Caramelized Cabbage with Caraway-Chile Crisp

This stunning vegetarian dish is packed with textures. It pairs succulent seared cabbage steaks, creamy labneh, and smoky chili crisp. The cabbage is marinated with a sparkling Champagne vinegar brine and then steamed to tenderness. It’s then seared until golden brown and caramelized. Choose cabbages with tightly wrapped green leaves and a weight that is large for their size.

The cumin, caraway, and chile seeds provide a warm nuttiness with hints of citrus that complement the dried chiles and spice-infused oil. You will have more than enough for the cabbage. Keep the extra in the refrigerator to spoon over fried eggs, vegetables, or vanilla ice cream. You can find the urfa bifer for the chile crispy online at


Caraway-Chile Crisp

  • Two large (1 1/2-ounce) shallots, roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • Six garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 3/4 cups grapeseed oil
  • Two tablespoons of Aleppo pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • One tablespoon of cumin seeds
  • One tablespoon of caraway seeds
  • One tablespoon coriander seeds
  • One tablespoon of ground Urfa Biber
  • (3/8-ounce) dried guajillo chile, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 (1/8-ounce) dried aji panca chile, stem and seeds removed

Cabbage Marinade

  • 4 cups Champagne vinegar
  • 4 cups cold water
  • Six tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Two tablespoons of kosher salt
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • Four large garlic cloves smashed.
  • 1 (about 3/4-ounce) Serrano chile thinly sliced (2 tablespoons).
  • One small (1/2-ounce) bunch of fresh dill, plus more for garnish

Steamed Cabbage

  • Two large (3-pound) heads of green cabbage
  • Six tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups labneh (see Note)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups Caraway-Chile Crisp (recipe above)
  • Sliced almonds, red onion, mint, basil, and dill for garnish


Crisp up the caraway-chile:

  1. In a food processing machine, pulse shallots until they are finely chopped. This should take about 12 pulses. Add oil to the pot and transfer. Over medium-low heat, cook, whisking frequently, until shallots, garlic, and oil bubbles become smaller and golden brown, approximately 11 minutes. Stir together Aleppo, sugar, caraway, and coriander. Add Urfa biber and aji panca. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer the shallot and garlic mixture into a blender and blend until the peppers are about the same size. This should take 15 seconds. Do not over-process, or the texture will be lost. Allow mixture to cool in a blender for about an hour until it reaches room temperature.

Make the marinade for cabbage:

  1. In a large bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, four cups of water, and salt. Stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Add the ginger, garlic, and serrano chili. Covered, let steep in the refrigerator for at least two hours,  up to twenty-four hours.

While the marinade steeps m,ak e the steamed kale:

  1. Each cabbage should be cut into two planks of 2 inches thick. Salt both sides of the planks.
  2. Pour 1 inch of water into a large pan. Bring the water to a rolling boil on high. Place the cabbage planks into a large steamer and place it over boiling water. Cover the pot and lower heat to medium. Steam until the cabbage is tender to the fork, about 30-40 minutes. Remove cabbage from the steamer basket. Place on a rack inside a baking tray and allow to drain for about 10 minutes.
  3. Place 2 warm planks of cabbage in the marinade. Use a heavy weight (such as a large plate) to submerge the cabbage planks. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Transfer the cabbage to a wire rack and allow it to dry. Repeat the procedure for the remaining 2twocabbage planks.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the labneh with maple syrup. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Preheat oven to 350degF. In a large skillet, over medium-highest two tablespoons of oil in four batches. Sear one cabbage plank for about 5 minutes on each side until it turns golden brown. The best way to achieve an even sear is to use a weight such as a cast iron skillet or burger presses on top of the cabbage. Transfer the cabbage to a large baking sheet with a rim. In a preheated oven, roast the cabbage planks until they are heated through. This should take about 10 minutes. Cut the planks of cabbage in half.
  6. Spread a circle slightly larger than that of a cabbage plank onto each of the right plates. Place a half-cabbage plank on top of the labneh and drizzle 3three tablespoons of crispy caraway chile over each portion. Add almonds, red onion, basil, mint ,and additional dill to the garnish.

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