Cabbage Challenge

I love my CSA/produce delivery. Once a week I get to look at a box full of incredible goodies, and it’s like an episode of Chopped: here’s a box with lots of items, now plan a week’s worth of meals around it. Go!

Some weeks are easy: strawberries, blueberries, green beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes. No problems there. Now, about that cabbage that’s the size of a baby…what do I do with that much cabbage? Even the small, pointy cabbage presents a challenge. It’s just not a veggie I cook with often.

So, after the corned beef and cabbage, now what?

Sauerkraut, of course! However, my family doesn’t really like sauerkraut, but there is that huge head of cabbage taking up most of the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator. What the heck, let’s try it! The recipe couldn’t be simpler:

  • Cabbage
  • Salt

That’s it! Oh, and time. Lots of it. And you need a crock. Here in the south, crockery canisters don’t keep the bugs or humidity out very well, so I have a pretty set that’s just decoration. The large one for flour worked perfectly! I shredded the cabbage, then layered it in the crock with salt — for 3 pounds of cabbage, I used 2 tablespoons of salt. Layer a handful or two of cabbage, sprinkle with salt, then use your fist and pack it down tightly. The salt will draw moisture out of the cabbage, making a nice brine. Continue until the crock is nearly full — leave a little room at the top, though. Fill a large (gallon) food grade zipper bag about half full or so with water. Place it in the crock so that the water weighs down the cabbage and forms a seal so no air gets to the cabbage. The brine should cover the cabbage at this point.

Place the crock in a room temperature area (68-72F), and wait for the fermentation to begin. After 5-6 weeks of fermenting (didn’t I say you needed a lot of time?!), you’ll have sauerkraut! And it tastes SO much better than the stuff in the bag, can, or jar at the store. And if you don’t like it quite so salty, rinse it off and drain it before putting it on that Reuben sandwich. (What? You mean there are other ways of eating sauerkraut than on a Reuben?)

I found a number of recipes online, but the most straightforward is this one.

But one can have only so many crocks of sauerkraut fermenting about the house before one’s spouse seeks to have one committed. So, I had to find another recipe that wasn’t boiled or steamed. And find one I did. eCurry posted this wonderful recipe: Sauteed Cabbage and Sweet Onions with Almonds. Doesn’t that picture look delicious?!

I don’t like it when people post comments to a recipe when they’ve made several changes to it. But I cannot say I tried it exactly as it’s written, either, because I was lacking a few ingredients. Here’s the original eCurry.com recipe with my changes.

  1. 1/2 medium cabbage, chopped fine/shredded like in a coleslaw
  2. 1 large sweet onion, like sweet vidalia or white onions- peeled and sliced thin into half moons. I used 2 small sweet onions
  3. 2 hot peppers, slit (optional) 1 tsp Sriracha = a hot pepper, right?!
  4. 1.5 cups sliced tomatoes, any kind (I have used colored vine ripe) And I used a can of petite diced tomatoes…
  5. a fistful of sliced almonds
  6. 1.5 tablespoons olive oil/or any cooking oil Coconut oil gave a nice flavor
  7. salt
  8. some red chili powder/cayenne pepper/paprika - if you want to spice it up
  9. a fistful of curry leaves/kari patta, shredded (or any other fresh herb that you would want to use) Being out of fresh curry leaves (and not knowing where I might find some), I substituted a combination of frozen and dried basil. It was good, but fresh basil would be divine.

 

This dish was delicious! Despite the teaspoon of Sriracha, there was just a mild tinge of heat. The whole family ate a lot of it (before and after cooking), and since the cabbage was large, there was leftover and we’ll try it for lunch tomorrow.

I hope eCurry.com doesn’t mind me making these changes! But I wanted to be upfront that the very, very tasty dish that resulted didn’t really have the same flavor as eCurry’s original recipe, which I would really like to try if I can track down some curry leaves and have some hot peppers around. I’m also going to look around eCurry’s site for more recipes! I’d encourage you to do the same!

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