Red Cabbage: My Winter and Summer versions

Posted: November 29, 2010 in Food, Vegetarian
Tags: , ,

I was listening to the radio one weekend, and there was Marco Borsato, a Dutch singer and actor, singing this very vibrant song “Rood ” or Red in English.

What a coincidence, because I had a red cabbage in my fridge.  Believe you me, I had never cooked red cabbage before that, so that was a premier. I think, most, if not, all of us associate red cabbage with winter.  Since winter was dawning on us, I thought, “why not”.

Unfortunately, red cabbage is the least versatile of all cabbages. There’re probably one to three ways of cooking or preparing the red cabbage.  I noticed most of the recipes in recipe books or the internet are almost always identical, with only marginal differences in the usage of some spices . I will show you the two-seasoned red cabbage I made recently. My Winter and Summer versions.

I love the red purplish colour of the red cabbage.  It’s packed with Vitamins A and C. The following is a quote from a medical book I read about red cabbages, “the red cabbage is loaded with glucosinolates — so-called “indirect antioxidants” which trigger a cascade of the body’s own natural detoxification enzymes, with benefits that linger for days. Unlike the pale green cruciferous veggies, the vibrant red cabbage is also imbued with the same anthocyanins that give berries their vibrant hues. These direct antioxidants do their own clean-up work: Neutralizing harmful free radicals and flushing them from your system. Anthocyanins are credited for blueberries’ memory boosting benefits, as well as the heart health effects of red wine.In addition to filling you up with fiber and water content, red cabbage’s anthocyanins may also support weight loss by increasing your body’s production of two hormones: adiponectin (fat-burning) and leptin (appetite-suppressing)”.  Unquote.  Tell me, how can you not want to try this vegetable?

My Winter Version


Half Red Cabbage

1 large Onion


Bay Leaf

4 lumps Sugar (white or brown)

Honey (to taste)

250 ml Water (or vegetable stock)

2 Apples (I used Jonagold)

Butter (or Olive Oil)

Balsamic Vinegar (to taste)

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Some recipes included cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon stick, juniper berries and other spices, but I prefer to eliminate these ingredients in my first attempt, because I want to appreciate the goodness and true flavours of the red cabbage.  That’s right….Less is More!

The visual ingredients –


1. Slice  the red cabbage very thinly.  Use a mandoline, if you have one.  I cut my red cabbage with a kitchen knife, so they were pretty uneven as you can see 🙂  Set this aside.

2. Cut the onion in half and slice thinly. Put some butter (or cooking oil) in a cooking pot or casserole and saute the onion, until they are fragrant and turned translucent.

3. Toss in the red cabbage.

4. Add in thyme, bay leaf, sugar, honey and water (or vegetable stock)

5. Simmer on low to medium heat with lid on for about 45 minutes.  Check every 10 minutes that the cabbage do not burn or get too dry. It is essential to have the lid on the pot as this will keep the cabbage moist. Check the texture of the cabbage, which should be soft. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Cut the apples in cube, leaving the skin on.

7. The last things to add are the apples and balsamic vinegar.  The red cabbage must have the right balance of sweet and sour.

8. It is important at this stage to cool the cabbage, so you need to remove the pot from the stove immediately, otherwise you will end up with an overly sour braised cabbage. I placed my pot on a cooling rack like so.

9. Serve your braised red cabbage with pork chop or any game dishes.  It’s winter, so why not?

My Summer Version

This is probably my favourite version of the red cabbage dish. The red cabbage coleslaw. “Coleslaw” is originated from the Dutch words “kool “, meaning cabbage and “sla“, meaning salad.

You need the following ingredients –

One quarter Red Cabbage

1 Orange (you need the zest of half the orange, but the juice of the entire orange)

Half a Lemon (you need both the zest and juice)

1 Apple (use half first during the marinating process and then half before serving)

Olive oil

1 Shallot

1 medium Carrot

Balsamic Vinegar (to taste)

Honey (to taste)

Salt & Pepper (to taste)

The visual ingredients –

1. Put all the ingredients together – grated red cabbage, carrots, shallots, half of the cubed apples (skinned), zests of half an orange and lemon.

