Friday, August 7, 2009

Asian cabbage parcels

We had our first building accident yesterday when Mr Katie Bear, who's here for the summer and helping BB on the roof, fell through the rafters. There's no flooring on the upper level yet so there's a drop of two storeys but he managed to stop himself by jamming his arms either side of the floor joists. Result: he's still alive but has very purple arms. Oh how that must have stung! I'll be glad when the roof is finished because I worry like mad whenever anyone is up there.

To put some colour back in his cheeks (not his arms) I invited him and Katie Bear round for dinner last night. Katie Bear's a real foodie like me and we love laughing at telly programmes like Come Dine With Me where "amateur chefs compete for dinner party prowess". Now, "prowess" to me denotes a certain amount of skill or expertise, so if you were going to be on the telly demonstrating this (for a cash prize) would you stick a bought Swiss roll in a plastic wine glass, top it up with jelly and serve it to your guests who are marking you out of ten? Mmm - thought not. Anyway, it makes for good tittering and exaggerated smug faces.

I made these stuffed cabbage leaves with cabbages from my garden - which KB proclaimed "the best thing I've eaten for ages". The recipe's based on Jamie Oliver's Asian cabbage parcels but I used spring onions instead of cabbage in the filling and added coconut cream, fish sauce, sesame seeds and lime zest.

Serves 4
1 Savoy cabbage
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 fresh red chilli, halved and seeded
Small bunch coriander
Thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled
2 skinless chicken breasts (about 150g each), preferably free-range or organic, cut into large chunks
Soy sauce, to serve
1 lime, quartered
Chilli oil to serve

1. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Peel back the outer leaves on the cabbage. Coax and click off 8 round leaves (it doesn’t matter if they tear a little). Core the cabbage, reserving the stalk; chop cabbage into quarters and set aside. Drop the 8 leaves into the pan of boiling water for 3 minutes, or until you can pick one up and bend it easily. Remove to a tray to cool down.

2. Put your garlic, chilli, coriander, and ginger into a food processor and whiz for 30 seconds. Add a pinch of sea salt and the chopped cabbage stalk and pulse for 30 seconds to break it down a bit. Add the chicken and one quarter of the cabbage and pulse it for about 30–60 seconds so the flavours combine and you’ve got a coarse chicken mince.

3. Put a piece of clingfilm on a board and scoop the mince onto it. Divide it into 8 equal amounts. Grease a large colander with a bit of olive oil. Take a soft cabbage leaf in your hand, spoon the mince into the middle, then fold in the sides until you have a closed parcel. Lay it in the colander so the parcel holds it shape. Repeat 7 times.

4. Pour a few inches of water into a pan and put on a medium heat to boil. Place the colander on top, seal with a tight-fitting lid or some foil and steam for about 10 minutes. Don't take the lid off or you'll slow their cooking time. When the time’s up, cut one of the parcels in half and have a look – the meat will be more than cooked.

5. Serve right away with a drizzle of soy sauce, a quarter of lime and a good splurge of chilli oil.

♫ Cook along to: Cab Calloway Minnie the Moocher

This is Rhuma (above) and in the background you can see my shopping list scratched on a bit of old slate. My fellow blogger over at Designers' Block has some lovely vintage-framed chalkboards. Take a peek.


cj said...

They look gorgeous. And that programme cracks me up! But I have to admit, as much as I mock their "cooking talents", I admire their balls for "cooking" on air. I would be a nervous wreck, and I can cook.

Di Overton said...

Thanks for the mention. So pleased you put me with such a wonderful recipe :) I will be trying it this week, sounds delicious.

Kathie said...

Oooh, I ♥ Rhuma! She looks like a descendant of our late, beloved Wee Tobias. If I come visit, will she sleep on the guest bed with me?

le moulin said...

Kathie, Yes Rhuma can sleep on the guest bed - but the other two may want to join you too! It can get quite crowded!