I love vegetables since I was a child and my mom never complaint about it unlike some mothers on their children, except that I was quite skinny although I ate meat. Meat in our younger days tasted much better than what we have now. One of my favourite was Pork Belly in Soy Sauce with Eggs (I stopped eating pork since 1993, when my former employer had their factory and office next door to a pig slaughter house! I started to consume pork again slowly about 8 years ago but not as much as I used to). When comes to vegetables, what I had seen in my days were mostly green, except when comes to chillies, we have white, yellow, red, orange and with aubergines, there are purple, light green and white. Nowadays, we can see colorful cauliflowers, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes... the lots! What a vast choices to put on our tables and feed our families.
With so much varieties and colors of our food, we faced the problems of how to maintain their colors after cooking. Of course, we can eat them raw as salads but certain vegetables need to be cook or at least blanch them for few minutes to make them palatable, especially for children. Besides cooking colorful vegetables, it has to be presentable and taste delicious to encourage children (also adults!) to incorporate vegetables in their diets.
That in mind, I tried the first time to cook Chou Rouge or Red Cabbage/ Purple Cabbage to some countries. Most of the time, I added this beautiful cabbage in salads because the fear of seeing it losing its color (turned into dull blue when cook for long period of time to soften it) put me off from cooking it. Sure, I can always reach out for those bottled or canned Red Cabbage but I prefer to give it a shot before calling it quits! Btw, do you know canned beets are used in most quantity foodservice operations? I do envied those food magazines managed to capture the intense color of this Red Cabbage but when you knew about the tricks of how a dish was photographed to obtain such vibrant colors and shapes, it made me wonder if I should produced photographs of the 'real' results or follow the tricks to make the dish pleasing for the eyes (or acceptable for online food galleries).
I don't have right apparatus or appropriate tablewares to snap gorgeous professional photos and it's not easy when you have an excited toddler tagging with you who just couldn't wait to dip his fingers into the cooked food! Anyway, I decided to post here as it was. It would be great if any foodie friends out there have wonderful tips to share on how to cook Red Cabbage or any colorful vegetables! Experienced foodie photographers are encouraged to share tips and tricks on how to shoot challenging Red Cabbage dishes :-)
Chicken Thighs With Spiced Sour Red Cabbage
½ nos Red Cabbage (Chou Rouge)
200 g White Turnips (Navet)
4 pcs Chicken Thighs
2 Tbls Cooking Oil
½ nos Orange ~ for juice only
4 Tbls Apple Cider Vinegar (or more to taste)
1 tsp Ground Paprika
1 tsp Gound Coriander
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
1. Wash and slice thinly the red cabbage. Peel and grate coarsely the white turnips.
2. Wash the chicken thighs thoroughly and pat dry with kitchen papers. Marinade with some salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside for few minutes.
3. In a large deep pan, heat the cooking oil until it's hot (you will see the oil smokey). Shallow fry the chicken thighs on both sides until golden brown. Dish up and keep them warm in 2 separate plates.
4. In the same pan, add in the sliced red cabbage and white turnip. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
5. Add in the rest of the vinegar, orange juice and grounded spices. If you want, add in some salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and cook for 30 minutes on medium heat.
6. Arrange the chicken thighs on top of the vegetables and cook covered for another 15 minutes in medium heat. Serve hot as it is or with grilled polenta.