Coconut Milk Braised Cabbage

We went skiing to Vermont a couple weekends ago. Scratch that. Let me start again. Friends went skiing to Vermont a couple weekends ago, I tagged along for the Vermont, anddid very little skiing, if you want to even call it that. After a few previous failures (picture screaming, crying, and cursing why slowly crawling down a frozen mountain), I was mature enough to know that limiting my time on the slopes to a few hours would be the best thing to do for both my own, my husband’s, and our marriage’s interests.

I had a fine time slipping and sliding, “mastering” the intricacies of the bunny slope, by risking the integrity of my legs by attaching them to two slippery metal sticks.

Indeed it was fine. Just like a mediocre bar of chocolate is fine: tasteless and uninteresting. After such trauma, I spent the afternoon recovering with a glass of wine, a warm oven, and a tray full of roasting vegetables.  I know I am being a bit dramatic here, but who can blame me? Seasons have only been a part of the later third of my life, I am hard wired to love the sun and its beams, not its shadow and the snowy trails it leaves behind.

As it might already be evident, winter, and all the activities that surround it, is not my thing. You can keep your coats, sleds, and skis; I’ll trade you the sun. You can keep your potatoes, legumes, and preserves; I’ll have a fresh, green harvest that tastes like spring, summer, and fall!

And when March gives you nothing but cabbage, make it sunny and bright, as if it had spent its days basking in warm weather, transferring back all the heat you might need to fight through these last few days of snow and wintry mix.

This post was inspired by a recipe I discovered while reading Molly Wizenberg’s, A Homemade Life. Halfway through the book, Molly describes cabbage as a hardened thing that, with a little help from braising, becomes bewitching. Just like winter, cabbage can be transformed into a crave-able delight. With a little help from, in this case sunny spices and tropical flavors, cabbage, too, can become a bowl of sunshine. Molly’s recipe calls for cream and butter, and since neither agrees with me, I opted for coconut oil and milk.  Infused with lots of turmeric, ginger, and garlic this recipe is inherently winter-ish, though spring-ish at heart.  

Coconut Milk Braised Cabbage

Serves 2-3

 Cook time, about 35 minutes

  • 1-tablespoon coconut oil
  • ¼ red or green cabbage
  • 3-4 baby bok choy
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1-inch knob fresh ginger, grated
  • 1-teaspoon turmeric
  • 1-cup coconut
  • Pinch salt
  • Handful walnuts, roughly chopped
  • Handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Peel away any bruised, outer cabbage leaves. Trim ends and wash under running water. Slice quarter of a cabbage and bok choy into vertical halves. Mince garlic and grate ginger. Set aside until ready to use.

Place a heavy pot, such as a cast iron over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of coconut oil. Heat for three to five minutes. Oil should be hot. To test the oil’s temperature, add a piece of cabbage, if it sizzles, it is ready! Place cabbage, cut-side down and cook for five minutes, flipping once. Edges should be golden and cabbage should have started to wilt. Remove from pan and set aside. Place bok choy in pot and cook for three minutes, turning once. Set aside. Add ginger, garlic, and turmeric to the pot. Reduce heat to low. Stir for about a minute. Aromatics should be fragrant! Add coconut milk and a generous pinch of salt. Stir. Add cabbage and bok choy back to pan. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.  When ready to serve stir in walnuts and cilantro. Serve over your favorite grain, such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat, or millet. Devour!