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Laura Vincent



Cabbage is not only good for you; it stays in supermarkets all year round and tends to be reasonably cheap. So, if you are trawling the supermarket in despair, thinking you will never get any vegetable intake because they are all too expensive, grab a cabbage, and try one of the following recipes.

Vietnamese Coleslaw
I have adapted this from a book, and I make it nearly every week. Although it might take a little effort if you don’t have the dressing ingredients, they can all be found at any moderately decent supermarket and won’t cost you the earth. This salad is great in summer, and since the weather has been marginally better lately it’s nice for those of you getting sick of heavy, stodgy food (though I am sure I never will be).
1⁄2 a cabbage
2 T lime/lemon juice
2 carrots
1 T sugar
1 t crushed garlic
1 T sesame oil
2 T fish sauce
Firstly, mix together in a small bowl the garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and sesame oil. This will be your dressing soon; leave it to sit while you deal with the veggies. Finely shred the cabbage and grate or finely chop the carrot and place into a salad bowl. Pour in the dressing and mix thoroughly.
This is incredibly good and can be zhuzzed up with a number of options:
-Add a very finely chopped and seeded chilli if you want heat.
-Finely chopped mint and coriander stirred through at the end is seriously good.
-Some finely chopped cashews can be stirred through for crunch and to make it a bit more of a complete meal.
Wilted Cabbage
If by some chance you have bought a cabbage only to have it languish in the fridge because you aren’t sure what to do with it (or worse, have eaten it boiled to death), the following provides a fairly simple method for cooking them.
1⁄2 cabbage, finely sliced
1/3 cup chicken stock
20g butter
Salt and pepper
Drop of olive oil
Heat the butter over a low heat with the oil (the oil stops it burning… apparently) in a largish pot, and when the butter has melted, throw in your cabbage. Stir to coat the cabbage evenly in butter. (It may feel like there is too much cabbage but it packs down). A pair of tongs might be the easiest way to do this without flinging cabbage everywhere. Pour over your stock, stir well, and then put the lid on, leaving it for about 3-4 minutes. Once this has happened, let it cook some more with the lid off until most of the stock has evaporated. Check if it needs seasoning, and serve as is, perhaps with a spritz of lemon juice.
You can go vaguely Asian, adding cumin seeds as you stir the cabbage in butter, then adding a sprinkling of sesame oil and soy sauce at the end.
Don’t forget to check out the recipe archives at www.salient.org.nz/columns/food/ if you are interested in any of my back issue food articles. (Anyone?).