Cabbage is green in more ways than one

BY THE STRAITS TIMES, 19 APR 2020

(Clockwise from foreground) Cabbage Medley, Spicy Cabbage and Cabbage With Dried Shrimp. PHOTO: Straits Times

It reduces food wastage as it keeps well in the fridge longer than other vegetables. Here are three easy and interesting recipes

How do you reduce food wastage at home?

Start by taking stock of what is in your fridge, especially the vegetables as they are highly perishable.

I have a habit of making a list of items in the fridge and sticking it on the door. This way, I can keep track of what I have and plan my meals with the goal of using up the more perishable items first.

Keep your list updated so you can better plan your next shopping trip and avoid overbuying.

When it comes to vegetables, cabbage is a sensible choice as it keeps well in the fridge, longer than other leafy greens. Stored in the crisper drawer, the cabbage should be able to last for two weeks or longer if you get a fresh head.

Place leftover raw cabbage in a resealable bag or seal it with plastic wrap and store it in the crisper drawer.

Did you know that the core or stem of the cabbage is very sweet and tasty? So, do not throw it out. To make the core more palatable, cut it into smaller pieces so it cooks more quickly.

When cooking cabbage, vary the cooking time to suit your personal preference. Some like the leaves more tender, while others prefer a more crunchy texture.

A head of cabbage can make a few dishes. But to avoid fatigue or wastage, I recommend three easy and interesting recipes.

A popular cooking method is to stir-fry cabbage with dried prawn and garlic. I opted for dried shrimp as I have a stash of it in my fridge. You can also substitute that with ikan bilis.

Of late, I prefer using fish sauce instead of oyster sauce. For a vegetarian version, use a combination of light soya sauce and salt instead.

The second recipe - my favourite - is to cook cabbage with a medley of other vegetables. Sugar snap pea pods and carrot give the dish a sweet and crunchy lift. I also love the springy texture of woodear mushroom.

Too bland for your taste? Then make your own spice paste with a few simple ingredients.

My recipe churns out 145g of paste - it is difficult to use the blender with smaller quantities - but only half that amount is required for 500g of cabbage.

Fry the spice paste and keep the remainder in an air-tight glass jar, in the fridge, for up to two weeks. Use that to fry up more cabbage, spinach or sweet potato leaves.

Spicy cabbage

Ingredients

  • 30g dried prawn


  • 20g garlic


  • 80g shallots


  • 2 red finger chillies


  • 1 red chilli padi


  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • 1/4 tsp sugar


  • 3 Tbs cooking oil


  • 500g cabbage


  • 1 1/2 Tbs fish sauce


  • 80ml water

Method

1. In a blender, add the dried prawn, garlic, shallots, red finger chillies and chilli padi. Blend.

2. Add the salt and sugar. Blend until the mixture becomes a smooth paste.

3. In a frying pan, heat three tablespoons of cooking oil.

4. Add the spice paste and fry over medium heat for five minutes until the paste is fragrant.

5. Add the cabbage and fish sauce. Stir-fry for one minute.

6. Add the water. Mix well and cook covered for three minutes, stir-frying occasionally.

7. Serve immediately.

Makes three to four servings

Cabbage with dried shrimp

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs cooking oil


  • 10g dried shrimp, rinsed


  • 3 garlic cloves (20g), chopped 500g cabbage, cut into bite-sized pieces


  • 2 Tbs fish sauce


  • 2 tsp light soya sauce

Method

1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the dried shrimp. Fry over high heat for one minute.

2. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds.

3. Add the cabbage and stir-fry for 30 seconds.

4. Add the fish sauce and light soya sauce.

5. Cover and cook for two minutes, stir-frying occasionally.

6. Switch off the heat and keep the cover on if you prefer your cabbage more tender.

7. Serve immediately.

Makes three to four servings

Cabbage medley

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs cooking oil


  • 3 garlic cloves (20g), chopped


  • 7g dried woodear mushroom, soaked in hot water (50g when rehydrated)


  • 65g sugar snap pea pods, stems and strings removed


  • 1 carrot (115g), halved lengthwise and diagonally sliced 380g cabbage


  • 2 Tbs fish sauce


  • 2 tsp light soya sauce


  • Dash of white ground pepper

Method

1. Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan.

2. Using high heat, add the garlic and stir-fry for 20 seconds and add the woodear mushroom, sugar snap pea pods and carrot. Fry for one minute.

3. Add the cabbage, fish sauce, light soya sauce and ground white pepper.

4. Stir-fry for one minute. Cover and stir-fry occasionally for two minutes.

5. Switch off the heat and cover for another one minute if you want your cabbage more tender.

6. Serve immediately.

Makes three to four servings

 

This article is produced in partnership with ST Life.

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