Now, I know some of you may be a little hesitant about this dish, whether it’s the cabbage or the fusion, but Eddie recommended this to me a month ago, and I finally got around to making it. WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG!??! (It was the fusion…wasn’t quite sure whether I was even going to like it or not.) But first, I need to make a quick disclosure. There are mushrooms in this recipe (from Bon Appetit)…and I don’t do mushrooms, SO…the recipe I made could very possibly be nowhere near what BA was hoping for…but it was really, REALLY tasty! So I’m not upset at my choice to replace mushrooms with leeks. Yup! You read that right! Leeks. Maybe not the most classically Asian ingredient, but it’s what I had in my fridge and so instead of throwing in regular white onion, I decided to take a gamble on this move, and frankly, I think it paid off! LEEKS FOR THE WIN!
But seriously, sure, you’re using tortillas (because mu-shu wraps aren’t really an accessible item at my grocery store), but the rest of this is total stir-fry and it was the perfect balance of salty, earthy, spicy, and just a hint of sweet from the cabbage and leeks. It was a really easy weeknight meal to throw together and the leftovers heat really well next day, making it an easy go-to for lunch at the office! I even topped it off with some siracha for an extra kick, and it was just the right amount of heat to give it that sizzle without completely burning my mouth off.
I think what it could use, just a little bit of an added crunch factor though: water chestnuts. I love these in my Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and I think the added sweetness would play nicely with the added spice, plus then you’d get that awesome crunch! I also think, instead of tortillas, you could use butter lettuce cups to add an extra note of freshness. I think that’s what I really like about this recipe, and most recipes that I adapt and work from in general. I like the open-endedness of it, the idea that, while it’s great as is right now, there are ways I can see it going to the next level in terms of depth or texture. I think you could very easily sub out the leeks for onions (would probably align itself more accurately with the asian flavor profile), but you could also add in carrot (crunch, freshness, sweetness) or pair it with some steamed bok choy, and you can totally change the meat up from pork/sausage to beef or chicken…heck I think shrimp would work with this too! I just love the possibilities it offers, and I think I’ve been touching on that a lot recently, how recipes have a good base to build up/out from in a way that suits your tastes better.
So I say this, take a stab at making this recipe first as it is, and then, if you think some of the other options I mentioned above might work better, try it out! I know I will be revisiting this recipe again and trying it in a different format (maybe with rice rather than a wrap or with soba noodles, which I LOVE!). I definitely enjoyed eating this as a taco, but I think it was meant for grains instead…but that will have to wait for another time! Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone! As I have learned, that’s where a lot of really wonderful things arrive from! — Cooking Maggie