Ginger-Steamed Cabbage with Little Dried Shrimp
This is an adaptation of a traditional method of preparing Chinese cabbage ("celery cabbage"), and it's become a regular guest at our table. It's quick, flavorful and versatile. It works as a side for a Chinese meal, of course, but also for grilled steak, pork or chicken. Chilled, it makes a great add-on for a quick and interesting salad. We've even had it as a topping on hamburgers, and I add it into other steamed vegetables like broccoli or green beans (with sesame seeds) to bring variation into otherwise routine vegetable sides.
1/2 medium head green cabbage
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1" fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
1/4 C minced cilantro
1 small fresh hot red pepper, chopped
3/4 C dried little shrimp
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
3 T olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
Place the shrimp in 1 cup water and microwave until hot, 2 - 4 minutes depending on the power of your machine. Let the shrimp stand in the water for about ten minutes.
Remove tough outer leaves and core of the cabbage and shred.
Heat the oil until hot but not smoking in a large heavy-bottomed pan. Toss in the garlic and ginger and stir around for a minute. Add the cabbage and with tongs, lift and mix well with the oil for until the cabbage turns a brighter green, about 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Add in the shrimp and the soaking water, the pepper, the salt, the cilantro (reserving a couple of tablespoonsful for garnish) and the sugar. Lower the heat to medium and cover tightly. Cook 4 minutes. Remove from heat and check cabbage -- it should be cooked but still a bit crisp. Add water if necessary. Give the cabbage big stir, add the optional sesame oil if using. Cover tightly and let stand for about 10 more minutes. When finished the cabbage will be translucent and nearly without crunch.
Serve garnished with the reserved cilantro.