There has always been a saying in northern China that “No other vegetable is as good as the cabbage.”
In the cold winter, cabbage is the most common fresh vegetable on the dining table. Cabbage is rich in nutrients and antioxidants that nourish the five internal organs, according to both traditional Chinese medicine and modern medicine, which has shown cabbage to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and have anti-cancer effects.
To make this lotus cabbage recipe, the core of the cabbage head is cut into the shape of a flower. Once bone broth is poured over it, the core opens up into the shape of a lotus flower that is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the stomach. This is the lotus version of a traditional Sichuan dish of steamed cabbage in bone broth.
Lotus Cabbage Recipe
⅓ Chinese cabbage
50g green onions, cut into 1-inch-long pieces
2 litres bone broth
2 skinless chicken breasts
50ml cooking wine
0.5g white pepper
8g table salt
3 goji berries for garnish
Cut about two-thirds of the top off the cabbage, and reserve for the next recipe—red pink jade dumplings. On the remaining lower portion, remove the old leaves of the outside layers, leaving about half the thickness of the original cabbage. Put in a pot of water and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium and cook 3 more minutes. Remove and rinse with cold water, then squeeze to remove excess water. Use scissors to cut the leaves into triangles to resemble flower petals.
Add 500 grams of water to the chicken breast, then use a food processor to create a purée. Stir in the green onions and cooking wine, and let soak.
Bring the bone broth to a boil. Pour the puréed chicken into the broth and bring to a boil again over high heat. Turn to low, and, stirring in one direction, skim off the boiled foam. Add 100ml of cold water and repeat the above action. After the soup becomes clear, turn off the heat, filter it, skim off the oil, and retain the broth only.
Season the hot bone broth with salt, white pepper, and sugar. Add the boiled cabbage to the soup in a steamer. When it reaches a boil and starts to generate steam, cover it and steam for 5 minutes. At this time, the lotus flower will be in full bloom. Garnish with goji berries and serve.
To bring this lotus cabbage recipe to its full potential, you can add one more step: Carefully take out the steamed cabbage, put it into an empty container, and close the leaves so the leaf petals are up like a flower bud. When you’re ready to serve, slowly pour the hot soup onto the cabbage, and the leaf petals will bloom instantly, creating a delightful visual effect.
If you enjoyed this recipe, try our other dishes inspired by traditional Chinese cuisine.