This week’s Wok Wednesday dish is exactly the kind of recipe that keeps us eating lots of cabbage, quickly is ready, and makes my wok happy. I have absolutely loved and internalized the cabbage and bacon stir fry recipe from Tane Chan, on page 229 of Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge. My wok loves bacon fat, and normally so do I, along with prosciutto and any other tasty, salty, meaty bits. Alas, this recipe has arrived smack in the middle of a time when I am not eating any cured meats. I was going to forgo this week, having settled for stir-frying along with the group with other vegetable+ cabbage dishes. As I saw the postings of our other Wokkers, I realized I was really missing out this week, so I decided to try a vegetarian version.Using a seitan bacon (we can call this a faux-bacon), and vegetable broth in place of chicken broth, or even firm sliced tofu with a distinct flavour, this recipe can be adapted for dietary preferences. I made the recipe as a complete weekend brunch for two, though this recipe easily serves 4 as a side dish.
I can’t wait to try it with real prosciutto, which would have a much more delicate and nuanced flavor than my smokey faux bacon. One really good suggestion that is worth exploring is a mushroom bacon, simply roasting shitake slices until they take on a dark, earthy flavour (and we would prefer the shorter ingredient list, with fewer sweet, salty and starchy ingredients). Nonetheless, I am glad I gave it a try and did not miss this dish.
The other substitution I made was using a tender, young pale savoy cabbage in place of the napa cabbage. I find this a bit less watery than napa, and since recent napa cabbage heads I have sliced into seem to be more prone to speckled interiors (not so nice), I am glad I had this perfect little spring cabbage, and it yielded exactly the two quarts the recipe calls for. The firmer cabbage stood up well with my faux-bacon, while when I do this with prosciutto, in delicate ribbons, I will try it with napa cabbage, later in the spring.I love cabbage stir-frys for this reason – they help me take a mountain of green, leafy brassica, and serve it up pronto for our healthiest fast meals.
The proportions of this recipe will quickly commit to your memory, and you will have a great weeknight dinner to add to your growing repertoire. This really is a close variation of the cabbage and bacon stir-fry mentioned at the beginning, but the prosciutto (or, in my case, vegetable faux bacon, is added at the end, just to heat thoroughly and be distributed). Any wok novice will find these recipes completely accessible — dinner in 15 minutes! If you are a ginger-head like I am, be extra generous with the ginger. I have yet to meet too much ginger….
This recipe is on page 199 of Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge by Grace Young. Wok Wednesdays is a group of home cooks who are cooking, or wokking, their way through the cookbook, and providing an amazing community of support to each other with their enthusiasm and generous knowledge sharing. Come take a peek at the group on Facebook or visit the Wok Wednesday’s website for a recipe schedule and guidelines.