Coleslaw, sometimes simply called slaw in some
American dialects, is a type of salad consisting primarily of shredded raw
cabbage. It may also include shredded carrots.
There are many variations
of the recipe which include the addition of other ingredients, such
as red cabbage, pepper, onion, grated cheese, pineapple, or apple.
What distinguishes Coleslaw from cabbage as a
condiment is that it is mixed with a dressing which traditionally
consists of vegetable oil and vinegar or a vinaigrette.
In the U.S. coleslaw also contains buttermilk or
mayonnaise (or its substitutes), and carrot; although many regional
variations exist, and recipes incorporating prepared mustard are
also common. Barbecue slaw, also known as red slaw and
commonly found in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, is made
using ketchup and vinegar rather than mayonnaise.
Another variant, broccoli slaw, uses shredded raw broccoli in
place of the cabbage.
A variety of seasonings, such as celery seed, may be added.
The dressing is usually allowed to settle on the blended ingredients
for several hours before being served. The cabbage may come in
finely minced pieces, shredded strips, or small squares.
Coleslaw is generally eaten as a side dish with
foods such as barbecue, French fries, and fried chicken. It is also
a common sandwich ingredient, placed on barbecue sandwiches,
hamburgers and hot dogs along with chili and hot mustard.
It is sometimes seen in delicatessens on variants of the Reuben
sandwich - with coleslaw substituting for the
sauerkraut and dressing, the meat being either pastrami or corned
beef, and the sandwich commonly called "Rachel" instead of "Reuben"
(also simply "Corned Beef Special"). A variation of coleslaw made
with vinegar and oil is often served with pizza in Sweden.
The term "coleslaw"
arose in the 20th century as an Anglicisation of the Dutch term "koolsla",
a shortening of "koolsalade", which means "cabbage salad".
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