Like a lot of green vegetables, cabbage is a terrible thing when overcooked. However, raw or lightly steamed it has a lovely flavour and crunch.
Just like lettuces, which I wrote about in an earlier tutorial (here), there are many different varieties of cabbage. And just like lettuces, cabbages share the same kind of leafy structure!
To chop a whole cabbage, you can just start chopping slices off the top! (For rounder cabbages like savoy, it’s easier to start by chopping them in half, then placing them on the cut side to chop.)
Because the cabbage is made of layers of leaves, it falls apart into thin strips once sliced. For cooking, I’d recommend slices about 1cm thick, but for salads I’d try to chop slightly thinner slices.
However, although they keep better than lettuces, cut cabbages don’t last for very long. So if you only want a little cabbage, peel a few leaves off the outside of the cabbage by hand. You can then stack them to make your job easier, and cut slices just as above.
These slices of cabbage take no longer than 5 minutes to cook, whether boiled, steamed, or stir-fried. It should become a slightly brighter green and soft (but not soggy!) when cooked.
(To make sure the whole cabbage is cooked at the same time, you may want to pull the leaves off the thickest, toughest part of the stem before cutting, but this is of course optional. )