The title of this really does sum up the absolute simplicity of this dish but not its amazing deliciousness. I finally tracked down a copy of Mrs Chiang's Szechwan Cook Book and it really is a joy. It examines Chinese - and specifically Szechwan - food and home cooking in great detail. Written with intelligence and clarity it also gives very detailed and specific instructions for how to cook each dish. At the time the book was first published around 1976 it was aimed at a US domestic market that had little experience of Chinese food and almost none in how to cook it at home. The man thinks it's like Szechwan Delia and he's not wrong. It has clarity and directness and a real sense that each dish is something that an ordinary cook can attempt successfully - a very generous way to write.
My first dinner using the book was a very good twice cooked pork and this spicy cabbage dish that I really loved. It has heat and flavour, the ribbed texture of the cabbage leaves and a final almost creaminess from the long steaming and the potato flour thickening. Try it - it's wonderful.
Stir Fried Cabbage
1/2 Savoy or Chinese cabbage, cored and finely shredded
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 tbspn chilli bean paste (from Asian grocers)
1 tbspn potato flour mixed in to 1/4 cup cold water
Heat the oil in a large pan or wok till just smoking. Stir in the chilli paste and the cabbage and keep tossing them together for five minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, cover the pan and cook over a high heat for 15 minutes. Stir to mix the potato flour into the water then add to the cabbage. Stir through for a minute till the sauce goes clear. Serve.