(Updated March 2009) Napa cabbage is one of those ingredients that can be served raw or cooked, and in early 2006 I enjoyed this cooked dish of braised napa cabbage with shitake mushrooms. I hate looking back at my old photos, and this recipe is due for a new picture, but even with this completely unimaginative photo, it's still a delicious and nutritious dish.
Napa Cabbage can be served cooked or raw, and contains vitamin C, fiber and folate as well as cancer-fighting compounds called indoles. It's also called Chinese Celery Cabbage, Peking Cabbage, and Petsai. I found a number of sites that offered cooking tips for Napa cabbage, and realized I had no idea how versatile it was. I found a lot of recipes where it was used in Napa Cabbage Salad, and some which featured Napa Cabbage in Chinese recipes.
Braised Napa Cabbage with Shitakes
(Adapted from prevention.com. About 4 servings)
1 cup dried sliced shitake mushrooms
1 T peanut oil
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic (or less)
1 large head Napa Cabbage, thinly sliced
3-4 green onions, sliced
1 T soy sauce
1/2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
salt/pepper to taste
Put shitake mushrooms in a shallow bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit until soft, about one hour if you have that much time. Drain well, coarsely chop. Cut cabbage crosswise into thin strips, discarding root end.
Heat oil in large heavy pan or wok over medium heat. Add garlic and stir fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes (do not brown). Add shitakes, cabbage, and scallions and stir-fry about 3 minutes. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper, reduce heat to low, cover and braise until cabbage is barely tender, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.
South Beach Suggestions:
This would be a great dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet, or any other low-glycemic eating plan. another South Beach friendly dish using napa cabbage is Napa Cabbage Slaw with Carrots and Fennel-Dijon Dressing.