This is a favourite dish in our household at basically at any occasion if we want something nourishing yet aromatic and fragrant. Paired with fluffy steamed jasmine rice, this dish is truly divine. The coconut curry truly blends with the rice and spices in a marriage of flavours ordained by the priests of food alchemy. The cabbage and tiny meat pieces add variety and texture, the roasted lemongrass saturates your mouth in a buttery dance, and the chilis are just enough to give you a kick without making you cry (except perhaps with tears of joy).
I usually use chicken cut into tiny pieces for this recipe and I always marinate the chicken beforehand with fish sauce, white pepper, salt, a little rice wine and a touch of soy sauce. Sometimes, I also add lime juice and oyster sauce, although I feel it is not so necessary. If you choose to use prawns, I recommend leaving the shells and heads on to add an amazing flavour to the curry. I personally love eating prawn heads, but trust me when I say prawn heads (often used to make prawn stock) is where all the flavour comes from!
Amy’s Napa Cabbage Curry
- Chicken / prawns /meat substitute (marinated with rice wine, fish sauce, salt, pepper and dash of soy sauce)
- Napa cabbage (cut side ways and chop into strips)
- Lemongrass (cut into little bits)
- 1 onion chopped
- Lots of ginger
- Lots of garlic
- Coriander seeds
- Oil of choice
- ½ cup coconut milk + ½ cup chicken stock (adjust depending on how much curry you want)
Note: Please buy a Thai brand of coconut milk! I usually use Aroy-D. Tried Western ‘health’ brands and the taste is just not the same.
- Coriander (for garnishing)
- Curry powder + touch of tumeric if you have it
- 2 freshly cut bird’s eye chilli
- Marinate the meat with the marinade sauce for a few hours / overnight.
- Dry-roast the cumin and coriander seeds till they pop.
- Put the onion and stir-fry till a bit limp with oil of choice (1-2 minutes)
- Put lemongrass and ginger, stir-fry till slightly brown- this releases the flavour in the lemongrass so it turns almost buttery to taste in the curry!
- Put chilli and garlic and stir-fry on medium heat 1-2 minutes till lightly brown.
- Put chicken and stir-fry lightly but not too much (about 50% seared is enough).
- Gradually put cabbage bit by bit and toss about till slightly wilted.
- Put coconut milk/ chicken stock mixture in gradually and let simmer gently; put curry powder and cayenne pepper if using.
- Garnish with coriander and squeeze lime juice on top.
- Serve with jasmine rice and slice of lime!
BONUS! Tips for cooking rice on the stove top!
I usually cook my rice in a small pot. I used to cook rice in a rice cooker but I find that unless you have an expensive, reputable one (ie. Tiger or Zojiroshi), the rice tends to come out dry and sad (yes, rice can be sad! and failed rice is something that makes me cry). I always double the water to rice, and I add in some chicken stock and Himalayan pink salt.
First, put to boil and when water is boiling, decrease heat to half. Just when all the water is almost evaporated, cover with lid, turn off heat and let the rice sit and cook gently from the heat of the pot. This additional step is what I found helps to not only prevent burning, but also makes rice soft, yet not too soft!