Hello again. I hope you are keeping well. Spring has sprung here, all be it in stops and starts. It is certainly looking and feeling a lot brighter as the days begin to draw out. I thought I’d reflect the main colour of the season in my choice of post this week. I am a huge fan of all green vegetables, especially cabbage, and this week’s recipe post is based around one of the grandest cabbages, the Savoy.
Last year I was fortunate enough to write recipes for a cookery book aimed at reducing food waste, and ever since then I have sharpened up my act in the kitchen and am trying to come up new ways to use up all the ingredients I prepare. This week, I have 3 recipes for you, showing how you can use up one whole cabbage in different ways and waste very little.
First up is a recipe that uses the bulk of the cabbage, and is my favourite of the 3. I’m always looking for an excuse to cook this one. The dish works well as a meal on it’s own with noodles and a sprinkling of roasted peanuts, or serve it up as a side dish to accompany a roast or other vegetables.
Chilli and sesame baked cabbage
First make the sauce. Mix together 50ml gluten-free sweet chilli sauce with 2tbsp gluten-free light soy sauce, 2tsp sesame oil, 1tbsp sunflower oil and a finely chopped and peeled garlic clove.
Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C fan oven, gas 6. Take 1 medium to large Savoy cabbage, strip off and reserve the darker outer, looser leaves (about 5 or 6), then cut the remaining cabbage ball into 8 equal wedges. Trim away any damaged stem from the stump end, and arrange the wedges snuggly in a roasting tin or baking dish. Spoon over the chilli and sesame sauce, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for a further 15 minutes until tender. Serve sprinkled with freshly chopped red chilli and black or toasted sesame seeds.
My second recipe uses the reserved outer leaves from the recipe preparation above. Again, I have been influenced by Asian flavours, this time using Chinese five spice in the seasoning.
Crispy five spice cabbage
Slice either side of the cabbage leaf stems and remove the stalks – keep them for the next recipe. Finely shred the leaves. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and blanch the cabbage for 1 minute to soften slightly. Drain and cool under cold running water; shake well to remove the excess water, and blot dry using kitchen paper. You can keep the cabbage prepared like this for 24 hours in the fridge if you need to. Make sure the cabbage is thoroughly dry before deep-frying to keep the oil from spitting as much as possible.
For the cabbage seasoning, mix together 1tsp caster sugar, 1tsp smoked or plain salt flakes, ½tsp Chinese five spice powder and ¼-½tsp dried chilli flakes.
When you are ready to cook the cabbage, heat vegetable oil for deep frying in a large saucepan to 160°C and deep fry the cabbage in batches (handfuls) for 2-3 minutes until crispy. Drain and keep warm while cooking the other batches.
Serve the cabbage as soon after cooking as possible in order to enjoy crisp and sprinkle with the prepared five spice sugar and salt.
And so to the third recipe. This is a way to use up the odds and ends from the cabbage that I confess to having thrown away or composted in the past. Discard any part of the vegetable that is damaged or very tough, everything else can be eaten as part of this vegetable dish. I call this Leftover cabbage braise. You can eat it as a side dish, or tossed into pasta, or use it as a base for a soup or vegetable sauce. You can also add any cooked leftover cabbage to the mix for extra bulk, flavour and thriftiness.
Leftover cabbage braise
Finely chop the reserved cabbage stalks and leftovers along with 1 celery stalk and 1 medium leek. Heat 1tbsp vegetable oil in a frying pan and stir fry the vegetables for 2-3 minutes. Add ½tsp ground cumin and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat and cook the vegetables very gently in their own steam for about 15 minutes until tender.
Serve sprinkled with freshly chopped coriander or parsley.
That’s me for another week. I hope you have a good few days. Until my next post, as always, take care and keep safe 🙂