Pandemic Grocery Shopping
At the start of the pandemic, we tried to limit the number of trips to the grocery store. It still wasn’t super clear that masks were all that helpful and we were worried that surface contamination was a major spreading factor. The simple act of going to the grocery store felt so risky. So, I tried to shop only once a month and stocked up on plenty of fresh vegetables that have a long shelf life.
Red cabbage was one of these long shelf life veggies. I adore red cabbage raw in salads and slaws. It’s hearty and crisp. I like that it adds a bit of colorful, edible confetti to my lettuce which makes me excited to eat salad.
Braised Red Cabbage Inspo
I got the idea for braising red cabbage after watching What Would Tom Do, one of the side programs from Top Chef, where Tom Colicchio makes a dish based on a recent Top Chef challenge. His recipe featuring sweet and bitter radicchio inspired me to create this braised red cabbage dish.* I’ve also been obsessed with Asian flavors this summer and wanted to highlight fish sauce in a sweet and sour red cabbage recipe. So that’s where this recipe was born.
I tested this at least four times and this was the final version that tasted the best. It’s sweet, sour, a little sticky, and packed with umami (from the fish sauce and soy); the red cabbage is hearty enough to hold up to a braise plus the extra time it cooks while reducing the sauce.
♥ Related: Gochujang Noodles
We ate a lot of sweet and sour braised red cabbage in the Spring and I didn’t get sick of it. So, you know it’s a classic. We added this to a bunch of different rice bowl variations and had it as a side dish to the Hawaiian classic, loco moco (pictured above.) In fact, it’s been awhile and I have red cabbage in the fridge…
*A re-watch of this What Would Tom Do? episode tells me that our dishes were VERY different, but I guess you never know what will inspire you and where that inspiration will take you!
Sweet and Sour Braised Red Cabbage
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp ginger minced fine or grated on micro-plane grater
- 1 clove garlic minced fine or grated on mircro-plane grater
- 1/2 medium head red cabbage shredded
- 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/8 cup soy sauce
- 1/8 cup fish sauce
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- toasted sesame seeds for serving
- In a Dutch oven or heavy large pot, heat the vegetable oil and sesame oil over medium heat.
- Add ginger and garlic to the oil, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes until it just starts turning brown. Don't let it burn!
- Add cabbage to the pot stirring well to coat with garlic and ginger oil.
- Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and water. Stir to incorporate well.
- Bring to a simmer. Cover and bring heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir a few times during this cooking stage.
- Uncover and bring to a heavier simmer/light boil for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce reduces by half and becomes slightly syrupy. Stir often during this cooking stage.
- Serve with a heavy sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.