Baked Rice & Cabbage + Spicy Jackfruit (the Cabbage Chronicles Continue)

This is stick-to-your-ribs winter food of the best possible kind. Be advised however, it leans closer to the comfort food than the crunchy category! And there are a couple of canned and ready-made ingredients which is a true rarity in my kitchen. But sometimes, well, there are exceptions to everything.

While you can make either just the rice and cabbage or the jackfruit, they really work well together. The light, bright and spicy jackfruit offets the sweet, rich and heavy rice bake beautifully. If you’re interested in where the inspiration for these recipes come from read on, otherwise just head below to the ingredient lists and method. The rice and cabbage is a veganized and lower-oil version of the Stewed Cabbage from Fania Lewando’s Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook. I’ve spoken in detail about the cookbook in the post here. While my version does call for a healthy amount of coconut oil, keep in mind that the original asked for a half cup of butter… Moving on to the jackfruit, its pretty much the method used in the carnitas recipe from Chad and Derek Sarno’s Wicked Healthy Cookbook. If you don’t have it already, it’s a worthwhile investment for any vegan – particularly one who cooks for a family of omnivores.

(Note to my Mother before we get to the actual recipes: this is yet another installment of the Cabbage Chronicles to add variety to your lockdown dinner repertoire.)

Yield: 4-6 servings of cabbage & rice (as a side) & 3 servings of jackfruit (as a side)

What you need for the Cabbage & Rice:

  • 2 to 2-1/2 cups cooked brown rice (leftover rice is fine and the amount can vary, the recipe is quite forgiving. I particularly like using short grain brown rice, but any rice will work – even white if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons butter-flavoured coconut oil or refined coconut oil, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed (optional but recommended)
  • 1/8 teaspoon anise seed (optional but recommended)
  • 1/8 teaspoon caraway seed (optional but recommended)
  • 3 cups sliced onions
  • 4 packed cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar (or more salt, to taste)

What you need for the Spicy Jackfruit:

  • 1 can (400mL) organic young Jackfruit in brine, roughly 2 cups of chunks
  • 1 tablespoon Montreal steak spice (preferably a home-made no-salt variety but it’s up to you!)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup unsalted vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • additional salt or tamari to taste (optional)

What you do for the Rice & Cabbage:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle it with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Get in there with your hands and work the salt into the cabbage, wilting it. Let the salted cabbage sit between 10 minutes and an hour before sautéeing (see step 4).
  3. Heat a Dutch Oven or oven-safe heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil and the celery, anise and caraway seeds. Stir once or twice and add the onions. Sauté the onions until they are soft and translucent and just beginning to brown around the edges, lowering the heat as necessary, 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add the wilted, salted cabbage to the pot. Stir to coat in oil and get the onions mixed in. Sauté another 10 to 20 minutes until the cabbage is soft and the vegetables are starting to stick to the bottom, generating lovely golden brown bits.
  5. Turn off the heat, add the rice and the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil and ume plum vinegar if using. Mix so that all the ingredients are mixed together uniformly. Taste, adding more salt if desired. Press the mixture down into an even layer.
  6. Cover the pot tightly and bake, covered, for 25 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, it should smell divine and be golden around the rims of the baking dish.
  7. Serve, with freshly ground black pepper or some fresh dill or parsley.

What you do for the Spicy Jackfruit:

  1. Drain the jackfruit and place it in a bowl or large measuring cup. Toss it with the steak spice and let sit in the fridge, covered, for a couple of hours or overnight before proceeding with the recipe.
  2. In a measuring cup, whisk together the vegetable stock, tomato paste and vegan Worcestershire until smooth. Taste, adding additional salt or tamari if desired – but go easy – this sauce will be cooking down to almost nothing so the flavours will get WAY concentrated.
  3. Heat a saucepan or casserole on medium heat. When hot, add the oil and onion. Sauté the onion until soft and translucent, 5 minutes or so.
  4. Add the jackfruit and sauté until it starts to stick to the bottom, stirring occasionally, another 5 minutes or so. Break the jackfruit up a bit so that its in bite-sized chunks.
  5. Add the liquid from the measuring cup (see step 2). Bring to a boil. Lower heat to maintain a strong simmer. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a thick sauce that coats the jackfruit – 25 minutes or so.
  6. Serve. (Incidentally, this makes a great filling for wraps and sandwiches so it’s worth doubling the recipe to have leftovers!)

Variation :

  • Swing this further East than Europe! For the cabbage and rice: omit the suggested spices and use black rice, red cabbage and virgin coconut oil to make the recipe. For the jackfruit: use curry powder instead of steak spice and 2 tablespoons of red Thai curry paste instead of the Worcestershire sauce.

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