August 1st, 2022 | 1 minute to read
In most ordinary non-vegetarian Chinese restaurants, they usually offer at least one vegetable stir-fry. Those tend to be the only options for vegetarians as the majority of the dishes contain meat. Even if the restaurant doesn’t offer a stir-fry specifically on the menu, you can still make a special request. I did this in the past when I was traveling with a group of people who can't live without meat. They usually order more than ten dishes to share and almost all of them contain meat. When this happens, I simply ask the restaurant to make a vegetable and tofu stir-fry without MSG just for myself and I eat it with rice. In this way I get to share the same table with my friends without compromising my principles.
Cabbage stir-fry, or 手撕包菜， as often called in Chinese, is one of these simple and quick dishes. The vegetable is widely available and almost any Chinese restaurant knows how to do it. The trick is to tear the leaves of the cabbage one by one. It might take a little time, but it’s fun to peel the leaves layer by layer, observing the color changing from light green to tender yellow when you get to the core. You can also avoid the firm stem if you don’t feel like eating it. Most restaurants also remove this part to make the dish more palatable.
Kitchen Gadgets: Frying pan or Wok
- 1 small head of cabbage
- 5 dried chile peppers
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Heat the frying pan or wok and add oil, use the highest heat.
- Cut the chile peppers to 2 or 3 parts, add to the oil and fry for 10 seconds.
- Add cabbages leaves and vigorously stir fry on high heat for 3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, add salt, mix well and serve!