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Cabbage with Ginger Cream and Numbing Oil

8 February 2021

I love leafing through Ottolenghi’s cookbooks, this is one of the recipes I came across. I started by making the numbing oil, wow such amazing flavours! It tastes a lot like my Chili oil, but this one is with sautéed shallots, garlic and tomato paste, packed full of flavour.

For the ginger cream, I’ve seen the technique come by in other recipes: grate the ginger and then squeeze out the juice, discarding the pulp. What a flavour bomb! None of the stringy fibers, but all the warm and spicy ginger flavour. I’m definitely using ginger like this again!

The ginger cream is made with cream cheese, so it’s pretty heavy, but perfect together with the spicy cabbage, and perfect to scoop up with some fresh flat bread.

Usually I tweak recipes to my own liking, but this one I kep as is, as it already looked amazing after reading it, recipe from Ottolenghi.

Cabbage with Ginger Cream and Numbing Oil

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Lunch, sides, finger food
By Ottolenghi Serves: 4-6 as a side
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 50 g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 200 g cream cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1 pointed cabbage, tough heart cut out, leaves separated and torn into manageable size
  • 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • Pepper & Salt to taste
  • Numbing Oil
  • 150 ml vegetable or peanut oil
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 10 g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 red chili, finely chopped
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tbsp paprika powder (See notes)
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1.5 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, roughy crushed
  • 1,5 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds


Numbing oil


Heat 2tbsp of oil in a small sauce pan and add the shallots, medium-high heat. ± 1 minute.


Add the next ingredients: garlic, ginger, chili, star anise, paprika powder, chili flakes and Szechuan peppercorns.


Fry very gently for 5 minutes until the onion and garlic has softened.


Add the tomato paste and the sesame seeds, cook for another 2 minutes.


Stir in the remaining oil and let simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.


If cooking too fast, take off the heat now and then.


Leave to cool and infuse for at least half and hour before using.

The Ginger Cream


Press the grated ginger through a fine-mesh sieve or just squeeze well with your hands, squeezing as much juice out as possible. Should be about 2 tbsp. Discard the pulp.


In a large bowl add this to the cream cheese, garlic and lime (or lemon) juice.


Whisk together until smooth, taste and season to your liking.

The Cabbage


Bring a large pot of well-salted water to the boil and blanch the cabbage leaves for 2-3 minutes until wilted.


Remove from the pan and pat dry with paper towels.


Set aside to cool.

Plating up


Spread out the cream cheese mix on a large platter.


Divide the cabbage leaves over the cream cheese.


Drizzle over 3 tbsp of the oil and 1 tbsp of the aromatics at the bottom of the oil.


Serve straight away!


Ottolenghi uses red bell pepper flakes, but I don't have that

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    February recipes | Superprima
    5 February 2023 at 21:18

    […] Cabbage with Ginger Cream and Numbing Oil […]

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