Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cabbage with Rice and Currants

Since there's been so much cabbage at the market recently, and it always looks so cute and healthy and appealing, I've gone on a bit of a cabbage kick. This recipe seemed like quite the adventure (layering ingredients! inverted dishes! dried fruit in a main course! dill, which usually I don't like, but decided to give a try!) and a good way to use a bunch of cabbage up. I also want to cook more out of this cookbook, World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey.

Cabbage with Rice and Currants

1/2 large head of fresh cabbage (1 pound in all), cored and shredded
3 Tbsp canola or peanut oil
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into fine half rings
2 Tbsp pine nuts
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice (I used jasmine rice, which the author recommends)
2 Tbsp dried red currants (Weaver Street didn't have any in stock; I used chopped craisins instead)
1/2 well-packed cup finely chopped fresh dill
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp sugar

Bring 2 1/2 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add 1 Tbsp salt and stir. Now put in the cabbage and bring to a boil again. Boil for 1 minute, or just until cabbage wilts. Drain immediately and run under cold water. Drain again and leave in a strainer.

Put the oil in a large frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the onion. Stir and fry for about four minutes, or until the onion has browned a bit. Put in the pine nuts. Stir and fry for 30 seconds. Turn the heat to medium low and put in the rice, currants, dill, cinnamon, black pepper to taste, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Stir and saute for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Divide the cabbage into 3 portions and the rice into 2. Put one portion of the cabbage in the bottom of a heavy, medium pan, spreading it out evenly. Cover with a layer of seasoned rice. Cover the rice with a second layer of cabbage, then another layer of rice, and a final layer of cabbage. Add 3 cups of water and the sugar. Find a plate that you can fit upturned on top of the cabbage. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the pot to a boil. Cover tightly, turn the heat down to low, and cook for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat. Leave the pot undisturbed ina warm place for another 30 minutes or a bit longer.

Just before eating, remove the lid and the plate inside the pan. take a knife and go around the edges of the pan. Now upturn a large serving plate and place it on top of the pan. Invert the pan so that the plate is now under it. The rice should just slide out. Serve hot.

At first these instructions confused me -- did I put the plate inside the pan for the whole time? (Yes, you're supposed to, though I got freaked out and took my plate out part of the way through, reread the instructions, and put it back in a few minutes later). The dish came out great though -- it's a ton of food! Jen and Hilary and I each had a big portion, and each of them took some for lunch the next day as I was getting ready to go out of town. It is pretty cool to invert the dish, and the spices mix together really well. Even though I don't love dill, as I suspected, it worked out really well in this combination.

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