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Michael in Naples

Rec: Spicy Cold Celery Cabbage Does this sound like it?

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Joined: Dec 18, 2005

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Posted to Thread #18064 at 11:06 pm on Apr 12, 2010

Spicy Cold Celery Cabbage
The Key to Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo

This is a very popular Chinese condiment. The spectacular smooth, crisp texture is attained by soaking in salted water. Don't make it, however, unless the celery cabbage is in season and is tender. It is a cool, biting dish, absolutely delicious. Serves 6 to 8 as a single appetizer or accompaniment to meat; more with an assortment.

4 tablespoons salt
1 cup boiling water
5 cups cold water
2 pounds celery cabbage

SAUCE
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns
4 dried red chili peppers

Dissolve the salt in 1 cup boiling water; pour it into a large salad bowl or kettle and add 5 cups cold water. Set it aside to cool completely.

Cut off the root end of the cabbage and separate the stalks; wash them well in cold water. Cut them lengthwise into 1-inch-wide strips--stacking several together shortens the task considerably. Gather the strips into even bundles and cut them into 2-inch-long pieces. Put them in the salt water; anchor with a plate, and soak them for 6 hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight--longer will make the cabbage too soft.

Squeeze the cabbage very dry with your hands and scatter the sections into a bowl. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and pour this ober the cabbage; toss to cover evenly. Set a small skillet over medium-low heat, add the oil and sesame oil, and heat for 30 seconds. Add the peppercorns and chili peppers and fry, stilling and pressing, for 1 minute. Turn the heat very low and continue to fry, pressing with a spatula now and then, until the peppers have blackened. Strain the oil over the cabbage; add the peppers but disgard the peppercorns. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate until very cold. The taste improves if it is marinated overnight.


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