Sauteed Napa Cabbage

Vegetable Recipes

Sauteed Napa Cabbage

Looking for an easy way to cook vegetables and make them more flavorful? Sauteing is my answer. My mom does it a lot with a variety of veggies like bean sprouts, bitter melon, Napa cabbage, etc. She taught me to cook them with garlic, chili peppers, salt, and a little bit of water. Quick, easy, and tasty.

sliced Napa cabbage

Napa cabbage has been one of my faves to saute. This crunchy and mild cabbage absorbs flavors nicely. It makes a wonderful side to beef, chicken, or fish dishes. (Optional: we could also make the dish more colorful by adding red bell peppers and/or mushrooms.)

Sauteed Napa cabbage with mushrooms

Here’s my recipe to serve two:

  • 1 Napa cabbage, cleaned and sliced (I usually pick a small one, just enough for two)
  • 4 garlic, chopped
  • 4 Thai peppers, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 1 bell pepper, cored and chopped (optional)
  • 1–2 cups of Shiitake mushroom, stemmed and chopped (optional)

Steps:

  • Heat up a medium pan, add oil (over medium heat)
  • Cook garlic and peppers for two minutes
  • Add slices of Napa cabbage and mix with the garlic and chili peppers (add bell peppers and mushroom here too, if using)
  • Add salt, mix. Then add water and cover the pan with a lid.
  • Let it cook for five minutes until the it simmers. (The cabbage will release its moisture and wilt. But, it will still be a bit crunchy even after cooking.) Taste and add salt if necessary.
  • Serve while it’s still hot

Thanks for reading!

Stuffing Bell Peppers with Leftover Chicken Cutlets and Stir-Fry Tofu and Vegetables

Baking, Poultry Recipes, Vegetable Recipes

I wonder if more people cook at home these days. With a plethora of cooking blogs, books, and TV channel and programs that we have, do you think they attract more people to cooking? Convert cooking non-believers into aficionados? Raise an interest in trying different recipes, maybe?

Chicken, Tofu, Vegetable Stuffed Bell Peppers by Tiny Chili Pepper

I won’t lie, cooking takes a lot of time and energy. We all know that it starts WAY before the actual cooking itself, right? Planning a meal, coming up with an idea for a menu, (in my case, it just means asking myself, “What should I cook tonight?”) is the hard part for me. Once I figure it out though, things just seem to happen— almost like moving on an automated-pilot mode. So in my situation, inspiration matters. Hence the collection of cook books, the email subscription to cooking blogs, the food talks with friends and family, and the occasional tune in to cooking programs on TV. I am thankful for the existence of this recipe universe that I have.

Stuffed Bell Pepper with Chicken, Tofu, Vegetables, Breadcrumbs by TCP

Speaking of recipe idea, I came across a good one the other day: Stuffed Bell Pepper by Giada De Laurentiis. In this recipe, she stuffed the peppers with eggplants, olives, capers, and tofu. Tofu! Ha! An idea appeared. I happened to have made stir-fry tofu with broccoli and green peas the previous day. Got some baked chicken cutlets too. (At this point, the tofu and vegetables have absorbed all of the flavors: garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil). So I decided to combine the two leftovers, pulse slightly in a food processor, add a little bit of a good salsa sauce, stuff it into roasted bell peppers, and add some breadcrumbs on top. Yum! Such a nice way to use up all of my leftovers.

Here’s how I did my Chicken, Tofu, and Vegetables Stuffed Bell Pepper:

For the Stir-Fry Tofu and Vegetables:

  • 1 extra firm tofu (pressed to drain and then cut into squares with ½ inch thickness). I found out later that the tofu bound the stuffing together nicely. It’s pretty great!
  • 2 cups of broccoli (cut into bite size)
  • 1 cup of green peas
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet soy sauce (optional)
  • 4 garlic (chopped)
  • 4 Thai peppers (chopped)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

I cooked the garlic and peppers in sesame oil for two minutes. Then I added soy sauce, fish sauce, peas, broccoli, water, salt, and pepper. Covered the pan with a lid for three to five minutes. Once the sauce started to simmer, I arranged my tofu slices in the pan to make sure that they could absorb the sauce on the bottom of the pan. Covered the pan again and let it cook for another five minutes.

For the chicken cutlet: see Mark Bittman’s recipe here. (I used chicken breast, olive oil, a little bit of dijon mustard, breadcrumbs, and baked for 15 minutes.)

Stuffing the Bell Peppers:

  • 3 red bell peppers (halved and cored)
  • Drizzled with olive oil
  • Roasted for 30 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Combined chicken cutlets and tofu with vegetables, pulsed very slightly in a food processor, added a good salsa sauce (optional, I wanted to add a little bit of spicy tomato and pepper taste in the stuffing), scooped into the bell peppers, sprinkled breadcrumbs, and broil for 2 minutes. (Might want to move the oven rack down, further from the broiler before starting. My topping was a bit burnt there, oops…Still very good though!).

Hope you like it and thanks for stopping by!

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Pepper

Vegetable Recipes

Whoever invented stuffed vegetables was a creative genius. The compact goodness, with plentiful stuffing choices, makes a great meal. I have a list of stuffing and vegetables that I’d like to pair together. But this week the mood for a good cheesy, creamy,  either grain or pasta based, stuffing was heightened. So the search for the right ingredients began.

Curiosity led me to try quinoa for my vegetable stuffing base. I have heard about the grain a lot but have never tried it before. So I had to see what the excitement was all about. I grabbed a small bag of quinoa from the market and learned from the back of it that the grain makes a great substitute for rice and couscous. Right there and then, my cooking planning process began. I stood in the produce aisle, totally switched off from my surrounding, meditating on my next steps. An image of stuffed red bell peppers entered my mind. Next I imagined mixing the cooked quinoa with unsalted butter, light shredded mozzarella, halved grape tomatoes, onions, and a little bit of chop parsley. Then I visualized stuffing the mixture of quinoa into the bell peppers and liking the end result. Here’s the product of my food meditation 🙂

The real cooking process was as easy as I had pictured it in my mind. And even better, the result was as tasty as I had hoped for. Quinoa’s subtle nutty flavor and soft crunchy texture pair well with the sweet  and tender red bell peppers and tomatoes and with the savory cheese. I imagine the grain would be great in different styles of cooking too. Ideas already pop up in my head for the next quinoa-based meal. I’ll be sure to write them down and give them a try. More to come later!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • ¼ chopped onions
  • A handful of halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 2 handful of light shredded mozzarella
  • 3 red bell peppers (remove the top and the seeds)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a small pot, cook 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of chicken stock. Stir and bring to boil. Close with a lid and let cook for 20 minutes (I followed the cooking instruction on the bag).
  • After 20 minutes, turn the heat off, add butter and stir until it melts
  • Add the shredded mozzarella
  • Add the grape tomatoes, onions, parsley, salt, and pepper into the mixture and mix well
  • Scoop the mixture and fill up the bell peppers
  • Top with a little bit more of mozzarella
  • Using your fingers, coat the outer part of the pepper with a little bit of olive oil
  • Place the stuffed bell peppers on a baking dish, add a little water on the bottom of the dish (like two tablespoon of water). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the bell peppers become a bit wrinkly and soft.