Chinese Cabbage, Two Ways

Voila – 2 dishes in the time it takes to prepare 1! This is a recipe my husband came up with as a solution to the fact that our kids won’t eat spicy food but like cabbage, and we love cabbage and spice. You can make a very pretty presentation by putting the two types side by side in the same serving dish, but that does defeat the purpose of keeping part of it untouched by chilies. You can use napa cabbage or bok choy, but in either case, make sure that you are able to serve this dish immediately after stirfrying, so if you’re doing multiple dishes, this would be a good dish to cook last.

ingredients:

  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, fresh or dried
  • 1.5 lb napa cabbage or bok choy (not the baby kind)
  • 2 T oil
  • 1/2  tsp salt
  • up to 1/4 c water (or broth or mushroom soaking liquid)
  • 1 T chili sauce – sriracha works well, or you can use up to 1 tsp of chopped salted chilies, which tend to be much hotter and less salty
  • 1/2 tsp sugar, brown or raw cane is best
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar

method

  1. If using fresh shiitakes, remove the stems (save for a stock!) and cut caps into 1/4″ strips. If using dried mushrooms, soak them in boiling water until softened, reserving the water for use later.
  2. Separate the cabbage leaves and wash thoroughly – a good soak won’t hurt them and will get rid of any grit by the stems.
  3. Combine the chili sauce or chilies with the sugar and vinegar, set aside.
  4. Cut the leaves in half lengthwise, then into 1″ ribbons across the leafy parts. Cut the crunchier stem ends into 1″ dice or 1/2″ strips.
  5. Heat 1 T of oil in the wok over high heat until it shimmers, then add the mushrooms, stirfrying quickly.
  6. Add the leafy sections, and stirfry until they are coated with oil.
  7. Add 1/4 tsp of the salt and continue to stirfry as the cabbage releases its juices. If necessary, add a bit of liquid to keep the mixture moist until it reaches the desired doneness – some people prefer it crunchy, others like it cooked through.
  8. Adjust the seasoning and transfer to a serving plate.
  9. Heat the remaining 1 T of oil in the wok over high heat until it shimmers, then add the stem ends of the cabbage, stirfrying until they reach the desired degree of tenderness (or remain slightly crunchy).
  10. Add the chili sauce or chopped salted chilies mixture, stirfry briefly to combine, adjust seasoning, and transfer to a serving plate.
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