Curried Cabbage

Every March the supermarkets around here drop the price of cabbage from around a dollar a pound to something like 19 cents a pound.  Since I’m not a huge fan of corned beef and cabbage, I often used to make some sort of Eastern European cabbage dish, like cabbage pierogi or kapusta, to use up all the cabbage I’d stockpiled.  Then I tried the amazing spicy cabbage recipe from this book, and it quickly became my go-to cabbage recipe.  Healthy, hot and fast, I can eat that stuff by the bowlful.

But this curried cabbage has the potential to take over the number one spot.  The coconut milk adds creaminess while dried shrimp add a definite umami quality to the dish.  Although the ingredient list for this recipe is somewhat long, I’d say the result is well worth the small hassle of finding a couple extra items from your pantry.

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Curried Cabbage

Ingredients:

* 1 small head cabbage, finely sliced
* 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 Serrano pepper, cut lengthwise into four quarters
* 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
* 1 teaspoon cayenne
* 2 teaspoons curry powder
* 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
* 1/2 teaspoon small, dried shrimp
* 1 small cinnamon stick
* 1 can (15 ounces) coconut milk
* salt to taste

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions have softened. Add the chili pepper, turmeric, cayenne, curry powder, fenugreek seeds, dried shrimp and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes. Add the shredded cabbage and stir to coat.

Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the cabbage has softened slightly. Salt to taste.

Adapted from Sri Lankan Cooking

Ayobowan Sri Lanka!

Photo via Skyscraper City
Looking forward to learning more about India’s island neighbor.  Beautiful beaches, good surf, a longstanding coffee and tea culture… I have a good feeling about this place.

Viszontlátásra Hungary!

Photo via Hungary Property

Another two weeks, another country down.  I made veal for the first time, used copious amounts of paprika , learned a new way of making cabbage rolls, and ate a whole lot of baked goods (here, here, and here).  One thing’s for sure… it was not a good two weeks for my vegan friends.  Sorry- I’ll try to be better in the second half of the month, I promise.

Not real flops this time- probably the biggest disappointment was finding sour cherries at an Indian market right after I was done with Hungary.  Bummers.  I guess the cherries will have to wait for Bulgaria or Slovenia…

After being in a land-locked country for two weeks, it’s back to the coast for me.  See you all tomorrow!

Toltott Kaposzta- Hungarian Cabbage Rolls

Hey folks: sorry for the delay.  As I’m sure you all know by now, Blogger is having major issues.  I was expecting my post from yesterday to reappear and be sent out again today, but a post from a couple weeks ago was sent instead- weird.  Sorry about that. Anyways, here’s today’s belated post.  If the chestnut cake from yesterday doesn’t automatically come back, I’ll be sure to re-post that one as well.   Now back to the food…

I’ll admit that I went into this thinking I wouldn’t like these very much.  After all, I felt like my allegiance should be to Polish cabbage rolls, which I’ve eaten since I was a little girl, rather than the Hungarian version.  When you start to analyze things, the two seem to have more differences than similarities: the Hungarian version has both pork and veal, very little rice, uses sauerkraut and paprika, and omits tomato sauce.

But then I began to realize how ridiculous that was; it was trying to decide between pepperoni pizza and supreme: why can’t I like both?  These are very rich; the filling is very reminiscent of pork hash, a common pupu here in Hawaii.  Hearty and filling, the sauerkraut contributes some tang while the paprika adds an unexpected flavor twist.

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Hungarian Cabbage Rolls

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

* 1 medium head cabbage

Filling:
* 1 pound ground pork
* 1/2 pound ground veal
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 cup cooked brown rice
* 1 egg
* 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 Tablespoon paprika

Sauce:
* 1/2 cup finely minced salt pork (note: its much easier to cut/mince when partially frozen)
* 1 medium onion
* 1 1/2 Tablespoons paprika
* 1/2 cups water
* 2 cans (14 oz.) sauerkraut
* water or stock

* sour cream

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Rinse the head of cabbage and remove any damaged or dirty outer leaves. Remove the core and place the cabbage into the boiling water and boil for ten minutes, or until the outer leaves are tender. Drain and let cool slightly. Remove the outer leaves, taking care not to tear them. You should have at least a dozen leaves that are soft and flexible. Finely shred the remaining cabbage and set aside.

Combine the ground pork and veal, salt, minced garlic, chopped onion, rice, egg, black pepper and paprika and mix well.

Place about 1/2 cup of the filling mixture into individual cabbage leaves and roll to secure the filling.

In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, cook the salt pork over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the salt pork is cooked and crispy. Remove the salt pork bits with a slotted spoon and set aside for later. Add the onion to the salt pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened. Add the paprika and water and stir well. Add both cans of sauerkraut with their juice and the shredded cabbage. Stir to combine.

Divide the sauerkraut mixture between two baking dishes (I used a 9-inch by 13-inch dish as well as a 9-inch square dish). Place the cabbage rolls, seam side down into the sauerkraut mixture. Add enough water or stock so that the cabbage rolls are just peeking out of the liquid. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 2 hours. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes or until the tops of the rolls are just beginning to brown.

To serve, place a cabbage roll or two on a plate or shallow bowl on a bed of the sauerkraut mixture. Top with sour cream and sprinkle some of the salt pork bits on top.