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It happens in the best regulated families. Help is at hand. You can serve this as a side dish, but it makes a really interesting alternative to fine noodles.

Weird, huh? Cabbage instead of noodles? Bear with me.

This is based on an Indonesian/Singapore dish called cabbage kudu. It’s yummy.

Here’s what you need

Proportions again, not quantities

A white cabbage, stalked and cut into quarters

Four big cloves of garlic for each cabbage quarter

A small onion per quarter

Oil, or ghee is better. You can get vegetarian ghee these days, if you want, but if you can’t then oil is fine


Ketsup manis

Here’s what you do

Finely shred the cabbage. Really finely. Finer than that. No more than 2 to 3mm thick

Peel and finely shred the onion

Peel and roughly crush the garlic

Add about a tablespoon of oil or ghee to a heavy pan, warm it up, and add the garlic. Stir it up, and cover with the heat well down

Put the onion and cabbage in a colander, wash and drain, but don’t dry it. That way you won’t need to add any water

Turn up the heat, and mash the garlic with a wooden spoon into a sludge

Turn the heat up, and add the onion/cabbage mix and half a teaspoon of salt. Stir well, turn the heat down, cover and leave it for four minutes. All you’re trying to do is sweat the vegetables down in the garlicky oil/ghee

Check the vegetables. Too much liquid? Turn the heat up for no more than a minute

Put the cabbage in a warmed serving dish, form a well, splash some ketsup manis over the cabbage, and add whatever you would have added to your noodles.

A variant

If you decide to do this as a side dish, you can get away with cutting the cabbage and onion more roughly and cooking it for a bit longer. You could also add a teaspoon of curry powder when you stick the cabbage in the pan. Cheating, but that’s what cooking’s all about