Here’s what I’ve been up to this weekend: using up the large chinese leaf cabbage that landed in my veg box delivery this week, which, as Keith Able says, “looks like the love child of a savoy cabbage and an iceberg lettuce”. Now who wouldn’t want to start cooking with that?! Seeing Smitten Kitchen‘s recent post for ‘italian stuffed cabbage’ lit an inner lighbulb; ‘oooh I know what I’ll do’. Turns out, it wasn’t so illuminating a light bulb moment as one might have hoped. It turned out okay, just that, the texture of the chinese leaf lends itself to frying far better than boiling or steaming. The taste was all there but the texture was somewhat chewy. Which is really not the effect I was after. Experiment trialled. Lesson learned. If you ever make that recipe, go with Savoy cabbage, as Deb Perelman suggests. I had enough chinese leaf left to also try out the following recipe:
Chinese Leaf Parcels (recipe adapted from Abel&Cole)
1 head chinese leaf
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
200g mushrooms, sliced
1 onion (or 1 leek), thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
3cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
dash of soy sauce
1/2 lime, juiced
handful fresh coriander
Carefully pull off 8 large outer leaves of the chinese leaf cabbage and finely shred the remainder.
Put a lidded pan over a medium head and toast the rice for a few moments, add salt and olive oil, then the water. Cook for 30-40mins, adding more water if necessary (note I cooked my rice in veg stock for extra flavour).
In the meantime, fry the onions. When softened, add the mushrooms and the shredded chinese leaf, garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir and cook til soft. Season with a dash of soy sauce and lime juice. Taste and adjust accordingly; adding herbs if desired.
When both are cooked, stir the rice and veg together.
Now time to make the parcels. Add some salt to a pan of boiling water, gently place the leaves into the pan, and allow to cook for 2-3mins, remove when softened and place on a dry teatowel to drain. Take each one onto a work surface and spoon a heap of the rice mix onto the base (the firm white stalk) of the leaves. Roll up/ tuck in the sides and your chinese leaf parcel is ready.