Hot and Sour Cabbage Slaw


Serves 6
Recipe from A Spoonful of Ginger by Nina Simonds (Alfred A. Knopf, 1999)

This tangy, tasty dish is yet more proof that healthy eating need not be expensive. Chinese, or Napa, cabbage is now widely available in supermarkets.

Food as Medicine
Because of its high vitamin C content, Chinese (Napa) cabbage is believed by Chinese doctors to moisten the intestines and beautify the skin. For constipation, cabbage cooked with beets is often recommended. Carrots are believed to ease whooping cough and coughs in general.


1 small head Chinese (Napa) cabbage (about 11/2 pounds)
1 teaspoon (expeller-pressed) canola oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed dried chiles
21/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
11/2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
11/2 cups grated carrots

Hot and Sour Dressing (mixed together):
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
21/2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce


1. Cut the cabbage stalks from the root end. Trim the leafy tip ends and discard. Rinse the stalks thoroughly and drain. Cut them into julienne strips about ½-inch wide, separating the stem sections from the leafy sections. (The leafy sections take less time to cook.)

2. Heat a wok or large skillet, add the oils, and heat until hot. Add the crushed dried chiles and minced ginger, and stir-fry over high heat about 15 seconds. Add the red pepper dice and stir-fry about 30 seconds, then add the rice wine or sake and continue stir-frying 30 seconds more. Add the stem sections of the cabbage, and the carrots, toss lightly over high heat, and cook for a minute. Now add the leafy sections, toss lightly, and pour on the Dressing. Continue tossing lightly to coat. Cook about 30 seconds and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

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