ginger&caramel braised cabbage

huntington beach dead of winter<–My dear friend Parisa posted this very recently on facebook.  It’s the dead of winter.

I don’t get it.  My nose is running, I’ve got the average toll up to two layers of socks a day, and my skin is whiter than unrefined sugar.  (I guess that makes it refined sugar?)

cabbage and asian ingredientsI feel like a polar bear.  And in cold times, I want to eat cozy food: things braised, hearty, yet healthy.  Which brought to mind cabbage the other morning when I awoke without the slightest idea if there was even any space between the entry way to my nasal passage and the back of my head.  Stuffed up.

However, when I think of cabbage I think of Beatrix Potter.  That’s sweet, but not exciting.

When I think of ginger, caramel, and hot sauce I want to sweat a little.  In a good way.

So, the two had a playdate and this was born.  I’m on round three right now.  Yum.

ginger braised cabbage

ginger braised cabbage

Serves 4-6
Prep time 10 minutes
Dietary Corn Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Nut Free, Soy Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Salad, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot


  • 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil (you can use grapeseed or another neutral oil if you have a sesame allergy)
  • 1/4 onion (divided)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 apple (cut into small cubes, peeled or unpeeled, your choice)
  • zest of1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
  • a few dashesyour favorite hot sauce
  • 1 large curly cabbage (cut into thin strips with either a sharp knife or a mandolin)
  • 1/4 cup high quality apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro or parsley (chopped (optional but a nice herb flavor))
  • salt to taste if needed (taste at the end of cooking as your liquid will reduce down and increase saltiness)


Step 1 Heat 1 tbs. oil or fat over medium heat in large pot.  Add onion, sauté for about 3-4 minutes, until edges are coloring and caramelizing.  Add garlic and ginger.  Sauté another minute, until aromatic.  Add honey and lemon zest.  Cook for 30 seconds to start a caramel.  Once starting to turn more brown, add apple.  Stir to coat.  Let cook for another 2 minutes, or until the caramel is a deep amber brown, not dark brown and burnt.
Step 2 At this point add tamari, hot sauce (optional), another 1 tbs. oil and your cabbage strips right away.  Coat with caramel, and cook for 2 minutes, until heated through.  Add apple cider vinegar, increase heat to high, and reduce until there is no liquid at the bottom, about 1-2 minutes, stirring to coat cabbage evenly.  Immediately add water, thyme, and optional fresh herbs.  Bring to a boil, stir cabbage a few times to bring the bottom pieces to the top, cover, and reduce heat to low.
Step 3 Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally to bring the bottom pieces to the top, for minimum 1.5 hours.  If the water is running out at the bottom, add a bit more.  At the end there should be a bit of water left, so if you braise it for 3 hours, you’ll have to add water half way through at the least.

caramel onion garlic giner apples
finished braised cabbage

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