Vietnamese Stir-fried Shrimp with Napa Cabbage and Egg-fried Rice

Nuoc mam or fish sauce is an essential ingredient in Vietnamese cooking. It is also widely used in the Philippines (known as patis) and in Thailand (nam pla). It is made from fermented salted fish or shrimps and is rich brown in color with a pungent fishy aroma and an intense salty flavor. In these countries, fish sauce is used in the same way the Chinese use soy sauce. In addition to its role as a seasoning ingredient in stir-fries it can be used to dress salads and add flavor to marinades or dipping sauces. This recipe is a fusion Chinese-Vietnamese stir fry using quintessential Chinese ingredients such as garlic and ginger with succulent tiger shrimp and crunchy Napa cabbage finished off with fish sauce and aromatic Chinese black rice vinegar for a subtle edge and – for a touch of fragrance – not the usual cilantro but Thai basil. It is served with Chinese egg-fried rice and is ready in minutes!

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Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 medium red chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 16 raw tiger shrimp (about 7 oz), shelled and deveined
  • 3½ oz Napa cabbage cut into 1½ in slices
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla)
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black rice vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • small handful Thai basil leaves
  • Egg-fried Rice


  1. Heat a wok over high heat and add the oil. Stir fry the garlic and ginger for less than 1 minute. Add the chili and shrimp and stir fry until the shrimp start to turn pink. Add the Napa cabbage and stir fry for less than 1 minute.
  2. Season with the fish sauce and black rice vinegar. Add the hot water and sugar and stir well.
  3. Sprinkle with the Thai basil leaves, remove the wok from the heat and serve immediately with Egg-fried Rice.