Purple Cabbage in spicy Asian Style.
Purple Cabbage was never a mainstay at home, we always had the more widely available white cabbage. I remember cabbage being a popular side dish however, particularly on those days when my mother prepared vegetarian food.
My first introduction to purple cabbage was in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. I was blown away by this unique breed of cabbage, growing in troves all over this rather cool part of Malaysia. I was told that this breed of cabbage thrived in Cameron Highlands because of the temperature and moisture content in the air. While not always available in Singapore back then, purple cabbages are more common in NTUC now, much to my delight.
The colour is really exciting to me, and shifts the way I feel about eating cabbage right away. This recipe comes with a subtle hit of spice, as exciting as its enticing colour. I have used a handful of dried, pounded shrimp in this recipe, just the way my mum used to make it. If you’re hoping for this to be a 100% vegan recipe, simply leave the shrimp out.
You will need;
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
½ Tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Red Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
50g Dried Shrimp, washed and pounded to soften
320g Purple Cabbage, cored and thinly shredded
2 Tsp Chilli Powder
Salt to taste
You need to;
Heat the oil in a large skillet. I use a large one here because with leafy vegetables, it’s always a good idea to have a large pan to contain the madness before it all wilts down.
Add sliced onions to the hot oil and start frying, till they soften. This should take you around 2 minutes. To this, add the garlic and dried shrimp. Fry till fragrant. Then, add the cabbage, chilli powder and salt, if using. Toss the cabbage shreds in the hot oily mixture, cover and let cook for about 2 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue to fry. At this point, it’s about how crunchy you’d like your cabbage to be. So if you’d like maximum crunch, you can stop cooking now. Otherwise, keep tossing the glorious purple shreds till they wilt to your perfection. Serve warm as a side, or a main if you’re okay with going there!