If all vegetable dishes were as easy and tasted as good as this Chinese cabbage stir-fry, we’d all be a lot healthier. (Just a quick note before we go on: there is some meat involved in this dish, but feel free to leave it out if you’re vegetarian!)
Among Chinese cabbage recipes, this cabbage stir-fry is savory, tangy, and very quick to prepare. Plus, it’s CHEAP. Cabbage is so inexpensive, filling, and healthy, but people don’t always know how to prepare it in a way that actually tastes, well…good.
Well, the Chinese have found a way! This is one dish that Sarah and I would definitely agree on when we met up for lunches in Beijing. When she moved to China and was working in the Sanlitun area just down the road from our Beijing apartment, we’d have lunch and order this dish almost every time we saw it on the menu.
All you need is very high heat, a couple of dried chilies, and a few splashes of Chinese pantry staples to make all the difference. Just eating this cabbage dish over rice is a satisfying meal in and of itself!
So, in Chinese, the name of this dish can be translated as “hand-shredded cabbage.” Why hand-shred the cabbage? you might ask. I don’t know the real reason, but my guess is that the rough, haphazardly torn pieces of cabbage offer textural variety, and do a great job of soaking up more sauce and flavor. It’s truly one of our favorites, and it’s the perfect way to take that humble, everyday head of cabbage and turn it into something great.
Chinese Cabbage Stir-fry: Recipe Instructions
In a wok over high heat, add the oil. Sear the meat until caramelized. Add the garlic and dried red chilies, turn down the heat to medium, and stir-fry for a minute, taking care not to burn the garlic.
Turn up the heat to high, cover the lid and let the cabbage cook for 1-2 minutes.
Serve your Cabbage Stir-Fry hot!
Chinese Shredded Cabbage Stir-Fry
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 6 oz. pork belly (170g, pork loin, or chicken, thinly sliced)
- 5 cloves garlic (smashed and cut in half)
- 5 dried red chilies (deseeded and roughly chopped)
- 1 1/2 lb. cabbage (680g, hand-shredded into bite sized pieces, washed, and thoroughly dried)
- 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
- 2 scallions (cut into 2-inch lengths)
- In a wok over high heat, add the oil. Sear the meat until caramelized. Add the garlic and chili, turn down the heat to medium, and stir-fry for a minute, taking care not to burn the garlic.
- Add the cabbage, wine, soy sauce, sugar, and water. Turn up the heat to high, cover the lid and let the cabbage cook for 1-2 minutes. Uncover the lid, and stir in the black vinegar, scallions, and salt to taste. The cabbage should be wilted, but still slightly crunchy and caramelized. Serve hot!