Easy Chinese-style cabbage stirs fry with garlic, green onion, ginger, dried pepper, and Sichuan peppercorns.
This is one of the most common easy stir fry dishes on my table- Chinese-style spicy and sour cabbage stir fry. The Chinese name for this easy cabbage stir fry dish is hand-torn cabbage (手撕包菜). You may wonder why it should be hand-tearing. Not cutting? Hand shredding can help to remove the tough part of the cabbage and keep the natural grains of the cabbage leaves. The name comes from the fact that the cabbage is torn by hand rather than cut with a knife, which gives it a more rustic appearance and texture.
We cook the cabbage in a very short time and this type of quick frying can retain the crispy taste of the cabbage.
- Cabbage: Cabbage is the main ingredient in this dish, and it provides a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a crisp texture. When hand-torn, it creates uneven edges that help it absorb more of the seasoning.
- Garlic and ginger: Garlic and ginger add a pungent, slightly spicy flavor to the dish.
- Dried chili peppers: Dried chili peppers add heat and depth of flavor to the dish. The amount used can be adjusted to suit your taste preference.
- Light soy sauce: Soy sauce is a key ingredient in many Asian cuisines and provides a salty, savory, and unami flavor.
- Black vinegar: Black vinegar has a milder taste than other types of vinegar and is often used in Chinese cuisine. It adds a slightly sour flavor to the dish.
- Cooking oil: you can use either vegetable cooking oil or animal fat like lard in this recipe.
If you have Sichuan peppercorn by hand, you can also add some Sichuan peppercorn along with the aromatics. You can also use fresh hot peppers to make this dish.
- Heat your wok or pan first before adding the oil. Since we are doing quick frying, we need enough hot kept by the wok. Take full use of the wok heating by moving the cabbage around the wok.
- The cabbage should be completely drained before frying. The only water on the leaves can spoil the dish by turning the quick frying process into steaming or poaching.
Dry the cabbage completely before stir-frying
Drying the cabbage before cooking is important because it removes excess moisture, which helps to ensure the cabbage has a nice, crisp texture, absorbs more of the seasoning, and cooks more evenly and quickly.
Hand tear the cabbage, and keep the tender green leaves only. Discard the hard white pate. Wash gently and drain completely. This is the key step to guarantee the success of the dish.
Heat the wok first, and pour in the oil. Add dried chili pepper, to fry over a slow fire until an aromatic, place in garlic and ginger too.
Add cabbage immediately. Quickly fry the cabbage, add salt, light soy sauce, and vinegar.
This process should be finished within 30 seconds.
Chinese Style Cabbage Stir Fry
- 1 middle size cabbage ,hand shredded and remove the tough parts
- 2 garlic cloves sliced
- 1 inch root ginger ,minced
- 3 to 6 dried chili pepper depending how spicy you want it to be
- 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
- ½ tbsp. black vinegar
- ½ tsp. salt or as needed
- 2 tbsp. vegetable cooking oil
- Hand tear the cabbage, and keep the tender green leaves only. Discard the hard white pate. Wash gently and drain completely. This is the key step to guarantee the success of the dish.
- Heat the wok first, and pour in the oil. Add dried chili pepper, to fry over a slow fire until an aromatic, place in garlic and ginger too.
- Add cabbage immediately. Quickly fry the cabbage, add salt, light soy sauce, and vinegar.
- This process should be finished within 30 seconds. You will have full of flavor, crunchy cabbage side dish.
In order to make sure that the flavor is well absorbed by the cabbage, drain the leaves completely before frying.
Recipe is firstly published in 2014 and updated in 2023.
Thanks for another great recipe. So simple and so good. I've also made & loved your General Tso Tofu.
Thank you Lisa for stopping by and leaving me such a lovely comment. Happy cooking!
I made this and it was delicious. Thank you for an easy but awesome dish!
Thank you, Marya!
One of the best quick lunches I've ever made, hands down. I added julienned carrots and scallions for a little extra veggie boost. Thank you!
Happy cooking, Julia!
I love fried cabbage in all it's forms. I keep my white parts of the leaves, just cooking them first and the tender parts second then putting all together. So crispy and delicious!
Thanks, Linda. It is a lovely idea to separate the white parts and the leaves.
Love cabbage…this recipe looks amazing 🤩.
Question: What is the type of cabbage used in this recipe? Green, Napa or other? TY
It is Napa cabbage, Daine.