Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday Food #9: Sesame Cabbage

I can't believe I'm going to post a recipe for cooked cabbage, the idea of which is enough to send me screaming in the opposite direction. It conjures for me notions of dank tenement hallways, crying babies, and depressed women in housedresses. Not that I have ever experienced any of the above (well, except the crying babies). I don't know where I got this idea.

The thing is, my kids like cabbage. Especially red (or purple) cabbage, which is pretty, crunchy, and sweet. What's not to like? We shred it and use it as the lettuce for tacos. But then we forget it's in the fridge.

So the other day I found most of a head of cabbage and it was still perfectly fresh. (Another plus: it keeps much better than other greens.) And I had some rice, and some steak that needed to be cooked up that day. So I thought: stir-fry!

This recipe is adapted from New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant. I think their version may be a little bland, but of course kids (my kids, anyway) don't mind that at all. Mine is a little zingier than theirs, and the kids were fine with it.

Here's what you need:

One head of cabbage, more or less. Shred in the food processor or chop into bite-size bits.
3 tbl. vegetable oil
2 tbl. sesame oil
3 tbl. rice vinegar
3 tbl. soy sauce
a pinch of sugar (optional)
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. minced ginger

2 tbl. toasted sesame seeds

Heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan or wok, and add the cabbage when it is hot. Stir-fry until tender, moving it around constantly so the bits on the bottom move up to the top, etc. Mix the next six (through the ginger) ingredients together, and pour them over the cabbage when it is cooked. If you prefer, you can saute the garlic and ginger in the oil until fragrant, before you add the cabbage, but you do run the slight risk of burning the garlic if you do that. I did it anyway because I prefer the garlic cooked. Toss with the sesame seeds and serve over rice. If you like, make Caroline's caramelized tofu to go with this, or do what I did and stir-fry some beef (I think pork would be good, too) in a similar marinade and toss it together with the cabbage before serving.

You can also use other greens for this, of course. Spinach won't take very long at all; chard or kale would take a bit longer, and cabbage takes the longest.

By the way, I wasn't going to post a food thing today; I've got a bunch of stuff to do and I was thinking I could skip it. But then Kate linked to me and I figured I'd better do it! Peer pressure strikes again.


expatmama said...

Hmm, well, I would apologize for putting on the pressure, but that recipe sounds so good I think it was probably worth it! We often end up with half a red cabbage in the fridge, so this would be a great way to use it up!

Mom said...

This reminds me of a recipe I found when I first got the Cooking of China volume in the Time/Life cookbooks series:
Stir Fried Spiced Cabbage -

1 lb (more or less) chinese cabbage, bok choi, green or Savoy cabbage [but I've also made it with red] shredded. Set aside.


5 teaspoons sugar

5 teaspoons white vinegar (I like rice vinegar for this)

2 1/2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce

1 scant teaspoon salt - which I generally omit

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix thoroughly.

Pre-heat a 12" WOK or 10" frying pan on high about 30 seconds and pour in

2 1/2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil

Swirl it around and heat for another 30 seconds, then turn heat down to moderate.

Add the cabbage and stir fry for 2-3 minutes making sure all the cabbage is covered with oil.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the soy/vinegar mixture.

Transfer to a serving dish and let it cool to lukewarm before serving, or serve chilled.