish.

Haha! I have actually carried out KFC slaw-draining countless times when my parents ordered it for me as a kid on our KFC dinner trips, so I would have my “veggies”. Rice vinegar and grated horseradish- will definitely try that combo next time I make slaw!

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