When I was in Beijing, China for a year to learn mandarin, I went through a phase of eating lots and lots of napa cabbage, either fresh or in kimchi form. I don't eat as much of them now as I did then, but they are still my favourite vegetable.
So, why do I love this vegetable so much? Napa cabbage, or wombok, has this natural sweetness that I really like. Unlike other cabbages, the napa variety does not smell funny (normal cabbage), nor does it taste bitter (brussels sprout).
It's also a versatile vegetable. You can eat it raw, in a stir fry, or even perhaps steam it. But, by far, my most favourite way to eat it is in a soup. I love the freshness of the vegetable and the lightness of the soup, cooling down the palate.
This is another non-recipe because of how easy it is. Nothing better as a healthy snack or light lunch than sweet wombok in clear chicken soup, with prawn balls and delicate vermicelli.
- 4 leaves of napa cabbage
- 5 prawns
- 100g vermicelli
- 500mL of chicken stock
- 1 tbsp of all purpose flour
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- salt, white pepper to taste
- I made the chicken stock previously and froze it in containers. I'd thaw them whenever required. How I do my chicken broth is by simmering chicken drumsticks with celery, carrots and spring onions. Simple, clean flavours.
- Mince the prawns finely, add the 1 tbsp of flour and check the consistency. It should be quite firm and sticky. If not, add another 1 tbsp of flour. Season with a pinch of salt and white pepper.
- Use two teaspoons to work the prawn mince into small balls, roll them onto some flour, shake the excess flour.
- Cut the cabbage into 4 cm wide pieces.
- Soak the vermicelli in cold water.
- Bring the stock to the boil, and add the garlic. Boil until garlic is soft.
- Drop the prawn balls into the stock slowly. They'll float when they're cooked.
- Add the cabbage into the stock, cook for a minute or two. Then add the vermicelli, it only takes a few seconds for my vermicelli to cook. Season the stock with salt and white pepper to taste. Serve immediately.