Friday, May 4, 2012

Recipe: Napa Cabbage Side

I'm always on the lookout for quick and easy side dishes, especially those using vegetables that I wouldn't necessarily pick up at the grocery store. I love trying new produce!

Napa cabbage is one of those veggies I picked up on a whim after seeing an article about how versatile these greens are... and it turns out that napa is my favourite cabbage! They're the oblong ones, often called "Chinese cabbage" - they usually look like this, though sometimes they're skinnier with pointed tops:
I love the leafy crunchy freshness of it.
Although awesome in a coleslaw, I usually make this quick stir-fry side dish with it.

Napa Cabbage Side

Ingredients:

1/2 a large white onion
1 sweet red bell pepper
1 hot red pepper (optional)
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 a head of napa cabbage
seasoning: oregano, pepper, seasoned salt
sauce: soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, sesame oil
vegetable oil

Methods:

1. Thinly slice the onion, peppers and garlic.
Feel free to omit the hot pepper if you can't handle heat. Alternatively, use only half of it, or a slightly less spicy pepper (like a jalapeno or hot yellow pepper). Or sprinkle in some dried red pepper flakes along with the seasoning, whatever you prefer and/or have on hand.

2. Cut the head of napa in half lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Set aside.

3. Warm a tbsp or two of vegetable oil in a wok on medium-high heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic.
Season with a dash of salt (not too much as we'll be adding soy sauce momentarily), pepper and oregano (or your favourite herb/spice - I've been on an oregano kick lately and really liked it in this side).

4. Stir-fry until fragrant (frying onions and garlic is one of my favourite aromas!) and onions are slightly translucent.

5. Add the cabbage.
It'll almost seem like too much for your pan, but don't worry, it will cook down. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Keep shuffling everything around in the pan as it cooks.

6. Once the cabbage has cooked down by about half, add the sauce.
I haven't included any concrete measurements above for the sauce because it really depends on your taste and the size of the veggies you used. Start with about 1/2 tsp of sesame oil and fish sauce (you don't need much of these for maximum flavour) and 3 tsp each of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. I ended up using about 4 tsp of rice wine vinegar and 8 tsp of soy sauce. Keep tasting and adding more until you're satisfied.

Enjoy!
I served this alongside shake'n'baked pork chops, but this side really is versatile. With it's slightly Asian flavours, you could pair it with any number of dishes. It's also pretty tasty the next day, either warmed up or cold, straight from the fridge (if there's any left, that is).       

2 comments:

Mrs Linee said...

Yum - We call that Wombok Cabbage her in OZ..

The Belly Dancer said...

It looks really good. I love the smell of garlic and onion as it fries too. And I can't cook without oregano. Pinned.