Tuesday, November 08, 2005

how to eat a whole head of cabbage

Cabbage isn't a favorite vegetable of mine ...

... but it's really cheap, and as my mother likes to remind me, it's full of a lot of excellent vitamins and such.

I decided to modify a recipe from Jamie Oliver and make Thai Cabbage Packets (instead of Chinese). It's a little similar to making tamales or dumplings, although not nearly as time intensive as tamales.

With a food processor, it becomes pretty simple to make any sort of filling like this one.

Thai Chicken Cabbage Packets

4 chicken thighs skinned boned, and roughly chopped
3 spring onions
1/3 bunch of cilantro
1 garlic clove smashed
2 T fish sauce
1/2 inch of ginger peeled and smashed
1/2 t sesame oil
juice of 1/2 lime
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chinese Cabbage or
Napa Cabbage

Sriracha sauce mixed with
Fish sauce (the dipping kind, not the cooking kind)

Food processor
Steamer or homemade concocted steamer

In effect, just blitz all the filling ingredients together. Although, unfortunately the foodprocessor can sometimes grind the chicken a little too fine, it doesn't really affect the taste. For a more Chinese taste I would reconstitute some dried black mushrooms, maybe 3-4 mushrooms and mince them in the processor for the filling.

Let the filling marinate for about half an hour in the refrigerator. Then, after thoroughly cleaning the lettuce leaves, use about half of a leaf for each packet. There's no need to make sure they stay wrapped since when you put them in a bamboo steamer, you just butt them up against each other. If you're like me, without a steamer, I just put them in a shallow bowl in a raised big pot. The key is not to let the water flow into where the packets are, and these can be steamed in about one inch of water.

Also, when using the Chinese cabbage, try not to use the strong white vein because that ends up being a little too chewy and awkward.

Steam the packets for at least 8 minutes. Check to see if the thigh meat is cooked through. Jamie Oliver recommends just serving it up in the bamboo steamer, which sounds like a fabulous idea, and put a little sauce container in the middle.

They do come out remarkably pretty and tasty.

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