One of my favorite wintry vegetables is Nappa cabbage. A sort of cross between savoy cabbage and Chinese bok choy in appearance, Nappa cabbage has delicately lacy leaves with wide, juicy stems that retain a good crunch. Unlike its cruciferous cousin, the white cabbage, Nappa cabbage wilts fairly quickly, and absorbs flavors and sauces very well.
My favorite method of cooking Nappa cabbage includes both soy or tamari sauce and some form of astringent, whether vinegar or lemon juice. Here, I've paired it with tamari and sherry vinegar for a tangy, salty flavor with just a hint of sweetness. Cumin and mushrooms add an earthy flavor, and ginger adds a bit of mild heat.
I served the Nappa cabbage and mushroom sauté with crisp, fried salt and pepper tofu, hard boiled eggs, and rice noodle rolls seasoned with toasted sesame oil, tamari sauce, and minced green garlic. It also pairs well with fish, such as salmon or mackerel.
Nappa cabbage and mushroom sauté
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 head Nappa cabbage, rinsed and chopped
5-10 mushrooms, crimini or small portobello
1/2 tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander
salt, black pepper, white pepper, and ground ginger to taste
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
soy or tamari sauce
spring garlic, finely chopped
- Place a large, heavy pot on medium heat. Melt enough coconut oil to cover the bottom.
- Brown the onions in the pot.
- While the onions are browning, trim the mushroom ends and thinly slice the mushrooms.
- When the onions have browned, add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to look shiny, stirring occasionally.
- Add the seasonings, then the cabbage, ginger, and spring garlic. Stir.
- Cover the pot and cook for a few minutes, until the cabbage begins to wilt.
- Season to taste with soy sauce and sherry vinegar. Remove from heat and serve.