Cabbage is a superfood that is grown worldwide and has a variety of species with various colors and textures. The health benefits in cabbage are vast. A chemical compound in cabbage is helpful in preventing cancer cells from forming or growing. This compound also protects the healthy tissues and organs from radiation during cancer treatments. Anthocyanins in cabbage keep our heart healthy. They also help in maintaining blood pressure and reducing inflammation in our cells. Fermented cabbage dishes like sauerkraut and kimchi are full of probiotics. Probiotics are extremely beneficial for our immune system and digestive system. High fiber content in cabbage reduces constipation and even helps in reducing obesity and diabetes.
Cabbage can be eaten raw, braised, boiled, roasted or sauteed. The diversity in preparations has yielded quite an amount of delicious dishes in many cuisines. It is the national dish of Russia but a staple and favorite in Jamaica. In our island cuisine, we shred cabbage leaves to make a slaw (mayo free) and we also prepare it steamed with meats, fish and other vegetables. It can be had as a side or it could be the center of the meal. However it is prepared, it is extremely nutritious and easy to cook. I prefer to cook cabbage for a short amount of time as I like to keep the bite, but you can cook your cabbage for as long as you like. This dish is paired with twice fried pressed green plantains which is a very popular way to cook green plantains in the Caribbean and South America. There is no meat added to this dish and it isn’t at all necessary. It is just as delicious without meat or fish.
For this recipe you will need:
- Sharp Knife
- Cutting board
- 4 Sheets of Paper Towel or a good tea cloth
- Large Skillet
- 2 Medium bowls
- Wooden spoon
- Half of a large cabbage or a whole medium cabbage
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (for cabbage)
- ½ cup canola oil (for plantains)
- 1 small white onion (sliced)
- 1 small plum tomato (rough chopped)
- 1/4 of a green pepper (sliced)
- 1/4 of a yellow pepper (sliced)
- 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper (minced)
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 carrots (julienned)
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 bouillon cube
- 1 green plantain (peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces)
- Rinse all vegetables in a colander.
- If you are using a large whole cabbage, sit the cabbage on the opposite end from the stem. Cut the cabbage vertically down the middle into two halves on a cutting board. Put away one half of the cabbage and place the other half flat on the board on the side that is cut. Use your knife to cut ¼ -½ inch strips until the entire half is cut. Place cut cabbage into a bowl. (refer to the video tutorial to see how I do cut my cabbage)
- Julienne carrots by cutting the carrot in half first, then cutting each half vertically/down the center. Sit the carrots on the flat side that is cut, and then slice into thin strips. Cutting the carrots into four pieces gives you a flat side to make them easy to work with.
- Slice and chop onions, bell peppers, hot peppers and tomatoes. Set aside in a small bowl.
- To a skillet add coconut oil. Keep the flame on medium high to get the oil hot.
- To the hot pan, add onions, bell peppers, hot peppers and tomatoes. Give the veggies a good stir with a spoon.
- Season veggies with a bullion cube, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper and paprika. Give the pan a good stir and allow the veggies to cook until translucent.
- Add carrots, thyme and cabbage and let veggies sweat for about 4 mins covered.
Uncover pan and use tongs to turn cabbage. There is a little sauce forming in the pan. Turn cabbage to get all of the sauce incorporated. Cover and let cook for about another 6 minutes. If you like your cabbage cooked softer, leave it on the stove until it reaches the doneness you prefer.
- Peel and cut green plantain into 2-inch pieces.
- Add ½ cup of oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Fry plantains lightly just until they become a deep yellow color, about 90 seconds on each side.
- Remove plantains carefully from oil and place each piece between paper towels. Use the palm of your hands to press down on the plantain. Each piece will flatten revealing uncooked centers. Be careful as the plantains are still very hot. You may also use a tortilla press if you have one or a plantain press . You can also press the plantains in its skin. Just reserve the skin after peeling.
- Fry plantains a second time until golden brown on each side. The second fry will cook the centers and make the plantains crispy. Remove plantains from oil and rest them on paper towels. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt if you wish.
- Plate cabbage and plantains. Serve with avocados or tomatoes.
Music Credit: Secret Sauce by Jeff Kale
Music Credit: Secret Sauce by Jeff Kale