This dish will tickle your palate, tingle your tongue, put your mouth on fire and awaken you from the autumn lethargy. If you like bold fiery flavours, you will fall in love with this exotic cabbage transformation. It will also convince you that this vegetable is not as boring or humble as it seems.
I bookmarked this side-dish quite a long time ago and was reminded about it only last week when MJ (from MJ’s Kitchen) posted her delightful Sausage with Cabbage and Onions. The recipe comes from the marvellous Sichuan Cookery by Fuchsia Dunlop, a wonderful book I strongly recommend to all the Chinese cuisine fans. Just like all the Ms Dunlop’s dishes I have tested, this was an amazing discovery. It takes only ten minutes (cutting included), calls for very few ingredients and is perfect served with any Asian meal. The cabbage softens slightly, but stays crunchy and, thanks to Sichuan peppercorns, dried chilli and vinegar, ends up as a complex exotic dish, particularly appreciated by hot food lovers.
If you look for other original cabbage recipes, you might like:
If you are interested in the Sichuan/Szechuan cuisine, I recommend these (all the recipes can be found in the above-mentioned Sichuan Cookery by Fuchsia Dunlop):
TIPS: Sichuan peppercorns are not related to black pepper, have a completely different taste, aroma and cannot be substituted by anything. They are sold in most Asian grocery shops and look like very dark red or brown small husks.
Black Chinkiang vinegar can be replaced with malt or balsamic vinegar, but if you have an Asian grocery shop nearby, do buy it. It has a unique taste and aroma.
Preparation: 10 minutes
Ingredients (serves two as a side-dish or four if you serve several side-dishes):
1/2 small white cabbage
1 flat teaspoon whole Sichuan peppercorns
5-6 dried chilli peppers, broken into pieces or whole, if you prefer
2 tablespoons black Chinkiang vinegar (can be substituted with malt vinegar or balsamic vinegar)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Cut the cabbage into squares or slice it.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan or wok.
Fry the Sichuan peppercorns and the chillies on medium heat until they become fragrant (about 30 seconds).
Add the cabbage and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
Add the salt, stir-fry for one more minute.
At the end add the vinegar and the sesame oil.
Give the dish a last stir and serve.