ABC News Breakfast 3 May 2022

 

It’s a brassica bonanza!
Cabbage dishes across the world
As far as bang for buck goes in the vegetable kingdom, cabbage is the cream of the crop! Colcannon, a traditional Irish side takes advantage of the sweetness of cabbage and the creaminess of mash. Borsch, a soup hailing from Ukraine, and eaten across Eastern Europe, is bulked out with shredded cabbage – and often spiked with a little fermented cabbage fizz from sauerkraut, too. Cabbage Mallung, a Sri Lankan dish of warmed, spiced greens, is enriched with butter by chefs like O Tama Carey at Lankan Filling Station, and further sweetened with shredded coconut. And if it’s shredded finely and zipped with dressing to soften, cabbage bulks out a slaw like nothing else – perfect for feeding a crowd. All of these can be made ahead and eaten across the week – and you could even quarter a cabbage and make one of each dish!

Cabbage & Pea Colcannon

serves 4-6 as a side

Ingredients
  

  • 5 large potatoes approx. 1.5kg peeled and roughly chopped
  • 150 g white cabbage thinly sliced (see tips)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 50 g butter plus extra for serving
  • 2/3 cup 150ml cream (see tips)
  • 2 spring onions finely sliced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Bring chopped spuds to the boil in a large pot of well-salted cold water. Boil until potatoes are fork-tender (approx. 15-20mins).
  • Meanwhile, finely slice your cabbage and pop in a bowl with the peas. When potatoes are ready, drain through a colander or sieve into the bowl of cabbage and peas. Let the mix sit for a few minutes until the peas thaw and the cabbage softens, and then drain.
  • In your large pot, place the potatoes back in, add cream and butter, mash together, and season to taste. Once potatoes are smooth and creamy, add in cabbage, peas, and most of the spring onion (keep a little for garnish). Mix with a flexible spatula or wooden spoon to combine.
  • Transfer to your serving bowl, top with a big dollop of butter, reserved spring onion and a crack of pepper.

Notes

Tips:
This can be made with any kind of brassica – from Cavolo Nero to Savoy.
If you’ve no cream in the fridge, use the same amount of milk and add extra butter if you’d prefer a little more richness.
Turn this recipe plant-based by using olive oil instead of butter and loosening the mix with some of the water you boiled the potatoes in.

Cabbage Mallung

serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 500 g cabbage roughly sliced
  • ½ cup shredded coconut reserving 2 tbsp for lightly toasting (see tips)
  • 1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 lime zested and juiced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat a large frying pan over high. Melt in the butter and coconut oil, then add mustard seeds. Once your mustard seeds have started to pop, which’ll take about a minute (careful – they can jump out of the pan!), add sliced cabbage and coconut.
  • Wait until the cabbage starts to get some burnish on its edges, then add a tablespoon of water and sauté for 5 minutes until the cabbage softens and becomes slightly translucent.
  • Sprinkle in turmeric and season generously, stirring to combine. Cook for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat, add in lime zest and juice.
  • Transfer to your serving dish and top with toasted coconut.

Notes

Tips:
You can lightly toast shredded coconut in the oven or on the stove top. Heat the pan, then turn if off and add the coconut. Remember to set a timer so you don’t forget to stir.
Lime is preferable, but lemon will fit the bill if need be.
Lankan Filling Station’s O Tama Carey recommends grating your own coconut if you can, or buying fresh shredded coconut from Asian grocers.
Make this recipe plant-based by using just coconut oil instead of butter

Everyday Borsch

Serves 4-6 with left-overs

Ingredients
  

  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 700 g 1 lb 9 oz cauliflower (1/2 large one, or 1 small- sub with 2 heads of broccoli)
  • ¼ white cabbage or 1/2 a wombok
  • 2 carrots shredded
  • 2-3 waxy potatoes peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks thinly sliced, tops reserved for garnishing
  • 2 beetroot 400 g/14 oz, shredded
  • 12 cups 3 litres vegetable/chicken stock/water
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons sauerkraut or pickle brine optional

To serve

  • dill sprigs
  • crusty bread or dinner rolls
  • grated garlic
  • sour cream or crème fraîche

Instructions

  • Whack the onion and garlic into a big saucepan with the olive oil. Let them start to sizzle over medium heat, then pop the lid on and let the onion sweat away in its own juices for 5–10 minutes until translucent, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, turn the cauliflower upside down and cut into the core at an angle, so that the florets all come off with a pull. Now pull them apart until they’re bite-sized. Set aside.
  • Once the onion has sweated down and is fragrant, add the cabbage, carrot, potato, celery, and beetroot. Pour in the stock, then supplement with extra water (preferably filtered) until your pan of choice is three-quarters full. Squeeze in the lemon juice (to keep the brightness of the beetroot) and add a good pinch of salt.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower florets and cook until the shredded beetroot is easily bitten through, but not mushy, the potatoes fork tender, and the cauliflower softened slightly; keeping some ‘bite’ here is the key for both flavour and texture.
  • Pour in enough brine that you can taste it, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with the reserved celery leaves and serve with sour cream, grated garlic and crusty bread – or what you will!

Notes

Tips:
- This is one dish where schmaltz (chicken fat, duck fat) or dripping adds to the flavour in a most delightful way. You could also add a little butter when sweating the onions, if you were that way inclined.
- Some babushkas add a tablespoon or so of jam (plum or apricot work well) to bring out the beets’ natural sweetness more. You can do this at the end if need be.
- You can make this plant-based by using olive oil and vegetable stock, and a vegan sour cream alternative to finish.

Cabbage & Carrot Slaw

Serves 4-6 as a side

Ingredients
  

Dressing

  • 2 tsp mustard see tips
  • 6 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove bruised
  • 6 tbsp grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Slaw

  • 1/4 white cabbage
  • 1 medium carrot julienned
  • 3 spring onions finely sliced
  • 1 tart apple
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 handful of parsley leaves roughly chopped

Instructions

  • To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a lidded jar, seal tightly, and give it a shake. Taste and correct for seasoning, and set aside in the jar for the flavours to develop.
  • In a large bowl, combine the shredded slaw ingredients, bar the apples. Only when close to serving, cut the apple into matchsticks and place in enough water to cover, then splash in the tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to keep the apple from browning.
  • Just before serving, drain the prepared apple matchsticks and toss together with the rest of the ingredients. Give the dressing another good shake and pour over the salad, tossing again to coat generously.
  • Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.

Notes

Tips:
Any mustard will do it – whatever’s in the fridge. If you’re buying something new, my pick is for a Dijon or seeded.
You can make this up to a day ahead – just store the sliced apples in their acidulated water bath with a lid until serving time, and don’t dress until the very last minute.
You can finely slice by hand, using a food processor, a mandolin with julienne attachment, or even a julienne peeler. Cut the cabbage against the grain for the best shaped thin slices.