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Bacon cabbage stir-fry (quick and easy Chinese recipe)

This bacon cabbage stir-fry is a quick and easy recipe that guarantees success. Why? Because this cabbage recipe uses bacon fat to stir-fry the cabbage, crispy bacon itself is a sure-fired ingredient irrespective of what you are pairing with it. The best part is it only involves a handful of ingredients, making it suitable to be included in your regular dinner rotation.

This cabbage stir fry can either be the main dish or commodity served with steamed rice in typical Chinese families.

How to stir fry bacon with cabbage 

Although this is a simple recipe, there are a few tips I will include in the detailed steps below. I would suggest reading this first rather than jumping straight to the recipe below. 

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Bacon cabbage stir-fry is a sure guarantee of success. This quick and easy Chinese recipe can be a main meal or served with rice.

Prepare the cabbage and other ingredients 

I use round Chinese cabbage for this recipe, but it is equally good to use napa cabbage.

  1. Clean and drain a head of cabbage, remove any tough outer leaves, especially if bruised or damaged, cut it into large portions, and remove the thick core, which is tough to eat.
  2. Next, cut away the thick part of the cabbage, set aside, and cut the thin leaves into large pieces about one to two inches square. 
  3. Now, let’s return to the thick sections and trim off the rib and other thick parts before cutting them into pieces.
  4. I also included some carrots to improve the color and presentation of this recipe. First, cut the carrots into 1.5 inches crosswise, then into 1/4 cm slices, and then cut into julienne.
  5. You can also include some chili peppers in the recipe to make it slightly hot and spicy. First, cut two dry chiles into sections, then remove the seeds. Alternatively, you can substitute the dried chilies with 1-2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes.
  6. I also include a large tablespoon of coarsely chopped garlic in the recipe., I usually do not use minced garlic since it can burn quickly during sauteing. You can also include some thinly sliced shallots along with the garlic if you like.

Fry the bacon 

Now let’s get some bacon. I use about 200g of streaky bacon for one pound of cabbage. Remove the excess water with paper towels if it is too wet. Remember that the size will shrink after the oil is rendered, so do not cut the bacon too small. I prefer to cut them into slices of 1.5 inches in length.

The stir-frying process 

  1. Now let’s start cooking. First, heat the wok without any oil until hot, then place the bacon into it and let fry over medium heat until crispy. It will take a while in this process, about five to seven minutes depending on the heat. If you do not have a wok, you may use a large skillet or frying pan.
  2. After a few minutes, the moisture in the bacon should have evaporated, and the oil will start to render. At this point, turn down to heat to medium-low and continue to stir-fry until the bacon crisps up.
  3. When the bacon becomes crispy, remove them along with the oil from the wok. Transfer the bacon to a wire mesh strainer to drain away from the oil and return a portion of the oil required back to the wok to saute the garlic. I did not use all the bacon oil for health reasons, but you can use it if you are ok with it. You can add olive oil or vegetable oil to substitute part of the bacon fat.
  4. Saute the chopped garlic with the bacon grease until aromatic and slightly brown.
  5. Next, add the dried chili or chili flakes if you prefer. Then add the carrots and part of the cabbage, and turn up the heat to stir fry. When the cabbage starts to turn soft and wilted, add more cabbage as time goes by as the wok cannot contain all the raw cabbage initially. Do not add any water at this stage. The best way to bring out the flavor of the cabbage is to stir-fry over high heat. When you seared the cabbage, it will create some slightly charred spots with a beautiful aroma. 
  6. Continue stir-frying over high heat until all the cabbage pieces start to turn soft.
  7. Turn down the heat, and season it with light soy sauce, black pepper, and salt. You notice now the cabbage has turned soft, and the volume had reduced to nearly by half compared to the volume when it first started. Now add a few tablespoons of water, cover, and let it cook for two to three minutes to ensure the cabbage pieces are soft. Please note that the water content of cabbage is high, and therefore it is only required to add a small amount of water.
  8. Remove the lid and do a taste test to ensure the flavor is right and the cabbage pieces are soft. Since there is still some water in the wok, I stir-fry it until all the water has evaporated.
  9. Finally, return the crispy bacon to the wok and mix well with the cabbage. Have a few quick stirs and flips, and remove from the wok immediately.

This bacon and cabbage stir-fry is quick and easy, and the flavor of bacon can guarantee that it is delicious. Best to serve with steamed rice.

Variations of the stir-fried cabbage with bacon

Here are some of the variations I suggest for this Chinese dish:

  • Use smoky bacon to substitute the streak bacon for extra flavor.
  • If you are not a fan of bacon, try substituting it with ground beef. It will not taste the same but is still a very delicious combination.
  • You can also add green onion, red bell pepper, and brussels sprouts to the recipe.
  • Adding some cider vinegar and light soy sauce will make it taste different yet yummy.

Other cabbage recipes in this recipe

If you like bacon cabbage stir-fry, here is a list of cabbage recipes on this food blog. Give them a try!

Yield: 2 servings

Bacon cabbage stir-fry (quick and easy Chinese recipe)

bacon cabbage stir fry (4)

This bacon cabbage stir-fry is a quick and easy recipe that guarantees success. The best part is it only involves a handful of ingredients, making it suitable to be included in your regular dinner rotation.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Clean the cabbage, remove any tough outer leaves, cut it into large portions, and remove the thick core, which is tough to eat.
  2. Next, cut away any thick parts, then cut the thin leaves into large pieces about one to two inches square. 
  3. Cut the carrot into julienne, about 1-2 inches in length. 
  4. Cut two dry chiles into sections, then remove the seeds. 
  5. Cut the bacon into slices of 1.5 inches in length.
  6. Heat the wok without any oil until hot, then place the bacon into it and let fry over medium heat until crispy.
  7. Transfer the bacon to a wire mesh strainer to drain away from the oil and return a portion of the oil required back to the wok to saute the garlic.
  8. Saute the garlic until aromatic and slightly brown.
  9. Next, add the dried chili and carrots, and cabbage gradually turns up the heat to stir fry. 
  10. When the cabbage pieces start to turn soft, turn down the heat, and season it with light soy sauce, black pepper, and salt. 
  11. Add a few tablespoons of water, cover, and let it cook for two to three minutes to ensure the cabbage pieces are soft. 
  12. When the water has evaporated, return the crispy bacon to the wok and mix well with the cabbage. Have a few quick stirs and it is ready to serve. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1117Total Fat: 69gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 36gCholesterol: 200mgSodium: 4869mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 9gSugar: 14gProtein: 74g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 2/21/2022

Joseph

Monday 21st of February 2022

Hello,There , using Nagasaki winter cabbage and Spam really good. Nagasaki cabbage is a loose leaf head large savoy leaf and chard like stems I am growing it along with tatsoi

KP Kwan

Monday 21st of February 2022

Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you in this comment area, as you have read through my recipe. I am glad to reply to any questions and comments as soon as possible.

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