This is a simple, inexpensive salad that is tasty and extremely healthy. It comes to me from a Russian friend, Andrey. Being somewhat prejudice, I can't help think that a gentleman from
Siberia must have the final word on all things cabbage.
The first time I made this I picked up a bottle of organic sunflower oil and disappointed Andrey. The oil was refined, meaning all the impurities (and flavor) were missing. The salad was still a true winner, but for the second attempt, Andrey took me to "Yasha from Russia" (a Russian market in Phoenix) to get unrefined sunflower oil (yes, with a one year shelf life and sediment on the bottom). Pure divinity!
Makes 10 servings (about 4 ounces each). 45 calories per serving.
Large head of cabbage (mine yielded 1.5 pounds cabbage)
4 teaspoons salt
2 T unrefined sunflower oil
(if you can't get this, then toasted sesame oil would be tasty as well)
2 cucumbers (about a pound) This is optional, but they add a nice touch.
Shred the cabbage as finely as you can.
Mix the salt in and let it sit for about an hour. The salt "cooks" the cabbage and when you come back in an hour you will notice that the cabbage has "shrunk" and alost looks like you steamed it.
Use a low seed variety of cucumber or slice the cucumber in half and scoop out the seeds. There is no need to peel the cucumbers, but you can if desired.
Then slice the cucumber into slivers so that it resembles the shape of the cabbage shreds. This is just a trick I learned when I was a prep cook for a Chinese restaurant. All the vegetables in a dish should match in shape. For instance, in Kung Pao Chicken, where the meat is cubed, the carrots, onions, and bell peppers are also sliced into squares or cubes. If you are using beans or snow peas, the carrots are made into oblong slices to match. Since we shredded the cabbage, we won't want to cube or mince the cucumbers instead we will want slivers or shapes more rectangular in appearance.
Mix the cucumbers with the cabbage and chill. This is a salad that becomes better with age, so make up ahead of time. A great option for a potluck!