Dinner and a science experiment in one

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This post definitely does not belong on a gardening blog. Cilantro is the only vegetable from my garden in the dish. Still it was a really fun dinner to cook and it’s my blog, so here it comes. On Sunday my husband and I decided to make Mark Bittman’s pad thai recipe. The video made it seem like a breeze. Well, in honesty the cooking was a breeze, but all of the chopping and cleaning of shrimp…not so much.

Anyway, the recipe called for savoy cabbage or any other crunchy vegetable. Our local market (Figueroa Market) was out of savoy but had really nice red cabbage. How pretty would that be? So we went ahead with red cabbage. Everything was cleaned, cut, chopped, and minced, ready for the wok. The second step is to scramble up the eggs, then add the veggies. The eggs were fine, then the cabbage came. In front our very eyes, the eggs turned mermaid green (the very color of the brides maids dresses for my son’s and future daughter-in-law’s wedding), and the noodles turned blue.



It took me a little while to remember that I had made pH strips from paper towels and cooked red cabbage for the science club about 15 years ago. Basic = mermaid green. Wow! But that’s not all. The next step was to add the sauce, made from rice vinegar and other ingredients. As soon as the eggs became more acidic they turned back to boring old light yellow.


A quick perusal of the internet confirmed that egg whites have a pH of 9 and they turn green when you add red cabbage and cook.

Dinner was good – not great – but really fun.

2 thoughts on “Dinner and a science experiment in one

  1. I love Bittman. Some of his recipes seem better than others, but it's always amusing to watch his videos every week. I guess this is why onions turn green in my leftovers sometimes… I've always wondered about that. I need more vinegar in my life!

  2. Cooking with blueberries is another science experiment with me. Making a sorbet with acid like lemon keeps the blueberry puree blue, but wash the pot with alkaline water and the pots turns purple–not the same dramatic color shift as with cabbage, but something is definitely going on.

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