Chinese Cabbage, Japanese Cat, and a “Frenly” Family Store

Contrary to a popular belief, the ubiquitous Chinese fortune cat is actually Japanese. There are several legends about it, but most agree that it first made its friendly appearance around 17th – 18th century, when Tokyo was called Edo. A samurai was once caught in a rainstorm. Finding shelter under a huge tree, he glanced around and saw a cat frantically beckoning to him from an entrance to a nearby temple. He had the good sense to follow the cat, entered the temple, and watched the tree being struck by lightning. Grateful to the cat for saving his life in the nick of time, he generously endowed the temple. His generosity made the temple, now known as  Gotokuji, prosperous, and when he passed away, a statue was erected in his honor – not of him, but of Menaki Neko, the Beckoning Cat.

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The temple prospered even more when myriads of copies of this original statue started being manufactured and sold as a talisman that brings good luck. You have undoubtedly seen them made of all materials and in all sizes, from key rings to sushi plates, and certainly at the entrances of most Oriental stores, especially Chinese. That’s the reason behind calling it Chinese Fortune cat!

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Another legend, infinitely more humble then the first, places the cat at an entrance to a store whose poor owner could not make ends meet. One day, he shared his meager meal with a hungry stray cat, who was so grateful that it positioned itself at the door, beckoning customers. In a very short time, the shopkeeper became prosperous. The cat, or the statue of it, seems to bring prosperity to the place where it stands. However, lest you think that the size of it is directly proportional to the amount of fortune it attracts, think again! If the left paw is raised, it attracts customers; the right paw attracts money.

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Last year, to celebrate Earth Day, I made the trip to Fort Lauderdale to buy my produce at the the Frenly Farms Market, the largest black-owned grocery store in South Florida. Let me tell you, Beautiful People, had this store been located closer to where I live, I’d have run in there every day!

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Besides the fact that we, as members of that Global Village called Humanity, have an indisputable obligation to support minority initiatives and efforts, I fell in love with this store, with its friendly, truly family atmosphere, with fragrant fresh herbs and luscious organic veggies, with fresh locally sourced fish at ridiculously low prices (of course, I made Ukha!), and the brightly orange giant pumpkins outside. My $14 haul was a full carload! Unfortunately, it is closed now due to Covid 19, but I truly hope that, once the pandemic is over, it will re-open in its full glory.

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I thought that a bursting with freshness head of Napa cabbage – AKA Chinese cabbage – and a huge bag of bean sprouts, each under $1,  combined with ginger and turmeric., would start the Earth Day off properly.

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First, I stir-fried roughly sliced half of a large onion, then added minced ginger and turmeric. Bean sprouts went in next.

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At this point, I added a splash of soy sauce and a pinch of Garam Masala – why not? So what if Garam Masala is Indian, rather than Oriental; we are one Global Village, after all!

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While all this was tossing and turning, I cut my beautiful Napa cabbage into large bites, and, once the bean sprouts softened, added this green goodness to the pan.

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A few more minutes of stir-frying and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for a little crunch, and a cute one-minute video:

This is not my cat, Beautiful People! My Barmalei is completely black, without white socks and shirtfront.

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Here you have it, a beautiful, delicious, and so very healthy side dish, salad, appetizer, or even main dish, if you so desire. My Maneki Neko, gifted by a student, raises both paws. I join it in wishing the Frenly Farms Market and all similar endeavors lots of customers and good fortune! And for those of you, Beautiful People, who do not live in South Florida, you can always find minority enterprises in need of your support. Happy Earth Day from Miami Dade College and the campus where I have been teaching for more than 30 years!

INGREDIENTS

  • I head Napa cabbage, cut into large bite size pieces
  • 3 – 4 loose cups bean sprouts
  • 1 inch ginger,minced
  • 1 inch yellow turmeric, minced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, roughly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Garam Masala to taste (hot pepper can be substituted)
  • Sesame seeds to garnish

PROCEDURE

  • Stir fry onion for a few minutes, until soft and translucent.
  • Add minced ginger and turmeric, stir fry together for 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Add bean sprouts, soy sauce, Garam Masala, toss, stir fry until bean sprouts soften.
  • Add Napa cabbage, toss, stir fry until soft. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Serve hot, warm, or cold.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

68 Comments Add yours

  1. A_Boleyn says:

    I like both those beckoning cat stories and the tasty cabbage dish.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! It really came out good, and when I had leftovers, I mixed it with some precooked cut string beans and stuck it in the oven, and it was also very good.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. https://wp.me/p9n3BQ-1x

