If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’ll be instantly aware that my style of cooking is firmly seated in the classic European repertoire. It’s not that I don’t like anything else; rather that I know where my strengths lie and therefore I naturally gravitate towards the type of food I cook well and instinctively ‘understand’.
Taking Chinese cuisine for example; this is a thing I have always loved, but in all honesty, I’ve never been particularly good at cooking it! This evening however, I thought I’d bravely leave my comfort zone and try something I wouldn’t normally cook. And I’m incredibly glad I did! This Chinese ginger, garlic and peanut cabbage was an absolute delight, and so incredibly easy to do! It’s a bit late for a new year’s resolution, but I think I should make one! From this moment forwards, I vow to leave my comfort zone more often and occasionally turn my hand to cuisine I wouldn’t automatically think of. And obviously if I don’t try new things, I’ll never learn; so this recipe turns a new leaf for me – and I promise to do it more often!
The great thing about oriental stir-fries is their speed and convenience. Old habits are the hardest to break, so I oven-baked the chicken in my usual way; but beyond 5 minutes chopping, the cabbage dish only took a further 5 minutes to cook. This is quite a change for me, as someone who’s used to standing over the range for hours on end, slowly mixing, simmering and stewing; especially in winter! As a result, this dish is perfect for a week-night, when you’re back late from work and want something quick which doesn’t compromise on flavour! Give it a go therefore and let me know how you get on. And equally, if you have any tricks to boost my ‘Chinese confidence’, they’d be gratefully received!
This particular recipe is great for a ketogenic diet, as all the ingredients are incredibly low in carbohydrate. At 1.14g net carbs per 100g, the Chinese leaf cabbage will certainly not break the ‘carb-bank’ – there’ll be no insulin-ramping or rise in blood-sugars, making this dish perfect for diabetics or those on a paleo-regime. And because there’s no gluten, those with an intolerance, or coeliacs can also tuck in with gusto. There’s plenty to go around!
Start by preparing your chicken. I used thighs, but any cut of your choice would be equally delicious! Season the skins with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper, then simply place into an oven-tray and bake in a hot oven (circa 180ºc) for 45 minutes to one hour, until the skins are crisp and golden and the meat cooked through to perfection.
20 minutes before you’re ready to serve up, take the outer leaves off your cabbage and finely slice the rest into thin strips. If it’s easier, you can do this with a food-processor, but my traditional old habits die hard! Transfer this to a bowl, then do the same with half a yellow pepper. Next you can get started on your garlic and ginger.
Peel a generous amount of ginger-root, larger certainly than your thumb. Then peel 2 cloves of garlic and chop both with a sharp knife into fine pieces (again, you may prefer to use a food-processor, but I always like to keep the washing-up to a minimum). Transfer this to one side and move onto your peanuts.
I used unshelled monkey-nuts, simply because I had them in the cupboard. Any pre-roasted and salted peanuts will do however; just make sure to read the packet carefully to make sure there’s no sugar or carbohydrate added to prevent them from ‘clumping’ in the packet. The peanuts provide a delicious variation in texture, so although not essential, I’d highly recommend including them! For one whole cabbage, I used a generous handful of nuts (or circa 50 laboriously hand-shelled monkeynuts!). The volume can obviously be varied to your preference.
Place a wok onto the hob and pour in a couple of tablespoons’ of sunflower or vegetable oil. Once this is piping hot, add your chopped garlic and ginger, followed by your cabbage thirty seconds later. Stir-fry the lot for a further 2 minutes, then pour on 1/2 a cupful of water, add a large pinch of salt and crumble in 2 chicken stock-cubes for background ‘warmth’.
Cook this for another couple of minutes whilst you dry-roast your peanuts in a second pan. This is incredibly easy to do and provides a delicious crunch and full-bodied flavour. Simply tip the peanuts into a pan and toast over the hob with no oil for 1-2 minutes until they start to smoke slightly and brown in patches. Once achieved, scatter them over you cabbage and stir in until evenly incorporated.
All that remains is to take your chicken out of the oven and lay it on top of the cabbage. Garnish the lot with a generous sprinkle of chopped herbs (parsley or coriander) and a quick squeeze of lime juice. You’ll be amazed at how something so simple can be so rich in flavour and texture – a positive winner all round!
Browse this and other recipes by picture on my pinterest page: country walks in ketosis pinterest.
Thanks for reading and bon ap!