Here is the recipe for something I improvised on the spot and to my total surprise I found that it tasted absolutely delicious. It's suitable as a side dish for 4, or as a main dish for 2.
- 1 white cabbage
- 1 2-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and chopped
- 3-5 dried red chillies, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, cut into thin slices
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 spring onion, chopped
- 1 piece of lemongrass
Remove the hard outer leaves and the trunk from the cabbage; then cut in quarters and remove the hard bits at the core. Cut into biggish stripes.
Remove the dry outer leaves of the lemongrass and then cut the white part into very thin slices. In a wok or large frying pan, heat the oil and fry the lemongrass, chilies, ginger, and garlic slices for a minute or two over medium heat. Add the spring onion and fry for a few minutes more until the onion becomes transparent, but not brown.
Add the cabbage, stir well for a few minutes, then add the soy sauce, rice vinegar and salt. Stir well, then cover with a lid.
After a short while, the cabbage should lose some water and boil in its own juice. With the lid on, let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then taste and add more soy sauce or salt as required. Serve with rice.
I served this as a side dish together with fried tofu and mushrooms, but found that it also works well as a main dish of its own. The amount of chillies can be varied according to taste, but a minimum of three is recommended. If you like a stronger garlic taste, put aside 2 of the cloves, squeeze them with a garlic press, and add the garlic paste to the cabbage together with the rice vinegar. Rice vinegar, by the way, is sweeter and not as sour as normal vinegar, so if you use normal vinegar, you may need to add some sugar and some water.