A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hmong Cabbage Dish

When I was in college, and for a few years after graduation, I lived with one of my good college friends, Sue, who is Hmong. Now Sue was very smart and a great writer, but she was not much of a cook. Sue's sister, Kauyer, often lived with us during the summers when she was out of school, and she was a fantastic cook. She exposed me to a variety of Hmong cooking recipes and while I can't really recreate them for a variety of reasons (dietary restrictions, kitchen skills, etc.), over time I learned some of the basics.

One of my favorite Hmong dishes that she made for me was a cabbage dish. Now, that alone was a feat, as I don't think I ever ate cabbage growing up. But cabbage can be mighty tasty if you do it right. Kauyer modified the original cabbage dish for me, as it called for hamburger, but since I am vegetarian, she substituted tofu for me. I'm sure that the hamburger version might be even more tasty due to the grease and flavor of the meat.

Since we are growing lovely, small cabbages, I picked two from our front mound and added the few cherry tomatoes that were picked green before our frost and are ripening in the basement.
These are the other things that I put into the dish: tofu, dehydrated/dried tomatoes (since I didn't have enough fresh ones), tamari sauce (the gluten free version of soy sauce), canola oil to fry the garlic in, bullion for some extra sauce flavoring, sweet chili sauce, and spicy chili sauce. Now I'm sure if Kauyer reads this she might be appalled with all the sauces, as Hmong cooking is very light (as compared with the heavier Chinese cooking) and it often calls for fish sauce and oyster sauce - neither of which I had on hand. So this is my North Dakota-ized Hmong dish.
I'm not going to give you a recipe, as I don't really have one. Start with frying up the garlic in the oil, and then add the cabbage and sauces, tofu, etc. Steam it down. Toward the end, add in the tomatoes for extra flavor (and they will add to the sauce juiciness, too).
I served it with brown rice. It's not the most colorful photo, with brown rice and light green cabbage, but it is yummy.
Try it. You might discover that you like cabbage, too.


Anonymous said...

This is hilarious, thanks Leesha!
The good cook,

Anonymous said...

I love cabbage prepared any which way. Looks good!