Just a week into 2016, I have landed myself with a couple of catering jobs. It was lunch catering for a two-days fashion photo shoots event, so the year has started pretty well I must say! There are a couple of other food projects I am working on right now as well as writing a short essay about ‘home and food’ for a friend’s online magazine, will let you know more about these projects once I know more! I am rather excited about all these new opportunities and hoping that they will all work out, I am curious to see how all these adventures unfold and where they will lead me.
Before I talk about today’t recipe (s), I would like to give you a little idea of what food I made for the events last month. The menu for the first event was oven-baked baguette sandwiches filled with mixed chili mushrooms with avocado cream, toasted double sesames and fresh coriander. I made a classic coleslaw on the side, then followed by pineapple and blueberry salad with fresh mint. Day two was sumac roasted cauliflowers with lentil, rice, dates, toasted hazelnuts and lots of fresh herbs. I also prepared herb pita chips and homemade hummus, followed by blood orange, pomelo and pomegranate salad. Overall I had a pretty good feedback from my clients, nothing makes me happier than knowing that people enjoy my food and all the hard work has paid off! This is why I love my work so much!
Going back to the cabbage recipe(s), the reason I decided to write a post like this one, because it is also a problem I encounter from time to time. I like cabbage a lot, but the sheer size of it makes me hesitated to buy it. If I cook a recipe with white cabbage for one dish, it will more likely that there will be at least two third of it leftover, it will then either be sitting on the counter top for the rest of the week, staring at me every time I walk past the kitchen, or being tucked inside the fridge until it dried out and ended up in the bin. Since I don’t like to waste food, therefore I seldom buy it unless I have to for a particular recipe. I am sad that I can’t pick up a cabbage in the shop just like I would a head of broccoli, but I would really like to change that.
After this catering event, I was back home and sorting out all the ingredients I have left from the job. I was staring at the cabbage and wondering what I should do with it, so I came up with three recipes that would happily use up the rest of the cabbage I had, and I was very glad with the result, and I hope these recipes, or even just one of them, gives you some inspirations of what to cook with cabbage that you will no longer be dreading to buy.
By the way, Chinese New Year is only a few days away, these recipes will be wonderful as part of the new year dinner feast! Let me know what you are cooking to celebrate the turn of the new Luna year, I would very much love to hear!
‘Kung Hei Fat Choi’ – Happy Chinese New Year!
Cabbage – 3 ways
1. Pan-fried Pork and Cabbage Gyoza
2. Pork and Cabbage Patties served with Tamari, Ginger Lime Dipping Sauce
3. Quick Cabbage Kimchi
Pan-Fried Pork and Cabbage Gyoza
makes about 24 (with leftover fillings for the second recipe)
- 300g organic minced pork
- 3 dried shiitake mushroom, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, drained (keep the soaking water) and squeezed dry, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. grated ginger
- a small pinch of sugar
- 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp. tamari or regular soy sauce
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 handful of finely chopped cabbage
- 24 (1 pack) gyoza wrappers
Prepare the fillings by combine the first 7 ingredients in a mixing bowl until well combined. Then slowly add the mushroom soaking water (about 1/2 cup) in three separate times: incorporate the water with the meat mixture until the liquid is fully absorbed by the meat before each addition. Add the finely chopped cabbage to the mixture and mix well.
To make the dumplings: prepare a large platter lined with baking parchment (to prevent the dumplings from sticking to the platter). Place a dumpling wrapper on one of your hands (on the fingers and upper part of the palm). Put a heaped teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper, wet one fingertip of your other hand and trace around the edge of half the wrapper. Fold over the wrapper to form a half moon shape, pinch the edge and seal. Make sure the wrapper is completely sealed. Push the bottom part of the dumpling (where the filling is) flat with your two thumbs and at the same time form it towards the sealed edge to create a crescent shape. Place the dumpling on the prepared platter and cover with cling film. Repeat with the rest of the wrappers and filling (you will have left over filling).
To cook the dumplings, place a non-stick pan on medium high heat, grease the pan with vegetable oil with a kitchen towel (like greasing a cake tin). Place the dumplings one by one in the pan; bring about 5 pieces close in contact with each other (they will stick together at the bottom and it makes it easier to remove them), for about 2 minutes. Carefully lift up one dumpling and check if the bottom has started to brown (be careful, at this stage the wrapper can easily burn).
Once the bottom is lightly brown, pour in some water slowly to just cover the bottom of the pan. Cover with a lid and let them steam and cook until liquid has nearly be absorbed (about 3 minutes).
Then remove the lid, turn the heat down to medium, then let the rest of the liquid evaporate, add in some sesame oil. Now the dumplings will be frying again – do not attempt to move them around. After about 2 minutes, check the bottom of the dumplings: if they are crispy brown (see picture), it means they are ready.
Use a spatula to careful lift the dumplings (5 pieces together) onto a serving plate and served immediately. You can also make the lime dipping sauce from the recipe below for the gyoza.
Pork and Cabbage Patties served with Tamari, Ginger Lime Dipping Sauce
Served 3-4 as part of a big meal
For the patties:
- Pork filing from the Gyoza recipe
- A large handful of shredded cabbage
- 2 spring onion, sliced (for garnish)
- pinch of toasted sesame seeds
For the dipping sauce:
(it will make plenty, left over can be stored in a glass jar and in the fridge for a week)
- 1/2 cup tamari or regular soy sauce
- 1 tsp. grated ginger
- Juice of one lime
First prepare the dipping sauce by combining all ingredients. Set aside.
To make the patties: combine the shredded cabbage and meat filling in a large mixing bowl with you hand, it is ok to have much more cabbage than meat.
Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan with vegetable oil. Add a heaped tablespoon of mixture on the pan, and then use the back of your spoon to slightly flatten it, make sure the cabbages are sticked to the meat. Repeat until you have a few in the pan at the same time, do not over crowded the pan. Cook about 1.5 minutes on each side on medium heat, until cook through. Transfer the cooked ones on a serving plate and keep warm while you cook the rest. Scatter the sliced spring onions and sesame seeds before serving with the dipping sauce.
Quick Cabbage Kimchi
- 3 spring onion, finely sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. grated ginger
- 1/4 cup Korean chili powder
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 tsp. sugar
- The rest of the cabbage, shredded (about 5 cups, packed)
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1/4 cup sea salt
In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded cabbages and sea salt. Let it stand for about 30-45 minutes. When the time is up, drain the water from the mixing bowl. Rinse the cabbages once.
To prepare the paste, put the first 6 ingredients plus in a bowl, mix well.
Combine the salted cabbages and carrot in a large mixing bowl. Use your hand (with gloves) gently incorporate the paste to the vegetables, make sure all the vegetables are coated with the paste. About 3 minutes. Have a taste, and adjust the seasoning as you wish.
You can serve it immediately or transfer the mixture into a clean air tight glass jar and really push all the vegetables down and allow some head space inside the jar. Seal with the lid, and leave it in a cool dry place (or kitchen counter) for 1 day.
After 1 day, transfer the jar of kimchi in the fridge. It will keep well for a week or so.