nappa cabbage in stir fry how to cook | Family Cuisine

Nappa cabbage is a type of cabbage that has a crunchy, almost woodsy texture to it. It's usually found in the springtime at farmers markets and grocery stores. The best way to cook nappa cabbage is stir-f

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Nappa cabbage in stir fry how to cook

This easy napa cabbage stir fry recipe makes crunchy crispy napa cabbage served in a rich hot and sour sauce that’s lightly sweet. Serve it as a side that completes your meal while piquing your appetite. {Vegan}

Napa cabbage stir fry with vinegar sauce

I recently wrote about another Chinese cabbage dish that I’ve loved since I was a little girl. And while this recipe for napa cabbage stir fry calls for the same main ingredient (Napa cabbage), it’s rather different. One of the biggest differences here is that this dish is all about the cabbage.

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The hot and sour napa cabbage is a Northern Chinese classic. This recipe only uses the white part of the napa cabbage to create a crunchy crispy texture. It combines dried chili pepper, garlic, and a mixture of Chinkiang vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar to make a fragrant hot and sour sauce that is lightly sweet. The contrast of spicy tartness with a little sweetness makes this simple stir fry a treat for the taste buds and makes you crave more.

It takes very little time to make, too. You’ll spend 15 minutes prepping the cabbage and 5 minutes cooking it. Serve it with one of my other Chinese main dishes, or if you want a lighter meal, you can always enjoy it with hot white rice or some noodles.

Napa cabbage stir fry close-up

How to prep napa cabbage

Use the white part

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This recipe calls for the white part of the napa cabbage. This will create a crunchy and crispy result that pairs well with the sauce. To do this, trim off the leafy parts and leave only a bit of the green part attached. You can save the leaves for later use – they work best in soups and stews such as Napa Cabbage Soup and Braised Napa Cabbage with Glass Noodles.

Cut the napa cabbage the right way

Tilt your knife to a 45-degree angle and slice the cabbage into irregular bite-sized chunks with thin edges. This cutting method makes the white part of the napa cabbage absorb more sauce and become more flavorful.

How to cut napa cabbage for stir frying


Once you’re done prepping, your table should have the ingredients below:

PS: I put the ginger and garlic in the same bowl because I add them in the same step in the recipe.

Ingredients for making hot sour napa cabbage

Cooking process

Once you’re done prepping, the cooking is the easy part.

  1. Heat up your pan really well. Add the dried peppers.
  2. Saute the aromatics to release the fragrance.
  3. Cook the napa cabbage until it is cooked.
  4. Add the sauce and finish up.

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That’s it!

How to make napa cabbage stir fry

NOTE: It’s very important to use a heavy pan and heat it up very well. You want to cook the napa cabbage fast so it will retain the crunchy texture and won’t release too much liquid to turn the dish watery. If your stove is not very powerful, I highly recommend you halve the recipe and cook it in a small batch.

Cu Liu Bai Cai 醋溜白菜

Pair this recipe with these main dishes

The sauce is divine in its own right and I’m sure you’ll find ways to sop it up. What I love about this napa cabbage stir fry is that you can get it on the table fast, so it’s ideal for adding more veggies to your dinner in a pinch.

  • Ginger Chicken Stir Fry
  • Hong Shao Rou (Red Braised Pork)
  • Chinese Bang Bang Chicken
  • Cantonese Ground Beef Rice and Eggs
  • General Tso’s Chicken (Crispy Chicken Without Deep-Frying)

More Chinese side dish recipes

  • Choy Sum with Garlic Sauce
  • 4-Ingredient Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry
  • Leftover Ham Fried Rice with Pineapple
  • Chinese Cauliflower Stir Fry
  • 15-Minute Garlic Noodles

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Lilja Walter is a part of the Omnivore’s Cookbook team and worked closely with Maggie to develop and test this recipe.

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