If you’ve ever eaten kimchee in a Korean restaurant, it was probably made with napa. In Korea, they take this appetizer item very seriously, packing it with salt and chili peppers in ceramic jars and storing it underground for months, until fermentation is complete.
But napa is good to use in many ways. Use it in stir-frys, with salad greens and cole slaws.
Also known as Chinese cabbage or celery cabbage, napa is similar to bok choy. Napa is mild and sweet, almost like a celery-lettuce and can be eaten raw. It seems to have an affinity for garlic and ginger, or maybe that’s just me.
Here is a great introduction to napa: a quick and easy to prepare chicken stir- fry using napa.
Sweet and Sour Chicken serves 4
2 cups of steamed rice
1 Tablespoon oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cubed
1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
4 green onions, sliced OR 1 onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, any colour, chopped
4 cups napa cabbage, shredded, or sliced very thinly
1 can of sliced water chestnuts, drained (8 ounce can)
2/3 cup sweet and sour sauce
2 teaspoons of cornstarch ONLY IF using commercial sweet and sour sauce
Take the chicken and wipe dry and put in a bowl. Sprinkle a tablespoon of cornstarch all over the cubes and massage in with your hands. This will insure tenderness.
Use commercial sweet and sour sauce OR make your own:
1/3 cup of vinegar
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
1-teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch stirred into 4 teaspoons of cold water
Mix everything but the cornstarch and water to the boil. Stir up the cornstarch and cold water and add to the boiling mixture stirring. When thick is done.
While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a skillet or wok to medium hot. Add the chicken and shake the pan. Stir to separate the chicken and throw in the carrots, bell pepper and onion. Stir about 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
Now put in the napa and water chestnuts. Cook 1 minute. Add your thickened sweet and sour sauce to the skillet. Cook and stir for a few moments.
Serve over rice. How easy is that, yet good groceries with that leafy green vegetable. So try it already.