Peppy – and peppery – quick lunch (or dinner): Cabbage and eggs
This is one of those recipes that is so much more than the sum of its parts. When my dear friend Shireen told me about this standby from her kitchen, I admit to being deeply suspicious. Cabbage? Green cabbage? Sautéed? With eggs? It just didn’t sound like something I was going to enjoy particularly much. Which was absurd, because said dear friend Shireen has literally not a single time led me astray in the kitchen. She’s the one I text with desperate queries (i.e. “HELP I have a wilted lettuce leaf, a tin of anchovies, and some butter, what can I make for dinner”) and she inevitably saves the day with a quick text back like “oh sure, make this classic that is better than anything you’ve made in the last month”, and everyone is happy. Honestly, she’s the one who should have a kitchen blog, but that’s a whole other conversation.
One day, I believe I was faced with excess cabbage from my produce box and zero ideas. A plea of desperation to Shireen got me this recipe. It also introduced me to the unexpected, fully delightful joy of white pepper. How did I never know there was such a gulf between white and black pepper? Black pepper has its place, but white pepper is such a punch of pure pepper flavor. It is absolutely worth seeking out, not only for this recipe, but for substitution into all kinds of other recipes that need a boost.
This is a perfect lunch, because it is super flavorful – despite its rather mundane appearance – and it is also packed with cabbagey nutrition and eggy protein. It’s also quick, using just one dish, and you can either have it as is, or you can stuff it in a tortilla, or serve it over rice or whatever other grain you have on hand. It’s even good on a slice of sourdough toast (I KNOW!). You can easily scale it up to serve more people, just use a pan big enough to make sure everything hits the hot surface.
For some reason I always feel like a proper cook when I shove the cabbage over to the sides of the pan and pour in the beaten egg. I think it’s because I see my mother-in-law do this when she makes mee goreng and various other noodley dishes, and I always feel very efficient and clever doing the same thing here.
I usually doctor mine up with sambal oelek for a little additional heat, but you could also use sriracha or chilies in soy; it would be delicious also with chilies in vinegar.
This is posted here with permission from Shireen, though any errors are of course mine and if you don’t like it, don’t you dare blame Shireen.
Cabbage and eggs
This is more of a formula than a recipe, and you can adjust the seasonings and ratios of cabbage to eggs to suit your taste.
- 1 tsp oil You can use any neutral tasting oil here
- Several cloves of garlic, minced or pressed To taste
- 1/8 green cabbage (more or less), sliced (not too thinly)
- Generous pinch salt
- Generous pinch white pepper
- Small pinch granulated garlic or garlic powder I always have granulated garlic on hand, but powder would work too.
- 2 eggs, beaten
Heat the oil in a pan, then add the minced or pressed garlic and sauté briefly until fragrant. Try not to let it burn.
Add cabbage and continue sautéeing until wilted.
Add salt, white pepper, and granulated garlic. Stir, then shove the cabbage over to one side of the pan.
Pour the beaten eggs into the open space in the pan and lightly scramble before mixing into the cabbage.
Serve with sambal oelek, sriracha, or with chilies in soy or chilies in vinegar. Delicious as is, or over rice or another grain, or stuffed into a tortilla.
Have you cooked with white pepper? Don’t you agree it’s pure pepper magic?