~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Friday, March 8, 2013

Asian- Style Cabbage Stir-fry(without noodles or rice)... and lettuce wraps.

Asian- Style Cabbage Stir-fry(without noodles or rice).... and lettuce wraps. I've been making this dish for some time now. Well, ever since last year, when I decided to challenge myself to make a stir-fry without the use of noodles or rice. My experiment at the time was to use cabbage in order to mimic noodles. Starting out, I knew I needed to caramelize the cabbage in little or no liquid because I needed the cabbage to stay firm without getting soft and mushy. The next part was to cook the rest of the ingredients in stages. This would limit the amount of liquid/steaming brought on by overcrowding of vegetables. The dish turned out so well, that we deemed it a success! Since then, I've made  the cabbage stir-fry using a variety of vegetables and seasonings(even used Korean gochuchang). It's always been delicious.

The other day, I had 2/3 of a cabbage remaining in my fridge. I had bought it to use it as a salad throughout the week and had used part of it. But when I spotted some leftover roast lamb, I immediately thought of the cabbage stir-fry and decided to use the meat and the remainder of the cabbage. Now, I normally shy away from sharing my experiments in the kitchen, and for the most part they don't ever get posted. In the past, I've shared some "experiments" and noticed they've been well received and even tried. So on the spur of the moment I decided to take some photos and share the recipe with you. A recipe I've been making and love so much. However, I'm posting the recipe as I made it this time around, but it changes according to what's in my fridge or pantry. So feel free to be creative. 

My purpose in sharing the recipe, is to introduce the idea of using cabbage to make a low-carb/gluten-free Asian stir-fry. I've noted some tips below to help the recipe go smoother. We normally have the stir-fry as a main dish, but this time around I decided to use it in lettuce wraps. It's delicious either way... well, as long as you like cabbage:). But it's worth trying at least once. I admit it is a bit tedious in that you have to cook things separately, but it's worth it in the end. Hope you enjoy...

Note: The trick to getting this dish right is to cook the vegetables in batches so they caramelize and not steam. 
Ingredient amounts can easily be adjusted to taste... some can be skipped and other ingredients added, as you would in any Asian stir-fry. The basic step is to cook the cabbage till dry and caramelized, from there you can get creative and use what you have in  the fridge.  The overall  dish should be somewhat moist but loose(not too much clumping)... definitely not saucy. 

Tip: This dish can be gluten-free, if you use a GF soy sauce... or any GF stir-fry sauce. The meat can be exchanged with shrimp or even squid rings. Eggs can be omitted as well as peanuts, if you are allergic. Mushrooms as well can be omitted.  Obviously, these changes will change the outcome of the dish, but it's definitely doable:).     

You will need: It really helps having your ingredients mise en place.

Stir-fry-Cabbage Mix:
2/3 of a green cabbage(medium), shredded thinly
1 large onion, sliced thin
4+ TBS olive oil, or as needed
1-1 1/2 cup cooked meat( I used lamb), sliced thin
1 red jalapeno, or to taste
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, grated
1/4 cup water, white wine or stock to deglaze, or as needed
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 cup dried woodear mushrooms, rehydrated*
1/2 cup dried shitake mushrooms, rehydrated*
* you can use fresh mushrooms, just stir-fry until no longer wet

Sauce: can use your own favorite stir-fry sauce to taste
2 TBS soy sauce, or to taste
2 tsps, toasted sesame oil, or to taste
2 tsp rice vinegar, or to taste
pinch of sugar, optional   

Stir in:
2 eggs, scrambled, cut in pieces
salt and pepper as needed

Additional for Lettuce Wraps:
Romaine leaves, trimmed or butter lettuce
sliced leek, or chives or green onions
chopped peanuts, or other nut of choice
sauce of choice.* 
*My husband loves the Yeri Yeri teryaki brand, but you can use any Asian sauce of choice. Personally, I like to omit the extra salt. But when the cabbage stir-fry is added in the lettuce wraps, it sort of asks for extra seasoning.  

1. If using dehydrated mushrooms, boil enough water so you can pour over dried mushrooms to re-hydrated  Allow to sit  for about 10 minutes or so or until fully re-hydrated. Squeeze dry and set aside.
2. Julienne the cabbage and onion... I like to use my hand held mandoline for even thickness.
3. Heat a large skillet  with about 2 TBS olive oil. Add onion and cook on medium heat until nicely caramelized.... about 5-8 minutes. Allow to catch some color without stirring and then stir every so often. Remove and set aside.
4.  Lower heat to low add another 2 TBS of olive oil and then the cabbage. Stir to coat and  scrape any brown bits that may have formed on the pan from the onions. You can add a TBS of water to help release, but do not add too much water as you want to caramelize the cabbage eventually.
5. Increase heat to medium(adjusting as needed)  and cook cabbage until medium caramelized ....Allow cabbage to catch some color without stirring and then stir every so often. If you need to add a bit more oil, you can. This will take about 15 minutes, so be patient and watch/stir cabbage so it doesn't burn. You want the cabbage to get "dry". Remove and set aside. 
6. To skillet, add cooked meat and chile. Stir-fry on med/low for 2-3 minutes, adding about 1/4 cup water/wine/stock to deglaze pan from the cabbage. Allow liquid  to evaporate. Remove and set aside.
7. Add rehydrated mushrooms, carrot, ginger and garlic. Stir-fry on med/low(scraping any bits on the bottom) for another minute or so.  
At this point, if you would like to use fresh mushrooms, cook them first then add the carrot, ginger and garlic, making sure the mixture is on the drier side.     
8. To the mushroom mixture, on low heat, add the reserved cooked, onion, cabbage, meat and chile and combine.
9. Add  sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar(if using). Stir to combine. Set aside
At this point you can also use any prepared stir-fry sauce of choice and add to taste. I've made a Korean version before, by adding some gochuchang. So use what you like.
10. In a separate pan(or you can use the same pan, just move the cabbage stir-fry to the side) cook eggs and cut or break up in pieces. Add to cabbage stir-fry. Adjust seasoning. 
11. Serve hot, as is... or use in lettuce wraps with sauce of choice, chopped peanuts and sliced leeks or green onion.   


Speranta said...

O reteta foarte interesanta!Nu am preparat niciodata ,dar voi incerca caci imi place cum arata si cred ca este buna si sanatoasa!

Multumesc pentru reteta !

O zi frumoasa iti doresc!

Cuparoons said...

Ellie, love the idea of substituting cabbage for the noodles/rice. Great low carb recipe!

Ellie said...

Speranta, Multumesc. Este foarte buna si chiar "light"... o alta varianta la varza calita, stil asiatic:).

Multumesc de vizita... si iti doresc si tie o zi binecuvantata!

Ellie said...

Anna. Glad you like the idea:)... definitely a low carb option for cabbage lovers:) It actually has become a favorite of mine.
Hope your day is beautiful!

Rhonda said...


Perfect timing! I just made pho and have lots of asian veggies, including cabbage leftover and was just contemplating a stir-fry. I love the cabbage as a wrap idea. Making this tomorrow.

Ellie said...

Rhonda, So glad I could be of inspiration:)! I'm hoping you will like it as much as we do.

You know I've never made pho?!... seriously, I NEED to one of these days. So, thank you for the inspiration to make it... and thanks for stopping by.