Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Thai Me, Squeeze Me...

Cavolo Bianco Thailandese con Ripieno di Maiale Trittato, su Riso Misto
Thai-Style Stuffed White Cabbage with Ground Pork on Mixed Jasmin & Wild Rice

I did say there would be a few more Asian-influenced dishes this week and this was supper this cold Wednesday evening- hot, spicy and so easy! Stephen- you know how you ask about doing a whole meal in the rice cooker? Well this is one of them! We made this dish together before, but tonight I made it a little differently- and I kept the rice cooker idea in mind... so here you go- this one is for you!

This dish is based on the recipe I was taught by a Thai friend I used to work with many moons ago. The method she showed me was basically the same, only in the original version the cabbage was gently boiled in broth. Of course I had to change and update the traditional version- but somehow I am sure she would still approve of my version...

The first thing you need to do, is to season the ground pork, using a little fish sauce (yes, you read correctly ;-) ), finely grated ginger, finely chopped shallot, crushed garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper and a drop of sesame oil. Mix this together thoroughly and then prepare a wedge of white cabbage for stuffing. To do this, loosen the leaves carefully, one by one and remove any loose leaves you may happen upon. Now carefully press the seasoned meat in-between the leaves, making sure to try to get as far back as possible. And then SQUEEZE the cabbage back to together, and then remove any of the meat that gets pushed back out, so that you have nice, clean outside edges.

I would love to tell you that this is a one-pot affair, but we will get to that ins a short while. Next step is to boil a little water in your kettle and heat up a non-stick pan. Once the pan is hot, lay the wedge of cabbage into it and sear the edges until they become a nice color- do this to both sides. Now turn on the rice cooker and prepare to put everything together!

Once the cabbage has a nice color, remove it carefully and then immediately deglaze the frying pan with a little hot water, to loosen any residue from the meat. Pour this water, in turn, into rice cooker and add the rice and then enough water so that it is covered. Now lay a loose leaf or two of cabbage on top of the rice and then set the stuffed cabbage on top of that- that way you can easily keep it separated from the rice. Now put on the lid and let it simmer and steam for the next 15 minutes or so. Don't walk too far away mind and make sure to add a little more hot water if necessary.

After 15 or 20 minutes, depending on the rice, everything should be done and all you need to do is to serve it up with a smile... and trust me- after trying this you WILL be smiling! I garnished mine with a few chili flakes and threads and was thrilled with th results! And again- yes, again:- you will be too!

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