Cashew Milk–Braised Cabbage With Crunchy Chile Oil

May 24, 2021
14 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Serves 3 to 4
Author Notes

Whether you’re braising a meat or vegetable, follow the same simple steps: Sear the main ingredient, sauté some aromatics, add a flavorful liquid, and simmer everything until tender. Here cabbage is deeply charred before braising with cashew milk, ginger, scallions, chiles, and garlic. The cabbage becomes weak in the knees while the cashew milk transforms into a thick pudding, similar to soft tofu or cheese. Don’t be scared of deeply charring the cabbage wedges— rather than tasting acrid, they will grow nutty and sweet. The final garnish of cashew-flecked chile oil cuts through all the richness and adds crunch. This recipe makes more chile oil than you will need (a good thing!). Try the extra over eggs, tossed with noodles, or alongside dumplings.

If you want to have a go at a meaty braise, try this recipe for Garlic-Studded Pork Shoulder With Anchovies & Calabrian Chiles, and learn more about how to braise here so you can gain the confidence to take this recipe off-script. —Sohla El-Waylly

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Cashew Milk–Braised Cabbage With Crunchy Chile Oil
  • Cashew milk
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon MSG (optional)
  • Braised cabbage
  • 8 scallions, thinly sliced (both white and green parts)
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as sunflower, divided
  • 1 small green cabbage (about 2 pounds), quartered
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1-inch pieces ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 3 to 6 medium Thai green chiles, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3-inch cinnamon stick, halved
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 cup dry sake (or white wine)
  • Fried shallots and crunchy chile oil
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup neutral oil
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons gochugaru (or 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon MSG (optional)
  1. Make the cashew milk: Combine the cashews with 2 cups of water and soak for 6 to 24 hours. Drain and rinse. Blend the soaked cashews with 3 cups of fresh cool water, the salt, sugar, and MSG (if using) until smooth, about 1 minute.
  2. Braise the cabbage: Heat oven to 350°F. Reserve a small handful of sliced scallions for garnish.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a high-sided skillet with a lid or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the cabbage wedges cut side down and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook undisturbed until deeply browned, 6 to 7 minutes, occasionally pressing the wedges with a spatula (or another pan) to ensure good contact. Flip the wedges and repeat on the other cut side, seasoning with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and transfer the cabbage wedges to a plate.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet along with the ginger, chiles, scallions, garlic, cinnamon, and coriander. Cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic and the scallions have wilted, about 1 minute.
  5. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the sake, scraping up any brown and black bits that have developed on the bottom of the skillet. Cook until the sake is mostly reduced and the mixture holds a trail when you run a spatula along the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the cashew milk and bring to a bare simmer. Add the cabbage and cover the pan. Braise in the oven until the cabbage is tender and the cashew milk has thickened like pudding, about 45 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, make the fried shallots: In a small pot, combine the shallots and oil. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the shallots are lightly golden brown and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the shallots to a paper towel–lined plate.
  8. Make the chile oil: Add the cashews to the oil and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the gochugaru, salt, sugar, and MSG (if using).
  9. Once the cabbage is tender, garnish with 2 tablespoons of chile oil, all the fried shallots, and the reserved scallion greens. Serve with steamed rice and additional chile oil alongside.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • vegan_millennial
  • Amanda Smith
    Amanda Smith
  • Kerry Anderson Moore
    Kerry Anderson Moore
  • DJ
Sohla El-Waylly is a Food52 Resident, sharing new riffable recipes every month that'll help you get creative in the kitchen. Watch her cook on YouTube in her new series, Off-Script With Sohla. Before she started developing fun recipes for home cooks, she worked as a chef in N.Y.C. and L.A., briefly owning a restaurant in Brooklyn with her husband and fellow chef, Ham El-Waylly. She lives in the East Village with Ham, their two dogs, and cat. Find out what else she's up to on Instagram @sohlae

20 Reviews

DJ December 7, 2023
This is the best thing I've made in a very long time. I did not use msg or make my own Chile Crisp. The cashew milk was a big surprise. The shallots are essential for flavor and crunch. Thank you Sohla!
franny January 10, 2022
This recipe looks amazing! Please don't use MSG though! It is incredibly toxic to your body.
Jennifer February 15, 2022

simoneaktor January 1, 2022
I just made this for new years eve among other dishes. Wow!!! It was delicious! I was prepared to be disappointed because i swapped out some things, but omg it turned out amazing.
I used red cabbage instead of green, hazelnuts instead of cashews, some different chillies, white wine for stock, no cinnamon but bay leave instead, less ginger since I realize I didn't have more left. Also realized i was out of frying oil so for searing, sweating and the fried onion i used neutral coconut oil. The chilli oil was made with olive oil on a bit lower heat. Was sure this would disturb the textures and flavours, but no. The hazelnut was so crunchy and tasty!!!
I'm so happy I could go so much off script but still it turned out amazing and such a great experience to eat. The hazelnut milk didn't turn into pudding but just into a thicker lovely brown sauce.
The crunchy chilli oil and fried onion took it to an amazing level -glad i didn't skip that step.
I'm gonna make this again in so many ways!
Aleelee December 28, 2021
I have to avoid cashews but I'm eager to makebthis. Any recommendations to sub for cashew milk? Coconut would be tasty, I bet, but won't behave quite like cashew. Macadamia milk? Almond milk? Oat milk? Thanks!
LorriU December 18, 2021
Fabulous teacher! Can't wait to try this. I love cabbage and this is a new wonderful thing to do with it!
Jenguin November 28, 2021
I've never been a big cabbage fan, but I trust Sohla absolutely :)

It was magical. I'm going to making this ALL THE TIME now. Don't let the long cooking time scare you, it's mostly soaking the cashews overnight. Making the chili crisp needs monitoring, but everything else is fairly chill--you can totally multitask as the cabbage sears and while the dish is in the oven.

