Think you’re not a big cabbage fan? Have you ever had it braised until it was silky soft in a flavorful broth packed with tender ocean delicacies? Braised Cabbage with Seafood will change how you view cabbage. It can do so much more than get shredded and drenched with mayo. No hate to coleslaw mind you, but cabbage is ready to play a much bigger starring role in your life. You know you’ve been meaning to add more cruciferous veggies into your meals, so let’s get into it.
Braise the Cabbage
Full disclosure, I’m using Napa cabbage for this dish. Its leaves are already a bit softer than green cabbage and it has a mild sweetness. Napa cabbage is ubiquitous in Asian cuisine and plays so many roles, because it is incredibly versatile. It can be shredded and eaten raw in salads, it can be used in soups and stews, it adds a nice crunch to stir fries, and of course, kimchi would not be the same without Napa cabbage.
If you got caught by surprise and had counted on green cabbage being included in this recipe, you can definitely use it instead and it will still be delicious. Just be sure to cook it for a little longer until the cabbage is really tender and soft.
Start by whipping up the sauce. The secret to a good braise is to use a really flavorful braising liquid, and this one delivers. Then we amp up the flavor even more with the addition of several aromatics like dried shrimp, ginger, garlic, and chili flakes. No bland cabbage for us!
Now that the cabbage is silky soft and tender, it’s time to make the seafood portion. I use a mix of shrimp, calamari, and scallops. You can find the calamari, or squid, already cleaned and cut in the frozen section. The seafood get very quickly cooked in our braising liquid.
Then I add the cornstarch slurry and let it thicken up the sauce, which just takes about 30 seconds. I add just a touch of toasted sesame oil for added richness.
And with that, we’ve turned cabbage into a sexy, sumptuous feast. Serve it with some hot rice to soak up all of the delicious sauce. Try it and let me know what you think. Comment and rate the recipe below, and show off your creations by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- 1 ½ pounds napa cabbage (1 small one)
- ½ large onion, sliced thin
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- 2 Tablespoons dried shrimp
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- ½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
- ½ pound shrimp (I used 21/25 “large” size)
- ½ pound sliced squid*
- 6 pieces large scallops*
- 4 scallions
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 Tablespoon water
- 6 oz chicken broth
- 2 Tablespoons shaoxing wine
- 2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
Make the sauce:
- Combine the chicken broth, shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, salt, and ground pepper in a cup and stir. Set aside.
- Cut the napa cabbage in half and then cut each half into thirds to yield 6 wedges. Wash and set aside to drain.
- Trim the scallions and then cut into 2 inch pieces. Set aside.
- Heat a large 12 inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and onions, stir frying for 2-3 minutes. Next add the dried shrimp, chili flakes, garlic, and ginger and stir fry for a couple of seconds.
- Add the sauce and stir to combine. Then add the Napa cabbage wedges. Cover with a tight lid and cook for 7-8 minutes, until the napa cabbage is tender and limp. Turn the cabbage wedges a couple of times while cooking so they cook evenly.
- Use a pair of tongs to transfer the napa cabbage to a large platter, keeping the cooking liquid in the pan.
- Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium high heat and add the shrimp, squid, scallops, and scallions. Cook uncovered for 3 minutes until the seafood is just cooked.
- Add the cornstarch slurry, stirring the sauce as you pour. Let it cook for 30 seconds to thicken and then taste it, adjusting the seasoning if needed.
- Add the sesame oil and stir to combine.
- Pour the seafood sauce gently over the napa cabbage.
- Serve Braised Cabbage with Seafood immediately.
*You can find calamari (squid) already cleaned and cut in the freezer section. Defrost before using.
*I used Japanese style boiled scallops, which are already cooked. You can substitute with any scallops you like. Look for natural unsoaked chemical free scallops for best flavor and texture.
*If you would prefer to use green cabbage, cut the cabbage into wedges. And cook them for 6-8 minutes longer than the recipe states. Take a fork and stab into the wedge. It should easily pierce the cabbage. If not, cook it for a couple minutes longer. You may need to use a bit more chicken broth or water to complete the braise.
Keywords: seafood, shrimp, scallops, cabbage