STUFFED BITTER CHINESE CABBAGE

STUFFED BITTER CHINESE CABBAGE

Bitter Chinese cabbage (kali choy) is also known as mustard green. It is not to be confused with sweet Chinese cabbage (pak choy), which is too soft for this dish. Large stalks of celery could perhaps be used as a substitute.

500 g (1 lb) bitter Chinese cabbage

A little cornstarch

Oil for frying

Shrimp Paste

8 oz (250 g) shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped

½ oz (15 g) pork or chicken fat, chopped

¼ teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

½ oz (15 g) bamboo shoots, chopped and squeezed dry

Sauce

1½ cups (375 ml) chicken stock

½ teaspoon sesame oil

½ teaspoon sugar

Pinch each of salt and pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

8 oz (250 g) crab meat

2 tablespoons beaten egg

METHOD

Cut the leaves from the cabbage and set them aside, leaving only those parts of the stalks that are suitable for stuffing. Cook them, uncovered, in boiling water for 5 minutes or until just soft. Drain, and leave them to soak in cold water. When cool, drain again, and cut into 3-in (7½-cm) lengths.

To make the shrimp Paste, grind the shrimp with the pork fat, sugar, salt and pepper to a very fine paste, then stir in the bamboo shoots.

Sprinkle the cabbage stalks with a little cornstarch to make them dry, and stuff each with Shrimp Paste. Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the stuffed cabbage with the shrimp paste side down until it is cooked, then lift it out and drain off the excess oil carefully. Keep warm.

Bring the stock to a boil in a pan and simmer until it reduces by half. In another pan, blend the sesame oil, sugar, salt, pepper and the cornstarch slurry. Slowly add the stock to the sauce ingredients, stirring constantly, until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Add the crab and when it returns to a boil, remove from the heat and stir in the beaten egg. Return the saucepan to the stove, stirring again without letting it come to a boil. Pour the sauce over the stuffed cabbage and serve.

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