             🌲/         🚔|     \
            🌲/          🚔 |      \
          🌲/           🚔  |       \
        🌲/          🚔     |        \
      🌲/         🚔        |         \
    🌲/🚘   *Alpu*            |          \
    ⓖⓞⓞ ⓓ ⓜⓞⓡⓝⓘⓝⓖ ..
    📽
    ..
    ⓙⓐⓨ ⓢⓗⓡⓔⓔ ⓚⓡⓘⓢⓗⓝⓐ.. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good evening here, dear!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice story about the cat. I didn’t know about the Japanese connection. The cabbage looks so fresh and delicious.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, Ronit! Yes, that cabbage looked so good that It just tempted me to throw something together.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reblogging.

      Like

  4. Sapna Dhyani says:

    A treat to the eyes and the cat story is interesting too. You have explained the recipe in such easy steps.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Sapna, and thank you for stopping by!

      Like

  5. Osyth says:

    Both versions are captivating as is your spritzy ritzy side full of world flavours and that market …. oh la la luscious!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I truly wish it were located closer, but my husband goes to that area about once a week, and I can send him there with a list.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow what an awesome presentation and sounds yummy and delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Kamal; I am so glad you like it!

      Like

  7. Asian food is delicious and so healthy and suitable for most any occasion or season. Looks really yummy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, darling; I also love Asian food!

      Like

  8. Joëlle says:

    Loved this post about the Japanese cat! Thank you. Now time for me to take a look at the recipe 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, dear Joelle! The recipe is the easiest one you’ve ever had to deal with!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Joëlle says:

        Just made the recipe. We both absolutely loved it, even though I went a little heavy on my homemade hot pepper, oops 🌶! So it was meatless Monday without any complaints today 😉. My husband says thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, dear Joelle! You made my day! My best regards to your husband. 😻

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Now we are cooking – thank you!

      Like

  9. kelleysdiy says:

    I just loved your story of the Japanese cat and the store owners. You always have the most entertaining stories to go with your delicious recipes. You have one lucky husband that gets to enjoy all these dishes!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, dear Linda, we are from Odessa where everybody cooks, and my mother-in-law (may she rest in peace!), was a great cook, so my husband simply doesn’t know any other way.
      I am so glad you like the stories, though! 😻

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kelleysdiy says:

        Love your stories honey! Your recipes are scrumptious!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are so sweet! 😻

        Liked by 1 person

      3. kelleysdiy says:

        Well that’s because of your yummy, food!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. When are you going to make your way down here to taste some?

        Like

    1. Thank you for including me.

      Like

  10. lifelessons says:

    Such a pretty dish. In honor of Grandma, now that Yolanda is gone, I’m going to go seek out my hidden away ingredients to make her honey cake. I’m glad you liked your poem. I was afraid you were going to question that injera and wat!!! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Injera is a Ethiopian flat bread, and I love flatbreads of all kind. Wat, as far as I know, is a temple, but it has several other meanings.
      “Like” is not the word – I am completely overwhelmed!

      Like

      1. lifelessons says:

        Wat is a spicy hot sauce with chicken and whole boiled eggs in it. It is delicious. Eaten, as everything in Ethiopia is, with injera and ibe–(yogurt.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for this explanation – you taught me something about food!

        Like

      3. lifelessons says:

        That’s the first time the tables were turned. I loved Ethiopian food and missed it after I left. My lips used to blister after I ate it. When I moved to CA there were a few Ethiopian restaurants in San Francisco and San Jose as well as one in St. Paul I’d go to when I visited my sister. Haven’t had it for years, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You can make it, can’t you?

        Liked by 1 person

  11. lifelessons says:

    Here is a recipe for Doro Wat, but I have never seen it with the chicken cut up in small pieces like this. It has always been larger pieces of chicken.. i.e. complete thighs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much; I’ll have to research further.