2. Prepare the dressing, combining the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, juice of one orange and half a lemon, honey, salt and pepper.  Toss in the grated mix.

3. Refrigerate the coleslaw for at least one hour.  Before serving, toss in the last half of the cubed apples.

4. Here was my first attempt in making the red cabbage coleslaw served with potato salad and mixed grill.  A scrumptious meal and a big hit in my family.  A recipe that I will re-visit time after time 🙂

Oh by the way, here’s the song, “Rood ” from Marco Borsato.  I hope you enjoy listening to his song and will also be inspired to try my ‘adapted’ Red Cabbage recipes 😉

Have a great week!

Ciao and see you soon xxx

  1. Both dishes are good accompaniment to grilled or braised meats. The summer version looks pretty with the carrots. I normally just do a stir-fry with other vegetables, leaving it slightly crisp.

  2. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, I like my summer version, too 🙂

    Oh, I didn’t know red cabbage can be THAT versatile, I mean in stir-fry’s! I know that red cabbage must have some amount of acidity in it to retain it’s vibrant red/ purplish colour, otherwise, it’ll turn blue? I would love to have red cabbage stir-fired in belacan, if it doesn’t turn blue 😀

    How’s the outcome of your stir-fry? I’m learning everyday….

  3. Sandy says:

    I love your summer version, too! I think I can have this coleslaw all year round. They’re so good and yours looks pretty with the apples.

  4. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Sandy. My first attempt… not bad, eh? 😉

  5. Sandy says:

    Absolutely! You’re very talented 🙂

  6. Lam says:

    I like crunchy salad. I’ve made this once before and I liked it. Thanks for reminding me to make it again..hahahhaa..

  7. dada says:

    beautiful dish. I love cabbage. I reckoned che should publish a resipi book. Iv tasted your cooking, and i must say you’re fusion style is wonderful and tasty. Keep it up che. Mom and i really missed your cooking a lot.

  8. Nasifriet says:

    The red cabbage coleslaw gives a nice “crunch”. I like it that way, too.

    Sorry for the late reply.

  9. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Da. Sorry for the late reply. Have not been blogging for a while. Have been so busy at work 😦
    You know you shud try making this red cabbage coleslaw. It’s simply deliciious, but I know mum will have a hard time munching this salad 🙂

    When I first bought the red cabbage, I was thinking of stir-frying it with belacan, then I read that red cabbage needs a certain amt of acidity to retain its red/ purple colour, otherwise, it’d turn blue. YIKES! Maybe, I WILL go against all odds and try it out the next time! LOL!

  10. Sharon Moh says:

    I love the colours with the red cabbage! I’ve never used it in stir fry and it looks great with the apples!

  11. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Sharon.

    I’ve never tried stir-frying red cabbage myself, maybe you should give it a go and let me know the result?? 😉 I just read that the red cabbage will turn blue if there is not enough amount of acidity in it. Hmmmm…..not so keen in eating blue veg. Haha..

    Love your blog (and your mum’s, too). You write very well. Will definite drop by time after time… See ya!

  12. Angeline says:

    🙂 just letting you know that I check in once a while. I enjoy your blog. Early Christmas wish to you and family.

  13. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Angeline!

    December is a rather busy month. And with the cold, cold weather to boot, it’s a double damper 😦
    I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season. Happy Christmas and God bless xxx

  14. The red cabbage turns to a nice light purple/magenta color. It is quite pretty. You can take a look at it in this post

    A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

  15. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks for sharing the post, Biren. What a lovely way to add colours to your meal 😛

    Here’s wishing you all the joys of the season. Wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and all good wishes for the New Year!

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