This recipe came about when I had a leftover head of green cabbage in my refrigerator from a previous night’s corned beef and cabbage dinner (yum). That particular night I had a craving for Asian-inspired flavors that could not be denied and a head of cabbage that could not go to waste. It is near impossible to find a reputable Chinese take-out joint in Arizona, where I was living at the time. When I did find a place I deemed decent, I suffered from food-poisoning shortly after consumption. If I could remember the name of this offensive establishment I would gladly share it with you. Unfortunately for you, I quickly erased this disturbing episode from my memory as the mere thought of the place makes me quiver. I probably should have never trusted the reviews written by people who live in a city that is not particularly known for food; maybe that is just me being a proud New Yorker, either way, they were utterly wrong and I paid the price. Needless to say, I never ventured out for Chinese food in Arizona again and instead concocted this recipe to satisfy my craving.
Now, back to the recipe. I love lettuce wraps but I had never made them before so I thought to myself, “I have all the ingredients to make the perfect filling, so why not try these little babies wrapped in cabbage instead?” This recipe is so simple, the most difficult part being separating each layer of cabbage without destroying the perfect little vessel it creates.
For the filling:
2 – boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
Soy sauce, enough to coat the chicken
Teriyaki sauce, about 1 tablespoon of your favorite brand
A healthy pinch of brown sugar, to balance out the salt in the soy sauce
1-2 green onions
6-8 button mushrooms, chopped
Red pepper flake
Fresh ground black pepper
*NOTE: If the teriyaki sauce you prefer to use is already sweet, disregard the brown sugar component of the recipe.
For the Dipping Sauce:
Red Pepper Flake
Whisk the aforementioned list of ingredients in a bowl until they are well combined. Use this sauce for dipping your finished cabbage wraps.
Clean your chicken, cut it into small, bite-sized pieces and season it conservatively with salt (the soy sauce provides plenty of salt by itself), and black pepper. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, teriyaki, and brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved.* Add the minced garlic, red pepper flake, and chicken pieces to the marinade, mix well and let marinade for at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
While the chicken is marinating, start preparing your head of cabbage. Cut the head in half and remove the tough root of the vein from the end of the head. Carefully peel the individual layers of the cabbage. There really is no trick to this besides being extremely gentle and paying attention to the way the cabbage wants to peel, rather than forcing the layers apart. Place each leaf in a pot of semi-boiling, salted water just to blanch them. Make sure you have a bowl of ice-water waiting nearby to shock the cabbage leaves so they do not continue cooking after they are removed from the hot water. This is just to cook the leaves enough so they can be formed into wraps without breaking. You could also steam the cabbage leaves as opposed to boiling them.
After 15 minutes, heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan and add the chicken, making sure not to pour the excess marinade in the pan as soy sauce tends to burn easily. Ensure that your oil is hot before adding the chicken and mushrooms. Once the chicken and mushrooms are added, do not touch them. Allow the chicken to get a good crust and for the sugar to caramelize a bit, being careful not to let it burn. After 2 minutes or so, stir the chicken mixture before adding the chopped green onions and peanuts; these only need to sauté quickly, less than a minute. I also added the scrap-pieces of the cabbage that I previously trimmed from the head to make the filling more substantial and again, because there really is no point to trash it. When your chicken is fully cooked, scoop out a healthy portion into the individual cabbage leaves and dive in!
Thanks for stopping by!
♥ Xristina Marie ♥
The Refined Palate
© 2011 Xristina Miros