Food & Wine (June 2016)
We promise not to be one of those couples who, you know, goes to Japan and then everything we say is about Japan. ("This sushi's fine, I guess, but it's nothing like what we had at Tsukiji in Tokyo...")
HOWEVER. We need to talk about Kewpie mayonnaise.
Kewpie mayonnaise is the most popular mayo in Japan. While we were there, we saw it on lots of stuff, most notably -- and most deliciously -- atop those amazing okonomiyaki pancakes. According to the Kewpie website, it was the first mayonnaise to be introduced in Japan, in 1925. And it's been a fixture on Japanese tables ever since.
Three things you need to know about Kewpie mayonnaise:
- The bottle is crazy adorable, thanks to the Kewpie doll on the label. (Which, fun fact: Kewpie dolls are actually from Germany, based on a comic strip from the American Midwest.) Seriously, have you ever seen cuter mayo??
2. Kewpie is thicker, richer and creamier than other mayonnaise. It's also got more of that crave-worthy umami flavor. (Thanks, MSG!)
3. It is a secret-weapon ingredient in this amazingly delicious Kohlrabi Slaw with Harissa Dressing.
But we haven't even talked about the titular stars of this summer slaw: the kohlrabi and the harissa.
Kohlrabi is perfect here. It's crisp, like an apple or jicama, so it holds its crunch in this slaw way better than cabbage does.
The harissa is marvelous. The spicy chile paste adds some great heat and flavor to this slaw. (Three tablespoons may seem like a lot of harissa, but we found it to be just the right amount.)
Fair warning: This is one of those deceptively time-consuming recipes in which the ingredient list involves a lot of prep time. We've complained about this in the past. A recipe seems incredibly simple -- in this case, the entire directions consist of, "Throw everything together in a bowl!" -- because all the work is hidden in the ingredients.
Take the first two ingredients, for instance: "4 kohlrabi (1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into thin julienne," and "1/2 small red cabbage, finely shredded (4 cups)." Those two ingredients took one of us more than 20 minutes to prepare.
Now, we're not dinging Food & Wine: The recipe says the prep work takes 25 minutes, which is more or less what it took us. We appreciate that honesty. (Not every food magazine or cookbook is so straightforward.) We're just saying: Pay attention to the whole recipe when you read it.
We're also not complaining: This slaw is absolutely worth the time it takes.
It's a marvelous summer slaw that's crisper and more flavorful than traditional coleslaw. We've eaten it several times this week -- it's a fantastic side dish for grilled chicken. And we're salivating at the thought of this slaw alongside some sweet barbecue. Heaven!
Total time: 25 mins
Servings: Makes about 6 cups
4 kohlrabi (1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into thin julienne
1/2 small red cabbage, finely shredded (4 cups)
2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup Kewpie mayonnaise
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons harissa
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat. Season with salt.
MAKE AHEAD: The kohlrabi slaw can be refrigerated overnight.