Easy Chinese-style cabbage stirs fry with garlic, green onion, ginger, dried pepper, and Sichuan peppercorns.

Chinese style cabbage stir fry|chinasichuanfood.com

Hand-torn Cabbage

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.

Chinese style cabbage stir fry|chinasichuanfood.com

We cook the cabbage in a very short time and this type of quick frying can retain the crispy taste of the cabbage.

Chinese style cabbage stir fry|chinasichuanfood.com

Ingredients breakdown

  • 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.

Chinese style cabbage stir fry|chinasichuanfood.com

Cook’s Note

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Instructions

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. 

Chinese style cabbage stir fry|chinasichuanfood.com

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.

Chinese style cabbage stir fry|chinasichuanfood.com

Add cabbage immediately. Quickly fry the cabbage, add salt, light soy sauce, and vinegar.

Chinese style cabbage stir fry|chinasichuanfood.com

This process should be finished within 30 seconds.

Chinese style cabbage stir fry|chinasichuanfood.com
Chinese style cabbage stir fry|chinasichuanfood.com

Chinese Style Cabbage Stir Fry

Easy Chinese style cabbage stir fry–hot and sour in taste.
5 from 24 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: stir fry
Cuisine: Sichuan
Keyword: Cabbage, stir fry, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 189kcal
Author: Elaine

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 1/2 tbsp. black vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt or as needed
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable cooking oil

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

You can also add some protein in this recipe like bacon, pork belly or sausage.
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.

Nutrition

Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 1167mg | Potassium: 790mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 445IU | Vitamin C: 167.1mg | Calcium: 187mg | Iron: 2.4mg
Chinese style cabbage stir fry|chinasichuanfood.com

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54 Comments

  1. Hi Elaine,
    Thanks for another great recipe. So simple and so good. I’ve also made & loved your General Tso Tofu.
    Best wishes,
    Lisa

  2. 5 stars
    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!

  3. 5 stars
    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!

  4. 5 stars
    Love cabbage…this recipe looks amazing 🤩.
    Question: What is the type of cabbage used in this recipe? Green, Napa or other? TY