Plus, gluten free without needing any substitutions=happy celiac
Jane April 11, 2021
I subbed chicken stock for the sake and used store-bought unsweetened cashew milk and thickened it up with a bit of cornstarch at the end. Also used LGM chili crisp instead of the chili oil and added some leftover cilantro. It was a pretty quick and easy weeknight meal, will be adding it to my rotation!
vegan_millennial April 9, 2021
I tried this one! So delicious and creamy. Thanks Sohla. for giving me something so different to try!
Brooke March 28, 2021
I love trying Sohla's recipes, they always make me think creatively! For this one I think it came out good, but I may have overcooked the cabbage. The delicious crunch of the fried cabbage disappeared in my braise, but the sauce was good. I was surprised that the cashews could get so creamy.
Amanda S. March 25, 2021
I used this as a template and it was delicious! I followed it pretty closely except that I didn't have cashews so I used coconut milk, and threw in a can of chickpeas while it was braising since I was out of rice to serve it with. (They soaked up a ton of flavor this way!) It didn't thicken since I didn't use cashew milk so I reduced it a bit on the stove and mashed some of the chickpeas up with a fork. I will definitely be making this again, maybe next time with brussel-sprouts.
ggamble March 22, 2021
This was absolutely amazing. I watched the video a few days ago and was thrilled to try this, but it exceeded my expectations. The cashew milk gives the cabbage such a rich and creamy flavor and makes it the star of the dish. I also had no idea how easy it was to make homemade cashew milk! The crunchy onions (I had no shallots, so I subbed a 1/2 yellow onion) and cashew chili oil gave the dish great texture, salt and heat. I will be adding that cashew chili oil to maybe everything now because it is THAT GOOD! The only change that I made is that my sauce was a little thin, because we had to use beer instead of wine or sake and I think it did not cook down as much, so I added a cornstarch slurry at the end which worked perfectly. Thanks always to Sohla for her genius and creativity!!
Sally March 22, 2021
Step 8 of recipe says "Make the chile oil". Definitely, make this chile oil! It takes the cabbage to a new level. Great recipe and now I want to try the pork shoulder. She had me at anchovies.
itscandice March 22, 2021
This dish is amazing! I love recipes that can convert me to a vegetable I didnt care for before. Its very filling and so flavorful, I'm so amazed cabbage can taste like that. I love that Sohla's part of Food52 and I'm so excited for her other recipes!

Kerry A. March 19, 2021
This was one of the most inventive, satisfying, tasty dishes I've ever eaten let alone made. We are not vegans but are open to all good flavors. My husband loved it, especially the crunchy chili oil. We used Gochujang paste and it created this amazing sweet spicy salty crunchy nut toffee bits. I also substituted 2 serranos chiles, and to be honest I should have used more. Hubby says we need to add it to the regular rotation (we like to do vegan once a week) and experiment with different ingredients like Sohla suggested. One last note, I used roasted salted cashews not raw because that's what I could find and it turned out lovely.
Felecia March 12, 2021
This sounds tasty..but is it really a 6.5 hour prep? I copied the recipe but haven't tried it. the prep time is daunting.
Cacc March 12, 2021
The 6 hours are because the cashews need to be soaked for 6+ hours in order to make cashew milk. I soaked mine overnight. I made the cashew milk the next morning and put it in the fridge until I made takes less than 5 minutes to make cashew milk after the nuts have been soaked.
Maxxiboi March 11, 2021
Wonderful, unique, flavor-packed recipe - like nothing I’ve ever had! Loving the flexibility Sohla offers in the video.. go watch if you haven't already.
I only had 1/2 cup of cashews so I:
- Used them all to make the cashew milk, but added 2 cups of water to the soaked cashews in the blender instead of 3, with the same amount of seasoning (subbed 3/4 tsp coconut sugar for granulated sugar & subbed 1 t liquid aminos for the MSG). Then added 1 cup of full fat/guar gum free coconut milk to make 3 cups total.
- Subbed roasted unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped, for the cashews in the chili crisp. Only fried them for ~1.5 minutes since already roasted. Also subbed coconut sugar for granulated in the crisp.
- Served it with jasmine rice and a pickled broccoli stem/cucumber salad with lots of lime juice.
Flavors and textures were amazing, with rave reviews from our dinner table of 3. Because I used that cup of coconut milk, the braising liquid didn't curdle into a pudding-y thing like it was supposed to, but ended up being more like a rich, creamy curry. So yummy, will be making again and riffing endlessly. Thank you for this genius recipe Sohla :)
Felecia March 12, 2021
Was it really 6.5 hours prep? Did you use the MSG? Wonder what happens if you substitute salt for MSG?
Cacc March 9, 2021
I made this for dinner tonight. I expected to like it because I like every ingredient in the recipe.. I did not expect this to be amazing. Well, it’s freaking AMAZING!! My vegan sister is stopping by tomorrow to pick up leftovers.
Sohla is a genius 💕