Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thai Spiced Cabbage

This recipe flirted with me tonight.

I was looking for something different as I flipped though The Complete Step by Step Cookbook, a book I have not looked at in a few years.

I looked at this recipe like someone who catches your eye while walking down the aisles of a store.

I flipped though a few pages and then came back to it. We gave each other a spicy smile but kept going about our way.

Arriving back on page 297 and we passed yet again, this time I swear it winked at me. I couldn't resist. Forget monogamy...errr...monotony. I gave in and tried something different.

Spiced Cabbage

The Complete Step by Step Cookbook

14 peppercorns
2 tablespoons coconut cream
2 shallots, chopped

4 oz lean pork, finely chopped

About 1 lb white cabbage, fineliy sliced

1 1/4 cups coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 fresh red chile, very finely chopped


In a wok, heat peppercorns about 3 minutes, until aroma changes.

Stir in coconut cream, heat 2-3 minutes, then stir in shallots.
Stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in pork and cabbage. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.

Add coconut milk and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes.

Uncover and cook about 10 minutes until cabbage is crisp-tender. Stir in fish sauce. Sprinkle with chopped chile.

You'll notice their ingredient list doesn't include oil and neither do the instructions. They are presuming you are using a well seasoned wok. I didn't have any lean pork, so I substituted some partially crisped bacon. I had to choose between a fresh green jalapeno and dried red chiles, so I went with the red.

And after cooking this recipe, I know that the coconut cream can't be substituted in this dish. It's not just the flavor, it seems like it brought the oil that the shallots will need to saute.

The bacon and veggies started crisping up nicely before things went partially awry.

The flavor of the dish was impressive, in our opinion. The reduced coconut's sweetness was balanced out by the heat of the peppercorn and red pepper flakes.

But both of us thought the end result had a little too much liquid.

Two issues.

First, part of that is because in my SWAG measurement system, a head of cabbage is 2 lbs so half a head would give the 1lb needed for this recipe. In retrospect and after checking the receipt, this one was only 1.92 lbs and after halving it and removing the core, we probably had about .8 lbs of shredded cabbage.

Second, THEIR recipe said ABOUT 1 lb. The pictures of their wok in the book clearly show more like 1 1/2 lbs.

No big deal, it still delivered a creamy and pleasing taste. But to make it perfect, next time we both agreed we would EITHER add 1/2 lb of a Chinese cabbage like Napa OR cut the coconut milk to about 3/4 cup instead of 1 1/4 cup.

I look forward to trying this again with a few modifications.

So what recipe has recently flirted with you?
1) Tell me about a dish that you ordered/tasted that you normally wouldn't have. Or,
2) Show us your "scarlet letter", post a link to a recipe in your blog that tempted you and caused you to "stray" from monotony.


  1. Recently, I ordered a macadamia crusted mahi mahi dish at a local establishment but only after it gave me the once over and blew kisses my way. It turned out lovely, I was completely satisfied:)

    Sorry your dish wasn't as stellar as your others, sometimes that happens when one strays, kinda like an std Id imagine. hahahahaha

  2. I guess the Irish in me says yes to cabbage any way I can get it...scarlet letter...hmmm will have to think on this one, since I go for most things...

  3. ******SIGH**********
    A Saints Game Sidedish for sure. I am not certain however that I can wait till Sunday.

    Blowing Mississippi Kisses toward your kitchen!

    Yes, yes, yes......

  4. This is something I think I would try with your modifications and really enjoy...my husband, not so much. He's not big on coconut. This soup is definitely flirting with me. Your photos are stunning!

    Yikes, I would have to go through my archives to where i really stepped out of my comfort zone...I know it's a Thai recipe.

  5. I enjoy flirting with recipes too. I rarely make the traditional mayonnaise slaw but prefer the flavors of the vinegar slaws.

  6. In my world that's called cruising (if I remember correctly) and it usually ends well (id I remember correctly)... GREG

  7. I think it sounds great - too saucy isn't bad if the sauce is coconut cream :).

    I just saw a recipe on Live.Love.Eat for Breakfast Potato Skins that truly made my heart beat faster.

    In answer to your question on my blog... I usually use homemade chicken broth but if I don't have any, then I like to use Pacific Natural Foods Free Range Organic Chicken Broth and yes, it's fat free.

    I never heard back from you in regards to martial arts for my kids. What would you recommend for my 7 year old daughter and 4 1/2 year old son?

  8. Mmm! Cabbage, bacon, peppers, coconut milk . . . be still my heart! This sounds delish and I love your photos. (nice bokeh) I am an adventutarian - lots of tastes out there to enjoy and I'm going to try as many as I can. These days it's a wedge of sweet crispy Fuji apple dipped in a plate of melted gorgonzola.

  9. Ooooh, I love the sub-in of bacon. Mmmmmmm bacon.

    Too bad the jalapenos had to stay out. I bet they were lonely.

    I know it didn't turn out perfect, but this looks like a tasty experiment!

  10. I like the recipe. It looks so simple but I find it too plain.

  11. If you like cookiing Thai food, may I recommend this site

  12. This does look like a pretty intriguing dish. I may give it a try at a friend's house where we bought some fish sauce to make chicken masala. I mean, how many recipes really call for fish sauce? :)

    My scarlet letter was a recipe for maple syrup scones I found over at 101cookbooks.com:
    The recipe calls for whole wheat pastry flour and either quinoa or rolled oats. I've made these twice now (they're a winner in my book!). I used white whole wheat flour and quick oats the first time, and I used all-purpose flour, quick oats and soy milk the second. I just don't have quinoa on hand, but I do have plenty of oatmeal. The first round turned out pretty dense, as whole wheat breads tend to be. The second batch was quite light, not at all like a scone should be but totally delicious. :)

    The scones are only slightly sweet, as much from the turbinado sprinkled on top as anything, and the maple flavor is really subtle. These seem like an excellent vessel for carrying a variety of toppings from plate to mouth. They also seem like they'd be very adaptable. My mom suggested throwing in some cinnamon baking chips, for instance. And since they only take about 35 minutes to make, start-to-finish, and that's using a pastry blender instead of a food processor, maple syrup scones are definitely worth a try.

  13. I'm really big on trying new stuff but I have lots of food allergies and have to modify nearly every recipe that I find. I do try new stuff all the time though :) This looks delicious...I love cabbage!

  14. Hi Chris - my comment didn't appear, so I'm trying again.
    Love this dish with its bacon and its cabbage and its chiles and coconut - wonderful combination of flavors I'll bet! The photos are fabulous too, as always. (love the bokeh) It's hard for me to step out of my comfort zone because I'll try anything once - twice to make sure. Right now I'm loving big sweet crunchy wedges of Fuji apples dipped in melted Gorgonzola cheese. Wow, I though warmed brie was good, but this is heaven!

  15. I love how you said that this recipe "flirted with you". The same thing happens to me, but I rarely give in. My husband is an extremely picky eater, so I rarely give in to those unique types of recipes. The coleslaw does sound great though and I can see why you wanted to try it out. It looks great.

  16. That dish sounds full of flavor!I love coconut milk.

  17. LMAO!!! Flirting with the recipes, are ya?


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