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Kung Pao Cabbage

I am working my way through a head of cabbage that will not be defeated and which I feel keeps on regenerating each night no matter how much I use of it. Though my future purchases of cabbage are very much on the back burner right now because I am getting heartily sick of brassicas, I do have to say that I will make this recipe again when I am feeling cabbage-friendly again.

Any remaining sauce would taste good drizzled over eggs or added to a vegetable stir-fry.

1 serving of Napa cabbage (serving size is always subjective) cut in a wedge or two, lengthwise down the body of the cabbage, leaves still attached to a portion of the core as seen in the photo above

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger root

2 tsps soy sauce

2 tsps rice wine vinegar

2 tsps maple syrup

1 tsp hot sauce (I happened to have Frank's to hand but Sriracha would work very well too)

1/8 tsp crushed Szechuan peppercorns

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp cornstarch stirred into 1 tsp of water

Preheat the oven to 425.

Arrange the cabbage wedges cut side up on a parchment paper lined baking tray and drizzle the leaves with one tablespoon of the olive oil.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then, turn off the heat, turn the cabbage wedges over and let them finish cooking in the oven's residual heat while you make the sauce.

Heat the remaining one teaspoon of oil in a saucepan. Add the chopped green onion and the Szechuan peppercorns and heat until the oil sizzles around the onions and pepper corns.

Then add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, maple syrup and hot sauce. Stir to combine and bring to a boil before tasting and adjusting for your preferences in order to get the balance of sweet and sour right for your palate.

Add the cornstarch mix and stir to combine. Continue stirring as the mixture thickens, in order to keep the sauce from getting lumpy.

Remove the cabbage wedges from the oven and place in the pan. Turn off the heat and turn the cabbage wedges over several times in the sauce so that each leaf gets a nice coating of the sweet and sour mixture.

I meant to garnish this with crushed peanuts since peanuts feature in Kung Pao chicken but forgot to do so. Serve with rice. Or maybe as part of a grain bowl.


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