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Making a Cabbage Dish for Kings

May 30, 1991|MINNIE BERNARDINO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

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Cabbage and Pork Stir-Fry

Steamed instant brown or white rice

Sliced cucumbers in sweetened vinaigrette

Sugared walnuts

They say you never have to ask what's cooking when cabbage starts simmering in a pot. Throw this lowly vegetable into a hot wok with garlic, onion and ground pork, dribble in some fish sauce and expect a bouquet of mixed aromas in the kitchen.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can mix in any leftover vegetable you happen to have and come up with a new dish each time you make it. To further enhance the dish, add a sprinkling of cilantro leaves and a squeeze of lemon. To liven the melange even more, add a garnish of diced tomatoes.

You'll get the best flavor out of cabbage if you select a heavy head with tight, smooth green leaves and no dark spots. Avoid using an aluminum vessel as it will alter the taste of the vegetable. And be sure not to overcook--keep those pieces tender-crisp and bright green.

This easy dish cooks quickly. For added speed, use 10-minute boil-in-bag brown rice and accent it with chopped scrambled egg and green onions. Warmed pita bread pockets, or couscous, would also work well with this stir-fry.

For a simple finale, try sugared walnuts. Dip some walnut halves in lightly beaten egg white, then in sugar, and toast in a hot skillet. When cooled, they will be crunchy and delicious.

CABBAGE AND PORK STIR-FRY

Staples

3 cloves garlic

1 small onion

Pepper

1 bottle dry Sherry

Instant rice

Shopping

1 bunch cilantro

1 small head cabbage

1 pound lean ground pork

1 bottle fish sauce

1 lemon

1. Crush 3 cloves garlic. Coarsely chop 1 small onion. Cut portion of cabbage into 1-inch chunks to measure 3 cups. Coarsely chop about 1/4 bunch cilantro, removing hard stems.

2. Heat small wok or stir-fry pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 pound lean ground pork, crumbling with wooden spoon. Cook, 5 minutes, stirring. Drain off excess fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon.

3. Push pork to one side of wok and add garlic and onion, saute until tender.

4. Stir ingredients together and add cabbage, 1 tablespoon water, 2 tablespoons dry Sherry and 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce. Stir-fry 5 minutes or until cabbage is tender-crisp. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper.

5. Serve with chopped cilantro and 1 lemon, cut in wedges. If desired, garnish with chopped tomato. Serve with cooked brown or white rice or warm pita breads.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: Other cut-up vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, red pepper, yellow squash, Chinese peas or water chestnuts may be added, if desired. Adjust seasonings to taste.

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