Sunday, May 24, 2009

Spicy Cabbage Saute

Today was full of firsts for me in the produce world. Instead of staring at and then walking by leeks and cabbage at the supermarket, I actually picked one of each up, put them in my cart, paid for them, took them home and cooked with them.

Leeks? Ok, that's semi-understandable. It's possible to make it through life and not ever buy one. I don't recommend it, but I see how it's possible. They're a member of the onion family, but with a much more subtle flavor. And I don't cry when I cut them. Why have I ignored these for so long?

Cabbage? I know, it's unforgivable. I love cabbage! I have no excuses. None. I hang my head in shame.

I was at the library yesterday trying to find a good bread cookbook, because I've sworn off buying bread at the store and I make it all at home now (and you'll soon be introduced to recipes that have passed muster, because you should be making your own bread too, but that's another post for another time). In the middle of my browsing I threw some other books into my pile, because it's a library and that's what you do. 

Oddly enough, I have been wanting to do a cabbage stir-fry for a while now. Over the past few months I have been seeing many recipes that look extremely simple and are followed by pages and pages of comments about how delicious the particular dish is. I love cabbage and until today had never used it in a recipe (which you now know, so let's not dwell on this or judge), so I made the mental note "cook something like this soon" and then promptly forgot about it.

And then, in my stack of books, I found this recipe and I knew what was for lunch today. 

Spicy Cabbage Saute
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection: Healthy Side Dishes

3 tbsp olive oil
1 small leek, white part only, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into strips
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into strips
1/2 small green cabbage (3/4 lb), cored and finely shredded
1 tsp chili paste with garlic (or to taste; next time I will use a bit more)
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup water or chicken stock
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper

1) In a wok or deep frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil.
2) Add the leek and saute, stirring, until slightly softened (about 3-4 minutes).
3) Add the carrots, bell pepper, and zucchini. Saute, stirring, until just tender (about 3 minutes).
4) Add the cabbage and mix well. Cook, covered, until wilted (about 3 minutes).
5) Add the chili paste, curry powder, water or chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Stir to mix well. Cover and cook for about 1 minute longer.

-My ability to properly read a recipe seems to have failed me today, because I went "huh?" when I was typing the recipe and saw that it called for only 1/2 a red bell pepper. I used the whole pepper, and it was wonderful.
-If you don't happen to live in the middle of Thai Town like me, don't fret, chili paste is easily found in the Asian food section of your local supermarket.
-Leeks, I've been told, tend to be gritty when bought, and need to be thoroughly washed to remove all of the dirt and sand. After cutting off the greens and tough root end, halve the remaining white part lengthwise; you'll then be able to peel apart the layers and rinse them.


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  2. I think this will be my next conquest...