These men be tiresome.
Anne Hughes, The Diary of a Farmer’s Wife, 1796–1797
There never was a truer statement especially when it comes to the eating habits of the men in my life. My father disliked the flavour of aniseed and refused to take us out to eat. He had to tour frequently in his job and had to eat in all sorts of eateries, and when he was home, he only wanted to eat what my mother cooked. It never occurred to him that we, particularly my mother, would want to taste something different and enjoy a respite from cooking. My husband hated anything that was gooey in texture; I can understand him not wanting to get liquid egg yolk on his moustache, but not his avoidance of porridge, ice cream, and fruits like mango. My son has a long list of foodstuffs he abhors, which includes all seafood, nuts, fruits, and most vegetables. I do not mind him not eating the first three, but I try to draw a line when it comes to vegetables. I noticed that he tolerated capsicum and cabbage in noodles and that inspired me to create this recipe.
The capsicum and cabbage are lightly stir fried to remove the raw flavour, at the same time retaining their turgor. The garlic and ginger added gives a mildly Chinese flavour. This has become my signature dish, and even my guests enjoy this salad.
The added advantage is its low calorific value, which gives it a prominent place in weight reducing diets. Here’s a lunchbox with stir-fried cabbage and capsicum salad and beef kebabs, an ideal combination of green vegetables and protein minus carbohydrates for those who wish to shed weight.
- 2 large Capsicums
- 1 small Cabbage
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- ½ tsp grated Ginger
- ⅛ tsp Aginomoto
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp white Vinegar
- 2 tsp Vegetable Oil
- Deseed the capsicum; chop into roughly 2 cm square pieces.
- Remove two or three of the thin outer leaves of the cabbage (it’s usually very dirty), chop it into roughly 2 cm square pieces.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick kadai or wok, add the garlic and the aginomoto, immediately add the capsicum, lower heat and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the cabbage, ginger, and salt and fry for another 30 seconds. Add the sugar and stir. Remove from heat.
- Just before serving, add the vinegar and toss the salad.
- If vinegar is added during cooking, the chlorophyll in the vegetable will turn brown.
- The cabbage should have a crunchy texture after cooking.
- Many western recipes for salads use multi-coloured peppers for colour. I have not used red or yellow peppers as they are prohibitively expensive in Chennai.