      Like

    2. lifelessons says:

      We always had a cook in Ethiopia. In a year and a half there, we never had a refrigerator but there were so many rules about how to treat food so it never spoiled. It was a full time job just to cook–to go to the market, prepare everything from scratch including all the spices.I was working full time most of that time, as well. So I never have cooked wat. My friend who was married to an Ethiopian man when I was in CA cooked wat but the injera and berbere was sent to her from her husband’s family in Ethiopia. Tef, the grain it was made from, was not grown anywhere outside of Ethiopia and a few places in Canada. Millet was a substitute and they sometimes made white injera from wheat. It was a long and detailed process. I would be very surprised if Ethiopian food were available anywhere in Mexico.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We had the same process of food preparation and preservation in Odessa, when I was little. Ours was one of the first tiny refrigerator in Odessa. Before that we’d had a zink chest with dry ice during the summer. Are you telling me that, since you had a cook, you never learned yourself? Hard to believe, Judy!

        Like

      2. lifelessons says:

        i have cooked my whole life, but I didn’t cook in Ethiopia except for a couple of parties–one where I made chili and served it over rice. None of the Ethiopians would eat the rice, however. They thought it looked like maggots. Demekech would have been insulted if I had tried to take over making the injjera and wat.. plus the injera was a very tricky process, first fermenting the grain mixure, then cooking it over an open fire..on a huge round clay surface. Tricky. A very thin stream, covering it completely, then covering it to steam it a bit, removing when it was covered with bubbles..not a process for the untrained. The huge rounds of injera were then stored in a big covered basket–trying to remember the name. Ah.. a mesob.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Got the recipe now, thank you. The reason she is cutting chicken breast into small chunks is that she is using breast, rather than dark meat. Breast is dry but becomes moist when stewed in small chunks. I’ve heard about Berbera – dynamite stuff!

      Like

      1. lifelessons says:

        It is. You could burn your hands just touching it. It was a big job to prepare it. They also had Muslim meat and Xian meat. When we bought a chicken in the market, Demekech, our cook, would go out and find a Xian boy to kill it. There were different butcher shops for Xian and Muslim meat, as well. The subject of Jewish meat never came up, although as I’m sure you know, there was a group of black Jews called Falashas who lived near Gondar–some of whom were relocated to Israel during the horrible war years after I left in ’74.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am sure there were different butchers for Halal (Muslim) meat. I am not so sure that Falashas observed Kashruth laws, but now I am curious and I will ask. There is an adorable young Rabbi in our community who is a descendant of airlifted Falashas. You know that first they were saved, brought to Israel and settled, then the Rabbis started investigating whether they were, in fact, Jewish. The were deemed to be and were accepted as Jews, but the first concern had been to save people’s lives, regardless of their ethnicity or religion.

        Like

      3. lifelessons says:

        I may be wrong, but I remember their cooking both white and dark meat and the white chicken pieces were in larger pieces. The legs and thighs definitely were. Chickens were smaller than present-day chickens, however.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yeah, I am sure that American chickens are huge in comparison with their sisters anywhere else in the world (other than Israel, probably). We are now staying only with white meat, because of my husband’s diet, and sometimes I think those chickens need to wear a bra, Dolly Parton’s size.
        As a curious cat, once you’ve sent me one link, I started browsing for more, and sure enough, white and dark pieces were cooked together, bone-in, in larger pieces. White boneless meat on its own, though, is way too dry if cooked in large pieces.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. lifelessons says:

        It was never tough. It was cooked in so much sauce that it always fell apart on its own. We would wrap it in injera and squeeze and a piece would come off easily. No knives and forks, just the soft injera that would have torn if it had been harder to separate the chicken. Makes me hungry just thinking of how delicious it was.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I can feel it from your description – mouthwatering!

        Like

  12. Reblogged this on koolkosherkitchen and commented:

    Happy Earth Day and Earth Week, Beautiful People! Be well and stay safe!

    Like

  13. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    ALL DOWN TO EARTH! DELICIOUSLY!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for reblogging, dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I like the information about the cat and I would really enjoy the stir fry

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Derrick.
      P.S. I have returned to the blogosphere on Friday, and since then WP does not let me post some comments, whereas other comments are posted several times. Just wanted to let you know that I do read and enjoy your posts and will keep attempting to comment, as always.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks very much, for that, Dolly. I do appreciate it. These WP gremlins are quite widespread.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are very welcome, Derrick. It seems the WP gremlins have departed to annoy someone else,

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I love Chinese food! One of my earliest memories has to do w/ a Chinese restaurant and a fortune cookie (LOL). Lots of love, A. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Anna!
      Be well and stay safe, dear friend!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear purple person!

      Like

  16. Cooked by you its all looking so funtastic. Here sometimes after cooking i had eaten too. 😉

    Like

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Michael. Be well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Dolly! You too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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