Pg. 149 – Lucky Peach Issue #5
This is a great side dish or it can be a meal – I ate it for dinner myself. Start with finding yourself some fresh Napa Cabbage. I went to my local farmer’s market and bought one that was pretty much all white, but many are like a light green and white. Napa Cabbage is a Chinese cabbage and is lighter in color than any of the other Chinese cabbages.
The recipe is courtesy of culinary anthropologist Naomi Duguid. She has written a book about the food culture of Burma and in Lucky Peach she explains that this recipe is “Chinese-inflected but still firmly anchored in the Burmese tradition (hence the turmeric and dried red chiles, as well as the overall balance).” She also shared that a common base for Burmese dishes starts with shallots cooked in a turmeric-scented oil. Let’s talk about turmeric for a second here. It’s a fantastic orange colored spice that’s part of the ginger family and a native of southeast Asia. It’s common in curries and mustards because of its slightly hot peppery taste. Good stuff, people. Buy some, use it in this recipe and then experiment – it’s really good on chicken, and in rice.
Okay, so here’s what you’ll need:
I’m so lazy. I think it’s hilarious that I’m offering you a photo of the ingredients. Really, what a lazy ass.
And so, get your cabbage, chop it up and put it all in bowl of cold water. Scrunch through it a bit with your hands to make sure it gets completely cleaned and then strain it and set it aside.
Combine the water and oyster sauce. You’ll add this into the stir-fry later.
Chop up your shallot, mince your ginger and cut your dried red chiles. I had some dried anaheim peppers from my garden so I used those. I think your best bet is anything you know is spicy and will give you the kick you like. Of course, any Asian pepper would probably tip this off in the right direction too.
Put the peanut oil in a wok – or large skillet in my case, since I DO NOT HAVE A WOK. I know. Let’s revisit this later. Keep the heat at medium-high and add the tumeric to the oil, then throw in the shallots, ginger, and dried chiles.
The turn the heat up, and add the cabbage and the salt and wok it up. That means stir-fry!
Continually toss the cabbage and press it to the side of the pan even, for about 2 – 3 minutes and then add the oyster sauce mixture and bring it to a boil and continue stir-frying. Give it like 15 – 20 seconds and it’s done!
This tasted terrific. The turmeric gives it this rich spicy aromatic flavor and the chile peppers add a good kick. The oyster sauce is a nice dark sweet compliment. I’m adding this dish to my normal routine – it’s easy, quick, and very tasty. Plus, it reminded me how much I NEED A FUCKING WOK AGAIN. Long story, I moved and lost it. The End. Okay, more like short story. I recommend a dark red malbec to go with this party of one.