the magic of dehydration: braised napa cabbage with dried shrimp and mushroom

by Chen

Dehydration is just a fancy saying of dryness.

That’s not gonna be nice in general. If you have dry skin like me, a possible problem might be that it’s not easy to find a foundation that lasts whole day without being flaky, which can be frustrating. Recently, I think I’ve found one; do you?

However, let’s come back to food. To me, dried ingredients sometimes seem more attractive (and easier to store).

Grapes or raisins? Raisin.

Tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes? Sun-dried.

And if you are familiar with Chinese cuisine, you should have noticed that we use a lot of dried stuff: dried fish, dried ham, dried lily, dried seaweed, dried fungal/flat mushroom, dried mustard greens, and such.

Today’s dish calls for two dried pantry stables in most Chinese families: dried shrimp and dried mushroom. If you have never tried these two and do not hate seafood, give them a try. Hopefully, you will find how deeper in taste they render compare to the fresh ones.

braised napa cabbage with dried shrimp and mushroom
Makes 4-6 servings

1 lb napa cabbage, shredded
8 dried mushrooms, soaked in about 1/2 to 1 cup water overnight with soaking water reserved
1/4 cup dried shrimp, rinsed and soaked overnight
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 inch cube fresh ginger, sliced
2 green onions, white and green parts separate then thinly sliced

1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup cooking wine
1 1/2 chicken broth
1/2 heaping tsp sesame oil

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, and white parts of the green onions with a pinch of salt to the pan. Stir until softened.

Add cabbage to the pan and saute gently. When the cabbage turns translucent and starts to wilt , add cooking wine, broth, and 1/4 cup mushroom soaking water to the pan, followed by dried shrimp and mushroom.

Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat back to medium-high. Let it simmer until the cabbage gets tender, about 15-20 minutes. Adjust the salt to taste.

Turn off the heat and stir in sesame oil and the green part of the green onions. Serve warm.