Monday, 19 August 2013

Stir-Fried Cabbage with Bacon (煙肉炒椰菜)

I'm sure that there's some cabbagey-bacony dish in many cuisines - something like it always pops up on the Christmas table, and I have happy memories of having lunchtime teppan-yaki cabbage and bacon in the food court downstairs in the Metro Tower in Shanghai, when I worked there back in 2001.

We've been away for a week, and 3 days before we went, my parents emptied their fridge into mine (they were going away too). This led to much frantic peeling, chopping and freezing, and heartbroken chucking of fruit and veg into the composter. Some things I left in the fridge, including a sweetheart cabbage which I'd picked up for 10p or something in my local Waitrose on a Sunday afternoon. I used this in tonight's dish, coupled with the remainder of a packet of pancetta and it was lovely - but standard white or green cabbage and streaky bacon would be just as tasty.


  • 1/2 sweetheart cabbage, shredded into 5mm strips
  • 3 strips of pancetta or streaky bacon, cut into 5mm strips
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 slice of raw ginger, peeled and bashed with the flat of a cleaver
  • 1/2 tsp chicken powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 50ml water
  • Few drops sesame oil
Serves 2 as a side dish


  • Heat a wok or heavy-based frying pan until very hot. Add the pancetta/bacon and fry (without disturbing it too much) until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and put to one side. Drain away the oil, until approx. 1 tbsp remains in the pan. If you do not have this much oil from the pancetta or bacon, top up with sunflower oil
  • Heat the pan back up and add the slice of ginger. Fry quickly for 30 seconds to flavour the oil, then add the shredded cabbage. Stir-fry quickly for 1 minute until the cabbage is glossy - take care not to burn the cabbage
  • Add the garlic to the pan and stir-fry quickly for 1 minute, before adding the chicken powder, sugar and water. Mix to combine, cover the pan and lower the heat, until the water is boiling but not too vigorously. Boil for 4 minutes until the cabbage is softened but still with some bite
  • Add the pancetta or bacon back to the pan and heat through. Remove from the heat, then add a few drops of sesame oil and mix in
  • Remove the slice of ginger and serve immediately in a warmed dish
Stir-Fried Cabbage with Bacon (煙肉炒椰菜)

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