Barbara Kafka

Cultured Cabbage


I really like this one. I made it last night to go with pork chops using the tail end of the produce that keeps all winter. The cabbage connection is self-evident. However, I wanted to try something new and I rummaged in my cupboard and this is what I came up with. Made with oil, it is good both hot and cold. The taste is rich so portions do not need to be overwhelming. The flavors are the warm Asian spices--not hot--with a dose of health-giving turmeric. I used American white cabbage because I had it, but also because it has a litle more body than Napa cabbage which could be used instead. Be careful not to touch this as it will dye your fingers saffron color. I used a large wok, but a deepish braising pan could be used as well. The cooking starts out with a large amount that shrinks dramatically as the stir frying goes on.Use long wooden spoons or you will get too hot and spattered.

1/2 cup peanut oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, optional
2 tablespoons ground turmeric
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 large yellow onion, sweet if possible, halved and thinly sliced, about 4 cups
A 2-pound cabbage, quartered, cored and thinly sliced, about 12 cups
6 cardamom pods not crushed
2 star anise broken in pieces
1/4 cup wheat free tamari soy
1/4 cup umeboshi or rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Hot red pepper sauce to taste, optional

Heat oil in a large pan, stir in turmeric and cumin. Cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add onion and stir fry until limp but not browned. Add cabbage, cardamom and star anise and stir fry for fifteen minutes. Pour in soy and vinegar and stir in salt. Taste. If desired, add hot pepper sauce.

Makes 5 to 6 cups to feed 4 to 6

Return to Recipes