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Ginger cream cheese with Chinese cabbage and insanely delicious dressing

Quick delights for anytime


This ridiculously delicious and relatively simple combination is an absolute must try recipe.

The subtle flavour of ginger in the cream cheese, the blanching of the chinese cabbage leaves and the sezhuan pepper and star anise dressing with black sesame seeds is so sensational that you simply have to give it a go….the dressing makes more than you need for this recipe, but it will happily sit in the fridge until the next time you need inspiration for adorning a piece of meat or crowning some roast vegetables to new heights


  • 50g ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 220g cream cheese
  • ¼ garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Salt
  • 1 pointed cabbage, ends trimmed, halved lengthways and leaves separated
  • 1½ tbsp soy sauce

For the oil

  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • 1 banana shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1cm piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • ½ fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 tbsp red bell pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1½ tsp Szechuan peppercorns, roughly crushed
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp each black and white sesame seeds


Prep 15 min
Cook 35 min
Infuse 1 hr
Serves 4 as a side

Heat two tablespoons of the sunflower oil in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat. Add the next nine ingredients (including the salt), turn down the heat to medium and fry very gently for five minutes, stirring often, until the shallot is soft. Add the tomato paste and both types of sesame seeds, cook for another two minutes, then stir in the remaining 120ml oil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently for 20 minutes – if the oil starts to bubble at all, just take it off the heat for a minute – then leave to cool and infuse for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, make the cabbage. Press the ginger through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, to get two tablespoons of ginger juice; discard the pulp. Add the cream cheese, garlic, lime juice and a good pinch of salt, and whisk smooth.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Blanch the cabbage leaves for two minutes, until just cooked, then drain, pat dry with kitchen towel – the leaves shouldn’t be wet – and leave to cool.

Combine the soy sauce with three tablespoons of the numbing oil and a tablespoon of the cooking spices. Spread the cream cheese on to a platter, pile the cabbage leaves on top, then drizzle the oil and soy mixture over and serve at once.