Cabbage Stir-fry with Ham (or Bacon) | 火腿炒高麗菜
Cabbage stir-fry with bacon is a popular kid-friendly veggie dish in Taiwan. But since I’ve still got about 3lbs of leftover ham in the fridge from Christmas, I’ve replaced the bacon with ham. It’s fast and easy but full of flavor. Slightly smoky, savory with the crunchiness and sweetness from the cabbage it’s perfect in any lunchbox.
Cabbage has become my best friend this winter. Insisting on shopping at farmers market has it’s downside- leafy veg is a rare gem in the winter. Good thing there’s still cabbages to be found. Cabbage is also a very common, popular veggie in Taiwan so there are all kinds of cabbage recipes that I can play with.
I’ve experimented with PORK AND CABBAGE DUMPLINGS, tried making cabbage buns(still figuring out the bun part), made cabbage pancakes, cabbage mac and cheese and stir-fried it almost very meal. It’s delicious but I still like to change it up every once in a while. Veggies from cold weather always tastes sweeter and it’s even more obvious with the cabbage. Cabbages in Minnesota is sweet, flavorful and tasty.
There are a few tricks to making the simple cabbage stir-fry with ham extra tasty:
- Break the cabbage into small pieces instead of chopping them into bite size- This keeps the fiber of the cabbage intact, making them more crunchy and tastes sweeter.
- Fry the ham in the oil until golden- Releasing the full flavor of the ham into the oil that will later coat the cabbage with tastiness. It also gives the ham a better texture and color.
- Add the stems to the wok 30 seconds before the leafy part- The stems of the cabbage is much much harder to cook through than the leafy part. Throwing them into the wok first ensures that all the veg is done at the same time, so the leaves are not overcooked.
- Add salt to the cabbage right after they’re added to the wok instead of seasoning when it’s done cooking- Helps soften the cabbage so it will cook faster and doesn’t get soggy due to cooking for too long.
- Remove from heat when it’s slightly under cooked- Veggies cook easily with the remaining heat. Removing from heat before it’s completely done makes sure that the cabbage is not over cooked and remains crunchy not soggy.
This recipe can also be used for simple cabbage stir-frying without any meat. Add some shredded carrots to add color if making this dish vegetarian. It’s a super simple, basic dish you’ll find almost anywhere in Taiwan.
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