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Spicy Napa Cabbage Noodles

These noodles are an Asian twist on the Hungarian Cabbage Noodles I grew up eating. Unlike the Hungarian version, this dish uses rice noodles and gets its primary flavor from a dressing, but it still delivers the comfort food qualities of the original. These noodles are a perfect summer side dish because they're best served at room temperature. I served them with Indonesian-Style Flank Steak.

Spicy Napa Cabbage Noodles

Spicy Napa Cabbage Noodles

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 medium head napa cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic - divided
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger - divided
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 oz package of flat rice stick noodles
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or sake
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions

Preparation:
Separate the leaves on the napa cabbage, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Stack a few leaves at a time and rough chop them into strips about 3/4-inch by 2 inch. You may have to slice the leaves lengthwise before cutting across.

Soften the noodles in hot water for 15 minutes, then plunge into boiling water for about 45 seconds. Drain and rinse several times in warm water to remove the excess starch. Set aside.

Whisk together the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, rice wine, black vinegar, sugar and sriracha in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat about 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon each garlic and ginger and 1/2 of the chopped napa cabbage. Quickly toss with the garlic and ginger, season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook until slightly softened - 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the cabbage from the pan and set aside. Repeat the process with the remaining garlic, ginger and cabbage.

Place the noodles in a wide, shallow serving dish and pour about 2/3 of the dressing over the top. Toss to coat. Use a pair of tongs to add the stir-fried cabbage to the noodle mixture (in order to leave any liquid it might have given off behind). Combine with the noodles and sprinkle the minced scallions on top. Top with the remaining dressing and serve.

Makes 6 servings

Recipe Notes:
If you don't have Chinese black vinegar, substitute 2 teaspoons Worcestershire plus 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Also, adjust the sriracha to suit your own taste for heat. The amount in the recipe is just a starting point. I probably ended up adding at least twice as much.

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