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Hand Torn Cabbage


Let’s talk about the cabbage because I want to show you 2 different types.

The one on the right is from Publix. As you can see, it is more like a ball shape and it is much heavier because the cabbage leaves are compacted tightly.

The one on the left is from an Asian market, the shape is a little bit flat. And the inside, the leaves are very loose. So it is light in weight.

You can compare the inside structure. Both are completely fine to use for this recipe. They will come out equally delicious. But if you want to match the name - The stir fry cabbage that’s rip apart by hand, you will want to use the Asian cabbage as it is much easier to tear apart. The regular one is too solid to work with your hand and you have to cut it with a knife.

I am only using half of this cabbage. Remove the hard center stem. Put both of your thumbs in the center and then break it apart. Tear all the pieces into smaller sizes. This way, you can get that jagged edges. I think it helps the flavor to infuse into the cabbage. I pick out some hard stem, you can slice it up and cook with it or discard it. Up to you.

Besides the cabbage, you will also need some garlic. Slice it thinly. 8-10 pieces of red dried chilies, just to get a little touch of hot feeling. Cut them into 1/2 inch pieces. Remove the seeds so it is not super hot. That’s it, let’s start cooking.

Heat up your wok. Add some vegetable oil. Toss it around to cover the bottom of the wok. Add the cabbage along with the garlic and dried chilies.

It looks overwhelming for now. Once the cabbage welted down, it will be a reasonable amount. I like to cook this on high heat to get some nice char. It will taste like roasted cabbage. You can cook this on medium heat so it will turn out a bit softer. It really depends on your own preference, because you can just eat cabbage raw.

Once you think it is almost at the point that you like, add 2 tsp of soy sauce and some salt to taste. Add some 1 tbsp of Chinese black vinegar. Continue to stir for a minute. Turn off the heat. Before taking it out of the wok, add the remaining black vinegar. This will stabilize the flavor Because the vinegar we add before evaporated a little bit during cooking.

There are lots of people that hate cabbage because it has a strong component of taste. I love it though. And I think the slight bitterness from the cabbage goes really well with the Chinese black vinegar. Sometimes if I don’t feel good, or I get homesick, I will make this dish and serve it with white rice. You probably will say, it just cabbage. Yeah, I don’t know why I am obsessed with stir fry cabbage. Maybe I am just deeply in touch with this flavor as my family cooks this all the time. I hope you give this a try soon.


  • Only recently have seen this. Love garlic so decided to try it. Oh, I love this! Cabbage is sweet and tangy and garlicky. So delicious!

    Arline on

  • Hi! I feel a bit insecure about the red dried chillies and what to buy at the asian market. What is the name of these red dried chillies you are using, do they have a name?

    Kristina Skywell on

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