Aaron Bertelsen’s Mauritian slaw

The Global Generation Skip Garden in London’s King’s Cross is a great spot. The café served this colourful and substantial salad in alongside pies, quiches and toasted sandwiches. The Skip Garden’s version of the classic Mauritian slaw achard de légumes combines the best seasonal vegetables with the warmth and vibrancy of the East African coast. To vary the flavours, you can also add grated fresh ginger to the spices while they are toasting and sprinkle over some toasted desiccated coconut, or pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds to add a little more texture and nutty flavour.

Mauritian slaw
Andrew Montgomery

SERVES 4-6

PREP TIME 15 minutes

COOK TIME 5 minutes

6 black or curly kale leaves, washed, dried, tough stems and ribs removed, coarsely chopped
a substantial pinch each of salt and caster sugar
1/4 small red cabbage (about 250g), core removed and the rest thinly sliced
2 large carrots (about 350g), washed and coarsely grated
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
pepper

1. Put the kale in a large bowl, add the salt and sugar and massage the ingredients into the leaves for about 30 seconds then set aside. Combine the red cabbage and carrot in another large bowl. 

2. Place a good, heavy frying pan over a medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the mustard and cumin seeds and cook for about 10 seconds, then add the coriander and turmeric and cook for a few more seconds. You will know the spices are toasted when they release their aromas and the seeds begin to shimmy about in the pan. 

3. Tip the spices straight into the bowl with the carrot and cabbage, then add the kale, oil and lemon zest and juice. Mix the Mauritian slaw well, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, then serve. 

Growing kale

I like to grow kale as a winter crop – the cold improves the flavour and kills off the eggs of cabbage white butterflies which can be a real nuisance. I find the butterflies that do survive are less attracted to curly kale varieties. I start off the seed in pots in late spring or early summer, then plant them out into their final position once they are about 5cm tall, leaving 10cm-15cm between the plants. The aim is to avoid the pests but still give the crop a long enough growing season to reach a decent size before the cold weather hits and checks their growth.

Buy Aaron’s fabulous new book with a 20 per cent discount

Grow Fruit and Vegetables in Pots: Planting Advice and Recipes from Great Dixter will be published by Phaidon Press Ltd on 7 February, price £24.95. To order a copy for £19.95 with free p&p until 2 March call 01603 648155 or go to mailshop.co.uk.