Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vietnamese Cabbage and Egg Stir-Fry

The most apt description I could come up for this dish was "surprisingly pleasant."  It is just so simple and it uses ingredients (like cabbage) that Alex and I don't typically find very exciting.  We made it because I think we need to reboot our digestive tracts with vegetables and healthy food.  So I decided to make this dish, even though it had the potential to be really boring.  There are so few ingredients and none of them sound like they should really have any wow factor.  However, it all works together brilliantly.  The cabbage is nice and sweet, with a little crunch to it.  And the egg somehow makes the whole dish feel and taste creamy, even though there is no cream or dairy whatsoever.  I really didn't think that one egg could have much of an effect on that amount of cabbage, but it really does.  Make sure you do what the recipe says and leave the egg a little custardy for the full effect.  Then you add the freshly ground black pepper for some spice and it's adds another level of flavor.  It is simple, but every element really works together to make for a nice meal served with some steamed rice.  It's not going to win any awards, but it really is good.

Recipe after the jump!

Cabbage and Egg Stir-Fry
Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors
By Andrea Nguyen

2 tbsp canola or other neutral oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 head green cabbage, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons (about 4 cups)
1-2 tbsp water
2 tsp fish sauce
1 egg, beaten
black pepper

In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the garlic and stir-fry for about 15 seconds, or until fragrant.  Add the cabbage and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, or until heated through and glistening.  Splash in 1 tbsp water to facilitate cooking and prevent browning.  Continue stir-frying, adding remaining tbsp water if necessary.

After 2-3 minutes, when the cabbage is crisp tender, splash in fish sauce, pour in the egg, and stir-fry briefly to distribute the egg evenly.  Before the egg firmly sets - you want a slightly custardy texture - remove from heat.  Transfer the cabbage to a plate and top with black pepper.

Serve immediately.

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