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This Spiced Mustard Seed Apple Slaw Is The Perfect Bright & Crunchy Side

Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer By Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
Eliza Sullivan is a food writer and SEO editor at mindbodygreen. She writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She studied journalism at Boston University.
This Spiced Apple Slaw Is A Refreshing, Vibrant Addition To Your Fall Table
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Every fall, people talk a lot of game about pumpkin—yet apples are often relegated to the world of sweet dishes or simple snacks. But these fresh crunchy fruits are a perfect addition to many dishes on your table—especially as we head into the holiday season hungry for something to lighten up an otherwise heavy table.

For chef Priyanka Naik, cooking is a means of self-expression: "It's really just a reflection of me as a person; it's a culmination of my heritage. I'm first-generation Indian-American, and I grew up in a land that didn't look like me, or act like me, or eat like me," she told mindbodygreen. It was those experiences that were big drivers for her passion for food, and how her new book The Modern Tiffin (which is out today) came to be.

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This slaw, in particular, comes from her cookbook chapter inspired by South Indian cuisine, specifically a dish called koshumbri. Though Naik is Maharashtrian, she told us that she grew up speaking Kannada—a Southern Indian language from Karnataka, which shares a border with Maharashtra. Because of the overlap, she includes a second chapter of recipes inspired by Southern India, including this one. But what is koshumbri?

"It basically means a side salad or a salad condiment," she explained. "The idea behind it is to complement the other dishes on your plate. It's really all about the balance of textures. It should always be on the colder or room-temp side; it should always include fresh produce."

The other thing it includes is tempered spices, or spices that are toasted and bloomed in hot oil to bring out their flavor and aroma. In this case, the hot oil is poured over the fresh apples.

Naik also shared some advice for dishes to enjoy with this side: "If I were to think about this in the scope of holidays, this goes really well with any type of rice or risotto dish," she suggests. Because of its freshness and spice-forward flavors, the slaw is a natural complement to a starchier dish. "Traditionally we will eat it on the side of rice dishes, alongside vegetable dishes, or with rosti or chapati."

"Weirdly," she added, "it also goes really well with a cornbread."


Red Chili & Mustard Seed Apple Slaw

Makes 2 servings


  • 1 Red Delicious apples
  • ¼ wedge lemon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or neutral cooking oil, for cooking
  • ¼ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • Small pinch (less than ⅛ teaspoon) of hing/asafetida (optional)
  • 4 curry leaves (optional)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh coconut


  1. Prep the apples: Using a sharp chef's knife, julienne the apples. You want to do this by first cutting the apple in half, then in half again lengthwise. Once the quarter of the apple is at an angle, carefully use your knife to discard the middle core.
  2. Place the palm of your hand on the top of the skin side of the apple to cut the apple into thin side rectangles. Once those are cut, you can julienne your rectangles into thin strips. Set the apple strips in a small bowl on the side. Give one small squeeze of the lemon wedge over the apples so they don't oxidize.
  3. Temper the spices: Place a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and allow it to heat up. Once it's shimmery and you see ripples, it's hot. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the mustard seeds. They will pop, so be careful.
  4. Next, break up the red chilies into the skillet and, if using, add the pinch of hing. Lastly, add your curry leaves, if using, and stand back because these pop aggressively! Once the popping subsides, swirl the mixture around until everything is coated, remove from the heat, and immediately pour over the apples and toss.
  5. Add the salt and pepper and squeeze the remaining lemon juice from the lemon wedge. Toss and taste, adding more salt if necessary.
  6. Garnish and serve: Toss in the cilantro and grated coconut right before serving or, if traveling, toss in the coconut and cilantro and place into your tiffin and get going. Enjoy!

Excerpted from The Modern Tiffin: On-the-Go Vegan Dishes With a Global Flair. Copyright © 2021, Priyanka Naik. Photography by Melissa Hom. Reproduced by permission of Tiller Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.


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