Friday, May 6, 2011

Asian Cabbage and Leeks with Crispy Tofu (with Taco Variation)

My mother deserves sainthood for a lot of reasons, one of which is particularly relevant to today's post: she put up with an extremely picky eater, yours truly, for about 18 years. (Mom, I know I owe you big time. You're the best.) I repeatedly ignored her requests for a week-long menu I would gladly devour, so she did the only thing she could do -- feed me the select number of dishes I would eat without complaining. Due to her lack of options, my poor mother didn't have much room for experimentation. Once in a while though, she would brave the little snot that young Sara could be and put something new on the table. This cabbage is one such deviation from the norm, and a very tasty one at that.

My original intention was to serve this cabbage with with one batch of my beloved crispy baked tofu which I'd intended to dip in this sauce. As I was taking the picture Austin said "You know what would be tasty? If we stuffed the cabbage and tofu into a tortilla and drizzled some of the sauce over it. Bam! Asian tacos!". I told Austin that sounded great, and he replied with a phrase he utters frequently: "Good ideas, I'm full of them".  He then told me I'd better give him credit. Babe, the world would be a duller place without your wonderful ideas.

Asian Cabbage and Leeks
Makes 4 servings

If you stuff this cabbage and crispy baked tofu, drizzled with this dipping sauce into corn tortillas you'll probably have enough for 6 tacos, with a little left over cabbage.

  • 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
  • 4 leeks, halved lengthwise then thinly sliced widthwise
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, cut into 1/3 inch / 1cm strips
  • 3 medium carrots, shaved into strips using a vegetable peeler
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • Juice 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or agave
  • 1 teaspoon miso
  • Optional: Sesame seeds for garnish
1.  In a large saute pan with a lid, heat the oil between medium and medium-high heat. Toss in the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft but not brown. Stir in the cabbage, cover the pan and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the cabbage has softened.
2. While the cabbage cooks, whisk the remaining ingredients together, except for the carrots, until combined. Once the cabbage is cooked, stir in the carrots and the sauce you just mixed. Cook uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated, which should take around 5 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with sesame seeds if you'd like.

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