Jul 9, 2014

Crunchy WON BOK

Won Bok from Friendly Market,
Moloka'i, Hawaii

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Napa, or celery cabbage in Hawaii is referred to as "won bok", where it is very popular in Korean baechu kimchi. Won bok is a type of Chinese cabbage originating near the Beijing region of China, and is widely used in East Asian cuisine. It is a more delicate variety of cabbage than the round heads of cabbage. Here in Hawaii, won bok is grown in cooler-climate areas like Waimea on the Big Island.

I love to use this crunchy cabbage in salads because it is fluffy and lightly crisp, and doesn't wilt as quickly as lettuce, with salad dressing on it. It also holds up well in soups, stews, stir fries, lettuce wraps, and braised dishes.

Won Bok Salad
1 pound won bok cabbage
1 cup celery chopped
1 green pepper cut into strips
1 red pepper cut into strips
1 cup fresh pineapple or one 8.25 ounce can pineapple chunks
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salad herbs

Dressing Ingredients:
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons milk

Put cabbage in large bowl. Add celery, green peppers, red peppers, pineapple, pecans, salt, pepper and herbs. Mix yogurt, sour cream and milk together until consistency of heavy cream. Pour over salad right before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Mu Shu Pork Wrap
1 small head won bok cabbage
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 (8-ounce) boneless pork loin, trimmed
1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrots
4 mushroom caps, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3/4 cup sliced green onions, divided
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

Reserve 8 cabbage leaves. Shred remaining cabbage to measure 2 cups. Combine soy sauce and next 3 ingredients (through cornstarch). Cut pork crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Stack several slices vertically; slice pork into 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Repeat procedure with remaining pork. Add pork, carrots, and mushrooms to soy sauce mixture; toss. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add 1/4 cup onions; sauté 30 seconds. Add shredded cabbage and water; sauté 2 minutes. Remove cabbage mixture from pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add remaining 1/2 cup onions and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add pork mixture; sauté 3 minutes or until done. Add cabbage mixture; toss. Place about 1/3 cup pork mixture into each of 8 reserved cabbage leaves. Makes 8 servings.

Won Bok Shrimp Stir-fry
This is a wonderful stir-fry. If you gather all of your ingredients ahead of time, this will prove to be a very quick meal to cook, and will satisfy your guests.

1/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
1 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
4 cups shredded won bok cabbage
1 cup snow peas, strings removed
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup diagonally cut green onions

Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl; stir to combine.

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add oils to pan; swirl to coat. Add shrimp; stir-fry 1 minute. Add ginger and garlic; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add broth mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until mixture thickens. Stir in cabbage, snow peas, and red bell pepper; cook 2 minutes. Top with green onions. Serve with white rice garnished with sesame seeds. Makes 2 large servings, or 4 small servings.

Salt Pickled Won Bok with Raisins
Ichiyazuki is a salt pickling process, and is the easiest, fastest and most popular way of pickling in Japan. Basically, vegetables (cucumbers, young radish leaves, mizuna, mustards, turnips and leaves, etc.) are washed, sliced, salted and placed under a weight for about a day. You may prepare this in the morning and serve pickles at dinner. Raisins or chilies may be added for desired flavor. Salt is rinsed off the vegetable before serving. The vegetables are good for only 1-2 days.

won bok leaves
raisins, chilies - optional

Wash won bok leaves. Sprinkle salt on leaves and massage salt into leaves (especially white mid ribs). Place nappa leaves in a deep pan or bowl. For sweet or hot flavoring, add raisins or chilies on the side of the leaves. Sprinkle salt on top of the nappa. Place a dish that will be able to sink down and place it on top of the nappa. Put a heavy weight on top of the plate. Another pan filled with water placed on top of the plate may be used as weight. When you are ready to eat the pickles, wash the leaves and squeeze out the water. Cut leaves into 1/2" lengths.

Won Bok Kim Chee with Sriracha Sauce
1 large head Napa cabbage (Won Bok)
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 gallon water
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons peeled and minced ginger
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup Sriracha sauce
6 scallions, both white and green parts sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated

Day 1:
Cut cabbage into quarters and then into 1-inch square pieces. Throw out the core. Put cabbage into large nonreactive bowl and toss with salt. Let cabbage sit for a couple hours at room temp. Add all the water, making sure cabbage is covered. Cover and brine at room temp overnight.

Day 2:
Drain the cabbage, rinse it out, and squeeze away any excess moisture.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cabbage and mix with garlic, ginger, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, Sriracha, onions, and carrot. Cover and store at room temp. Check the flavor every few days until you get the fermented flavor you like. Once it's ready, store in an airtight container in your refrigerator.

Korean Kim Chee Fried Rice
Kim Chee has a rotted odor, when cooking with it, expect the aroma to linger.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1/4 pound pork, cut into fine shreds (may substitute diced Spam)
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups cold cooked long grain rice (see note)
2 cups chopped kim chee, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fish sauce or light soy sauce, or to taste
6 fried eggs sunny-side up or over easy (optional)
green onion, chopped for garnish

Heat a wok till the surface is almost smoking. Then add the oil and spread it around till it coats the surface evenly. Temporarily move the wok off the heat and add the garlic, then stir for about 10 seconds. This is to prevent the garlic from burning. Then the pork, move the wok back to the high heat, add two pinches of salt and pepper and toss around for 2 or 3 minutes. Add kim chee and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add the rice to the pan, crumbling any big sticky blocks with your hands to ensure they're all separate, then toss well until heated through. Then add fish sauce or light soy sauce. Stir the mixture around again for another minute. Then taste the rice to check saltiness. Put fried rice, packed in a cereal bowl. To serve, invert the bowl on a plate and top with a fried egg and chopped green onion for garnish. Makes 4 servings.

Note: With any fried rice, the rice should be prepared drier than usual. You can't make fried rice with freshly cooked rice. You need to start with boiled or steamed long grain white rice. The best rice to use is leftover long grain rice that's been lying in the fridge for at least a day. This will turn the grains firm and get rid of the excess moisture. They will also be much easier to separate. If you cook with freshly-made rice, all you will get is "fried mush" instead of fried rice. If you can't wait a day, at least let the rice cool for a few hours in an airy spot. Also, if the wok is not hot enough, your rice grains will start sticking everywhere.

Portagee Bean Soup
10 cups water 
2 large ham hocks (Kualapuu Market has the best hocks on island)
1 tablespoon salt
2 cans kidney beans
1- 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
2- 14.5 ounce cans stewed sliced tomatoes
2 onions, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed (they hold up better in soup)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped 
1 small won bok cabbage, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 pounds Linguisa, or Portagee sausage, chopped and browned
1/4 teaspoon anise
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Combine water, ham hocks, and salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, partially covered for 3 hours. Remove the hocks and remove the bones, return chopped ham hock meat to the stock. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 1 hour. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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