Cabbage is a very underrated vegetable and I think it should be appreciated much more. For me, it's a must have vegetable in my fridge and I use it in salads, soups and stir-fries. Besides being very nutritious, it's really delicious. I think it gets a bad reputation from the time when people boiled it as the way of cooking it can definitely bring out a distinct sulfurous smell, as is the case with many of the Cruciferous vegetables. But cooked lightly and quickly, Cabbage is delightful! My usual favorite way to cook it is to sauté it quickly. I usually season it with a bit of Tamari, Rice Vinegar and Sugar to make a lightly Sweet and Sour Chinese version. But, last night I used Southeast Asian flavors instead and I loved it! I used some Fish Sauce, Tamari and a squeeze of Lime to finish it off. I also added some Green Onions and it was so good! Now, I will admit that Fish Sauce has a fragrance that is a little off-putting when it hits a hot pan but it fades quickly. But, the wonderful Umami flavor is worth it. This dish is going to become part of my Cabbage repertoire from now on!
Sauteed Cabbage with Southeast Asian Flavors
1/2 head of Green Cabbage cut into about 1" pieces
4 - 5 Green Onions, ends trimmed and cut into small pieces
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil (I use Safflower)
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
2 Tablespoon Tamari
pinch of freshly ground Black Pepper
Juice of one small or 1/2 of a large Lime
Heat the Oil in a wok or frying pan. Add in the Green Onions and Cabbage and stir until the Cabbage softens and the edges just start to brown. Add in the Fish Sauce, Tamari and Pepper. Stir to combine. Take off the heat and add the Lime Juice.
Five Element Analysis
Cabbage belongs to the Earth Element as it has a sweet flavor when cooked, but because it also has some pungency, contributes a little Metal too. The Tamari and Fish Sauce, both being quite salty, add in the Water Element. The Lime Juice brings in just a hint of the Wood Element and the Pepper makes sure that the Fire Element is present. While this isn't intended to be a completely balanced dish, it does have some of all the Elements, but is especially good when added to a meal that needs more Earth.