Many Chinese restaurants offer a little bowl of pickled cabbage for you to nibble on at the beginning of your meal. Usually made with white cabbage, it is a tasty although not especially beautiful note to start a meal. Often it has a sprinkling of chilli or ginger in with it to lend a bit more flavour. This side dish is basically a prettier interpretation of the same thing. Red cabbage is so visually appealing that I love to use it for everything from the bowl for a dip on a crudite platter to a bright addition to a stir fry. In this dish it is the basis for a lovely bright combination of flavours. In my opinion, this side is so good-looking that it will really make any dish you partner with it look more glamorous, and even better, it keeps well in the fridge.
Pickled Red Cabbage
adapted from "Belinda Jeffrey's 100 Favourite Recipes"
1 small head of red cabbage
1 cup rice vinegar
1 tbl salt
1 cup sugar
6-7 "coins" of ginger, finely chopped
2 birds eye chillies, seeded and finely chopped
sesame seeds for garnish
Slice the cabbage as thinly as possible to create lots of long thin strips. Salt it and allow to drain in a colander for at least 1 hour. Mix the remaining ingredients until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the cabbage. Refrigerate overnight, tossing the salad occasionally so all of it stays moist with the pickling liquid. The longer you leave it, the less crunchy the cabbage becomes. The salad is delicious for at least a week after you make it (if it lasts that long).