Here we have another Chinese staple, which also happens to be a completely simple and very tasty dish. Fresh cabbage adds a nice crunchy sweetness, while the egg and the sesame oil give a wonderful umami savoriness.
This is another one of those recipes that’s so simple it’s hardly possible to add much with process photos along the way. But I’ll do it anyway, since that’s the way things are done here at TasyAsia.
After chopping the cabbage, get the other ingredients ready.
Begin by stir-frying the cabbage. Turn it frequently in the wok so that it doesn’t brown.
Then pour the rest of the ingredients over the cabbage, stir-fry until the eggs are barely set, and you’re done. It takes longer to chop the cabbage than to cook everything up.
Speaking of which, here’s some information about cabbage. Grown worldwide, cabbage is a staple in countless cooking traditions. The previous cabbage recipe on this blog, which you will find here, called for Chinese or napa cabbage, which is 大白菜 (dà báicài). This recipe uses the familiar American green cabbage, known in China as 甘蓝 (gān lán, “sweet blue”) or alternatively as 洋白菜 (yáng báicài, “foreign cabbage”). Despite being known as a ‘foreign’ vegetable, it is cultivated and enjoyed widely throughout China.
Napa cabbage is a bit more delicate, while green cabbage has a deeper and more rewarding crunch. Feel free to substitute napa cabbage in this recipe, but if you do, you should shorten the cooking time significantly.
INGREDIENTS and PREP:
- 1/4 to 1/2 of a green cabbage, sliced into strips about 1/4″ thick, to make about 4 cups before cooking; 3 cloves garlic and 1/4″ ginger, minced finely
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp chili oil
- Heat your wok on medium heat until hot but not smoking. Then add 2 Tbsp peanut oil and swirl it around. Add the cabbage, garlic, and ginger (#1) and stir-fry for about five minutes until the cabbage is wilted. Keep stirring it so that it doesn’t brown. It should still be quite crunchy.
- Push the cabbage to the sides of your wok. Pour the eggs (#2) in the space in the center. Let the eggs cook for just about a minute until they begin to set. Then increase the heat to medium-high and stir everything together, cooking for an additional minute.
- Pour in the soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili oil (#3) and stir briefly until the liquids are incorporated. Serve with rice and contrasting dishes.
VARIATIONS: Some easy substitutions come to mind: first, you can use dried red chili flakes or Thai fried chili paste instead of the chili oil (adjusting the heat to your preference, of course). To increase the umami flavor, stir-fry 1/4 cup ground pork or 2 Tbsp minced fresh shrimp before adding the cabbage in the first step. For more ambitious substitutions, consider using whatever green leafy vegetables you have on hand: collard greens, chard, or even lettuce. You could also add cilantro, green onions, or other fresh herbs in the last step.
The essential Chinese pantry is here.