I really wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to tell you about this thing I’ve been doing lately, because I feel a little scandalous about it.
Just know from the off that this is not a healthy version of crispy seaweed, this is me doing everything I can to replicate crispy seaweed so that I can have a little taste of a Chinese takeaway without spending £20 on one meal out of desperation.
What I’m doing right now is trying to defend myself in advance, can you tell?
I guess the most important thing to know is: I’m not using seaweed. I’m also not convinced that my local Chinese use seaweed either, but that’s another conversation for another day. I used cavalo nero. Not for any specific reason other than its availability in my house.
When chopped really fine, it crisps up beautifully in the pan. And that’s all I’m looking for in my crispy “seaweed”, something crispy and green with plenty of salt and sugar.
Here is where I suppose I have to tell you that I add sugar. A teaspoon of granulated sugar at the end of cooking. That’s what makes it taste like what I get from Swallow House, and I’m OK with that. I will dutifully accept the barrage of hatred that may be swung my way as a result.
Now I’ve gotten that out of the way, I guess I can probably just get on and give you the recipe.
For one small portion (just scale up if you’re feeding more people or nursing a particularly hungry hangover)
3-4 leaves cavalo nero
pinch sea salt + granulated sugar
- Tear the leaves from their stalks, give them a rinse, lay them on top of each other and roll up like a cigar, tight as you can.
- With a serrated knife, slice as finely as possible – you want those spindly, crispy strands so slicing fine is essential.
- Heat about a tablespoon of oil (I used olive cause it’s what I had) in a non-stick frying pan and cook the cavalo nero on a medium heat. Keep it moving, and add the salt after a couple of minutes.
- Once you’ve reached optimum crispiness, sprinkle a little sugar in there, give it one last toss then serve.
I hope you don’t hate me for adding sugar to cabbage. Please don’t leave. Feel free to reassure me/cyber-stroke my hair and tell me its all OK in the comments.