Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cabbage & Coconut

There's a fabulous little chain of restaurants in Bangkok called Cabbages & Condoms which serves amazing food and then hands out condoms instead of mints at the end of the meal. The thinking is that cabbages are a common food in Northeast Thailand, in fact they are a staple part of the diet, they are grown in every village and everybody eats them. If condoms could be as common and used as often, then some of the population and health problems facing Thailand could be overcome. Seems like a great idea to me.
We ate there the night we arrived in Bangkok - I remember being relieved to find the room was coolly airconditioned. We were decidedly jet lagged and as yet unused to the grasping heat having come from London in November. Dinner was good, on the way out we bought some postcards decorated with condoms, then as we walked back to our hotel in the sweaty night air we had to share the pavement with an elephant. Also, presumably, on its way home. It is an indelible memory.

This recipe has nothing to do with Thailand or elephants. Or condoms. But as I typed the title at the top of this post I was suddenly transported to that night in that city of delight.

Last night I made a few Indian dishes with rice for dinner and enjoyed them all but liked this one the best. It is quick and easy and richly scented. I made little kashmiri lamb burgers and dry spiced beans as well. The whole meal worked really well but you could as well have this just with rice or naan and perhaps some crispy fritters. It comes from Charmaine Solomon's The Complete Asian Cookbook.

Spicy Fried Cabbage

half a large cabbage
4 tbspns sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 or 3 fresh red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbspn fresh ginger, grated
1 tspn ground turmeric
1 tspn salt, or to taste
2 tbspns dessicated coconut

Shred the cabbage coarsely. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and chillies until soft. Add garlic and ginger and fry, stirring, until golden. Add turmeric and cabbage, toss the cabbage thoroughly in the spicy oil, then cover and cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until the cabbage is just tender.

Sprinkle with salt and mix well, then add coconut and stir to mix thoroughly. If there is any liquid in the bottom of the pan, leave the lid off and stir over a medium heat till all the liquid is absorbed.

Serve as an accompaniment to rice and curries.

It would also be good with some cucumber raita.


Diane said...

Just to say I cooked this for supper tonght and it was excellent. Thanks for your inspiring blog (I subscribe)and for the great recipes.

bron said...

So glad you like the blog - and this lovely cabbage dish. I'm seriously in love with cabbage at the moment. There will be more!

Rachel said...

I have to admit cabbages and "condoms" attracted my attention, but then I saw this great recipe for a vegetable I love, but which is much maligned and now I'm hoooked! It is bookmarked.

bron said...

Anything to get you in! Hope you like it Rachel.