I'm quite a fan of cabbage in all its forms. I like it raw, grilled, stewed, stir fried, as a main course, condiment, a wrapper, or a filling. I like it American, Russian, Indian, and all types of Asian styles.
I like it red, green, white, small, large, frizzled, hard, soft, or fermented.
It's not a surprise that when I used my Burma cook book as a weight for my batch of weekend paneer and flipped through it once again, I paused for this cabbage-glorifying recipe. I actually paused for a few different cabbage-glorifying recipes, but this one used napa cabbage which was the closest to what I had on hand. What is it I like so much about cabbage? Probably the sweetness it exudes when cooked and crunch it has when raw. It's the way it can keep its freshness for weeks so I can afford to buy a whole head and be the only cabbage eater in the house. I can always find several things to do with a single head of cabbage without wasting one shred of it.
That on it's own makes it an amazing food.
That and the fact it comes in purple... and that today is St. Patrick's day.. so it's almost a legal obligation to eat cabbage today.
Inspired by Naomi Duguid's "Burma: Rivers of Flavor" Smokey Napa Stir-Fry p.115
Serves 4-6 as a side
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 green chile, sliced
2 small shallots, sliced
1/2 inch ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 head cabbage (about 3 cups) shredded
1 Tbsp oyster sauce (or mushroom sauce)
1/2 cup hot water
few grinds green pepper
Thai red chile
1. Heat the oil on high in a wok, then add the turmeric until it fizzes.
2. Add the green chile, shallots, ginger, and garlic. Lower the heat just a touch and stir fry until the shallots are tender, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
3. Add in the shredded cabbage and stir until well coated and it starts to soften. Naomi does this with savoy cabbage. I happened to have just a normal cabbage and it worked out rather well. Don't fuss about these types of details.
4. While the cabbage is coloring, stir the hot water onto the oyster sauce and add the green pepper grinds. Set aside.
5. After about 5-7 minutes of stir frying the cabbage, pour in the oyster sauce mixture. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Serve garnished as you like. I sprinkled some sesame seeds and fried shallots before deciding to add a Thai red chile.
I served mine in a Burmese thali alongside some Lemongrass Coconut Chickpeas and red and white rice.
I will continue to find more reasons for which cabbage must at all times be a part of my edible inventory.. especially this time of year... or should I say, especially any time of year!