Stir-Fried Cabbage with Ginger

This recipe is so versatile you might dub it “stir-fried anything with ginger.”
TIME 20 to 30 minutes
MAKES 4 servings
1 medium head Napa or any cabbage (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or more as needed
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ cup chopped scallions
½ cup water, vegetable stock, or white wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage and remove the core by carefully cutting a cone-shaped section around the stem with a paring knife and pulling it out, using your knife for leverage if necessary. Switch to a chef’s knife and cut the cabbage into halves or quarters, then thinly slice each piece; the slices will naturally fall into shreds. Cut the shreds into bite-sized pieces and rinse in a colander.

2 Put the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for 15 seconds. Add ¼ cup of the scallions and the cabbage to the pan and raise the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is soft and a little browned here and there, 5 to 8 minutes. If the pan looks too dry, add more oil (1 tablespoon at a time) as the cabbage cooks.

3 Lower the heat to medium and add the water, soy sauce, sugar, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir, then turn the heat back up to high and cook, stirring constantly to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid has thickened and partially evaporated. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with the remaining ¼ cup scallions, and serve.

  • Stir-Fried Cabbage, Thai Style: Substitute fish sauce (nam pla, available in supermarkets) for the soy sauce and finish the dish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a sprinkling of crushed red pepper.
  • Stir-Fried Cabbage, Mediterranean Style: Skip the ginger, soy sauce, and sugar. Use olive oil instead of vegetable oil and add 1 more tablespoon garlic if you like.

  • You can stir-fry lots of other vegetables the same way. Some ideas: broccoli or cauliflower (cut into florets), shredded Brussels sprouts, bell peppers (cut into strips), carrots cut into thin coins, celery slices, bean sprouts, or sturdy greens like chard or bok choy (keep the stems and leaves separate; add the stems to the pan 2 to 3 minutes before you add the leaves).

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