I cooked some cabbage once when I had some friends at my house for lunch and they were amazed at how I had cut the vegetable – into very thin strips.
Well, I’ve been eating cabbage like that all my life – my mother would cut and cook it that way. It was only after they had mentioned it that I realised that they would have it cut into big pieces to cook at those economical fast food places. The Malay food stall at Bandong that I frequent quite regularly would have cabbage every day but I would never buy – it does not look like I would like it very much…and I had cabbage as one of the sides with my terrayaki chicken at this place and I gave it the thumbs down.
Normally, I would just fry it with garlic and egg (and perhaps, some chillies as well) but the other day, I decided to add some ikan bilis (dried anchovies)…
Actually, you may use prawns as well…or lap cheong (Chinese sausage)…or even bak kua (barbecued meat) cut into thin strips as well.
Of course, the cabbage must be cut into very fine thin strips…
…the same way you would cut it if you are making coleslaw.
Rinse the cut cabbage in water and drain just before throwing it into the wok – that’s all the water you will need. Most people will add some more to cook the vegetable but it may end up overcooked and way too soft and not to my liking.
So, to cook the dish, heat a bit of oil in the wok, throw in the ikan bilis and stir till it has turned a bit brown before you add the garlic. Keep stirring till they have turned into a nice golden brown colour before you add the chillies and the cut cabbage. Push aside a bit in the wok and break an egg into it…and mix thoroughly. Add salt and msg according to taste and dish out everything and serve…
This has to be done in a jiffy so that the cabbage would still be nice and crunchy.
I prefer it this way and it’s the same when it comes to frying tau geh (bean sprouts). How on earth could they cook them till they’re limp and translucent…and still eat it, I wonder! Shudders!!!