Master this classic Sichuan stir-fry with cabbage, red chilies, black vinegar, and Sichuan peppercorn. It only takes 20 minutes for this yummy vegan-friendly dish.
Cabbage is probably not the first vegetables you think of when talking about Chinese stir-fry. We are more familiar with bok choy, broccolini, broccoli, and napa cabbage. But once you try this Sichuan stir-fried cabbage, you will want to keep on buying cabbage and making this quick and easy dish.
This dish has all the signature spices and sauces of a great Sichuan dish, the use of dried red chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, and black vinegar. These three are pretty basic for a Chinese pantry, perfect for those who love cooking Chinese dishes at home.
Ingredients for Chinese stir-fried cabbage
We will need cabbage, garlic, ginger, scallions, dried red chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, salt, Chinese black vinegar, and light soy sauce.
Choose an average size cabbage that is about 1 kilogram (~ 2.2 lb) in weight. Use hands to tear the cabbage and remove the tough ribs. We only want to use the tender leaves since this is a quick stir-fry dish. Save the tough ribs and core for soup.
Sichuan peppercorn (Chinese: 花椒- hua jiao) is a signature spice in Sichuan cuisine. They have a slightly lemony aroma, and they create tingly numbness when you bite into the peppercorns. If you have eaten an authentic Mapo Tofu, Chongqing (Chunking) Chicken, or spicy Chinese hotpot before, you mostly have tried these before without realizing it.
Chinese black vinegar
Chinese black vinegar is different than rice vinegar. It has a dark inky color and is usually labeled as Chinkiang vinegar or Zhenjiang vinegar. Chinese black vinegar is another key ingredient in Sichuan cuisine.
If you love Chinese hot and sour soup, then you are already familiar with the taste of Chinese black vinegar. You will also need this for Wuxi chicken wings and sweet and sour pork bellies. It also happens to be a great dipping sauce for Chinese dumplings.
If you need a recommendation, I usually get this bottle of Gold Plum Chinkiang Vinegar.
Light soy sauce
There are two types of Chinese soy sauce, light soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. Please use light soy sauce, like Pearl River Bridge or Kimlan, for this recipe. You can also use Kikkoman soy sauce if you don’t have light soy sauce at home.
Step-by-step to cook Chinese stir-fried cabbage
Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Sauté garlic, ginger, and white parts of scallions until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
Add dried red chilies and Sichuan peppercorns, fry for another 30 seconds.
Turn the heat to high, then add cabbage, along with salt, Chinese black vinegar, and light soy sauce. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until the cabbage starts to wilt.
Turn off heat. Add the green parts of scallions, mix well. Transfer to a serving plate and serve hot.
For a more filling dish, try adding thinly sliced meat like chicken, beef, or pork. You will want to cook the meat first for a minute or two before adding the cabbage and proceed with the rest of the cooking steps.
Other Chinese vegetable dishes to try
If you love easy Chinese vegetables dishes like this, you may also give these recipes a try:
Chinese Stir-Fried Cabbage
- 1 head (~ 1 kilogram / 2.2 lb) cabbage
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 inch ginger, minced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced white parts and cut green parts into 1 inch sections
- 5 dried chilies
- 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- Gently tear cabbage with hands, remove the tough ribs. Washed and drained.
- Heat oil in a wok/frying pan over medium heat. Sauté garlic, ginger, and white parts of scallions until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add dried chilies and Sichuan peppercorns, fry for another 30 seconds.
- Turn the heat to high, then add cabbage, along with salt, black vinegar, and light soy sauce. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until the cabbage starts to wilt. Turn off heat. Add the green parts of scallions, mix well. Transfer to a serving plate and serve hot.