Apr 29, 2020

Kung Pao....Not Chicken, It's Kung Pao Cabbage Time!

What does "kung pao" reminding you of? To me, it's something appetizing with rice-killing seasoning, a punch of spiciness, and perhaps some peanuts for extra crunch. The most commonly known kung pao dish probably lies on kung pao chicken, but we're not using any protein here. This time, let the cabbage take over the spotlight.

Kung pao cabbage 宮保高麗菜 - 


  • 1/2 medium sized cabbage 
  • 3/4 cup dried chilies 
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon red vinegar
  • Some salt


Tear the cabbage into large bite size pieces. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Peel and grate the ginger. 

Drizzle some oil in the wok and turn to medium heat. Transfer Sichuan peppercorn over and gently heat them up till aromatic but not burnt. Add in dried chilies and give it a quick stir.

Add in chopped garlic, grated ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Quick stir-fry till aromatic.

Change to high heat. Add in cabbage and stir-fry till wilted. Taste and see if need more salt, I actually added about extra 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add both the white vinegar and the red vinegar to the mixture, also 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. Mix till combined.

Seems quite easy to make, the hardest part probably lies on heat control, ideally achieving a distinct "wok hei" for such quick stir-fry recipe. 

I also incorporated less commonly used red vinegar for a touch of color and extra layer of flavor, but if only using the regular pale color rice vinegar, it works well too. 

By the way, don't assume that kung pao cabbage carries the same flavor profile as kung pao chicken. It's not as heavily seasoned and coated with gooey sauce, but rather light, a wee bit sourish with a tingling sensation from the Sichuan peppercorn. Not as spicy as it looks also. Consider it a fun change from the plain cabbage stir-fry.  

Other stir-fry recipes:

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