Oct 21, 2017

Cabbage Stir-Fry with Sweet Flour Paste/Tien Mien Jiang (甜麵醬高麗菜)

Sweet flour paste, or sweet flour sauce, sweet bean sauce, tien mien jiang, is kind of like an Asian version of black roux. It is basically made with fermented soybeans, so why the flour paste name? I guess judging by its appearance and texture, this blackened seasoning does somewhat look like something mixed with flour, thick and paste-like. 

You can often find sweet flour paste served alongside Peking duck, it's one of the common sauces used when wrapping up that crispy duck skin. Another popular way to use this sauce is by adding it to stir-fry cabbage. You'll be amazed how can a simple veggies stir-fry turn into a rice-killing dish.

Cabbage stir-fry with sweet flour paste (甜麵醬高麗菜) - 


  • 0.5 lb shabu pork slices
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 small or medium cabbage
  • 1 onion
  • 1 to 2 red chilies
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons sweet flour paste
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 


Peel and slice the onion, garlic cloves, and carrot. Tear the cabbage into large bite size pieces. Destem the chilies and slice diagonally. 

The seasonings are quite heavy for a veggies stir-fry dish, so there is no need to pre-marinate the pork slices.

Drizzle some oil to a big pan or pot, turn to medium high heat and add in the onion slices. Also add in some salt and black pepper. Give it a quick stir and cook till the onion turns translucent. 

Add in garlic and chili slices. 

Cook till the garlic turns slightly browned then add in the pork slices one by one. Continue to sear the pork till about 70% cooked through.

Time to transfer the cabbage and carrot to the pan. I prefer a softer bite for my cabbage so the cabbage was added to the mixture early on and cooked longer. If a crunchier texture is preferred, use very high heat and quickly stir-fry the cabbage. I mean "very high" heat, like fire surrounds the wok kind of flaming power. It should only take about 30 seconds to one minute and you'll end up with that wonderful wok hei aroma.

So for my gentle version, cook till the cabbage softened a little then add in the sweet flour paste, oyster sauce, and some Chinese rice cooking wine. Mix and cook till the veggies reach desired texture, also make sure the sauce has been reduced, almost all dried up so to speak.

Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Otherwise, make sure the rice is ready to be devoured!

Other cabbage recipes:

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