Stir-fried Cabbage with Garlic

Green cabbage was rarely eaten in our Cantonese home, but my Chinese-American friends, such as Lillian Robyn, who was originally from Beijing, often ate cabbage. She would simply stir-fry it with meat or by itself, as in this tasty vegetable dish. Salted water draws out the moisture and gives the cabbage a crispy texture. This easy-to-make dish is a fine accompaniment to any meat or fish dish.


  • 675 g (1Β½ lb) green cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1Β½ tablespoons groundnut oil
  • ΒΌ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil


Trim the cabbage by removing any tough outer leaves. Core and discard the centre stem. Finely shred the cabbage leaves. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage shreds with 1 teaspoon of salt, then cover with cold water and leave to sit for 1 hour. Rinse well in fresh cold water and drain.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Swirl in the groundnut oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt and the pepper, toss in the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Then toss in the cabbage, sugar and rice wine and continue to stir-fry over a high heat for 5 minutes. Drizzle in the sesame oil and give the mixture a few good stirs. It is now ready to be served.