Cabbage, in all its splendid varieties, has long been a part of the Chinese diet. It saddens me to read that today in China the younger generation regard this sturdy vegetable as ‘poor man’s food’, and therefore unworthy of gracing their tables.
This recipe is a traditional one, a simple but tasty recipe using carrots to brighten the cabbage. Use salted water to soften the cabbage in both taste and texture. This is an easy dish to make and is a fine accompaniment for any meat or fish dish.
Trim the cabbage by removing any tough outer leaves. Core and discard the centre stem. Finely shred the cabbage leaves. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage shreds with a tablespoon of salt, then cover with cold water and leave to sit for 1 hour. Rinse well in fresh cold water and drain. Peel and slice the carrots, then finely shred them.
Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the remaining salt, pepper, sugar and carrots and stir-fry for 1 minute. Then add the cabbage and Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry and continue to stir-fry over a high heat for 3 minutes. Add the sesame oil and give the mixture a few good stirs. Transfer to a warm serving dish and serve at once.
© 1996 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.