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Spicy Napa Cabbage Slaw with Red Bell Pepper

By Cook's Illustrated Published May 2017

Why This Recipe Works

For a slaw with a more tender, delicate texture and sweeter flavor, we traded traditional green cabbage for napa cabbage. Its more delicate structure also means that it will leach twice as much liquid as regular cabbage. To avoid a bland, watered-down salad, we made a potent dressing with a high ratio of vinegar to oil. We also cooked down the dressing’s vinegar to offset the diluting power of the cabbage’s water. After we tossed the cabbage with the dressing and let it sit for about 5 minutes, the slaw reached the perfect level of bright acidity. Adding another crunchy vegetable, some colorful herbs, and a handful of seeds or nuts gave the slaw an additional layer of flavor and texture.

Ingredients

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cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 small head napa cabbage, sliced thin (9 cups)
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin
4 scallions, sliced thin on bias
½ cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped fine

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Instructions

Serves 4 to 6

This slaw is best served within an hour of being dressed.

1. Bring white wine vinegar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat; cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer white wine vinegar to large bowl and let cool completely, about 10 minutes. Whisk in Sriracha, oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.

2. When ready to serve, add cabbage and bell pepper to dressing and toss to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add scallions and peanuts and toss to combine. Serve.

How to Slice Napa Cabbage

Unlike the tightly packed heads of regular cabbage, which require coring to release the leaves, napa cabbage leaves come away from the core with just a slight tug.

Trim base. Stack several leaves and cut thin crosswise. Repeat stacking and cutting for entire head.