Chinese, Side Dish

Stir-Fried Cabbage With Crispy Pork Lard

I always wonder how come I don’t encounter more dishes that use the super addictive crispy pork lard aka chu yau char 猪油渣. I mean besides adding to char kuey teow, tai chow, noodle dishes (dried & soup) and eating it as is, what else can we use it for? Well, I found a stir-fried cabbage with crispy pork lard side dish from Yunnan, China. Do you know who is Dianxi Xiaoge? This dish was presented as one of the Chinese New Year (CNY) dishes by her and I thought it was so apt.

She didn’t share a recipe in the video, so I adapted from what I saw and present you with my version of stir-fried cabbage with crispy pork lard. Btw, don’t you think these moreish crispy pork lard, also known as crispy pork cracklings look like gold nuggets? That’s why I think it suits CNY very well. As CNY is not over yet, why not whip this up and surprise your family?

Stir-Fried Cabbage With Crispy Pork Lard
Stir-fried cabbage with crispy gold nuggets… err I mean crispy pork lard. Quick, grab as much gold as you can! And, don’t forget the cabbage. Hahaha

Let’s cook!

First of all, this side dish is very very quick to whip up. So, prep the ingredients and put them right beside the wok.

Dried Chilis, Green Sichuan Peppercorns & Crispy Pork Lard
Ingredients (clockwise from left): Crispy pork lard (chu yau char/猪油渣), dried chilis and green Sichuan peppercorns. I’m using 1 teaspoon of green Sichuan peppercorns here which is very weak in the la aka numbing effect department. So, add 1.5 teaspoons to 2 teaspoons.

Please note that I’m using crispy pork lard that has been seasoned with sea salt as that’s how I make it for snacking. Also, I’m using small sized chu yau char as the butcher already cut up the pork fat. You can make larger ones like in the video.

Soak Dried Chilis
Soak dried chilis in a bowl of water until soft which will take about 15-25 minutes. If you soak them in warm/hot water, it’ll be faster. Once soften, you can decide if you want to keep it whole (as is) which will make the dish not spicy or cut it into half which will make the dish spicy as it’s usually the seeds that give you the spiciness.

Meanwhile, prepare the cabbage.

Hand-Torn Cabbage (Separate Leaves From Stems)
Instead of using a knife to chop the cabbage, I’m using the hand-torn technique which is an age-old Chinese way to shred the cabbage. Simply tear the cabbage leaves and stems into bite-sized pieces. Because the cabbage stems are thicker and need a little more time to cook, separate the leaves from the stems like in the photo. This is because we’ll cook the stems first.

Now, fire up the wok over medium-high heat and add lard.

Tsk, there’s really no excuse for not using lard because rendering pork fat will result in lard and crispy pork lard. You make your own crispy pork lard, right? Right?

Cook Dried Chilis & Green Sichuan Peppercorns
Add softened and drained dried chilis and green Sichuan peppercorns to the heated lard. They will start to sizzle.

Add Crispy Pork Lard
When the sizzling stop, add crispy pork lard and give it a few stirs.

Add Cabbage Stems
Next, add the cabbage stems and stir fry for about 30 seconds.

Add Cabbage Leaves
Then, add the leaves and stir fry for a minute.

Finally, add salt to taste and stir a few times to ensure the salt is evenly distributed. Plate the dish and that’s it!

Stir-Fried Cabbage With Crispy Pork Lard
This very savory stir-fried cabbage with crispy pork lard dish is a must-try! Thanks to the addition of the green Sichuan peppercorns, the dish is intoxicated with a citrusy fragrance that’s unique to these peppercorns. If you add enough of the peppercorns, you’ll feel the exciting tingling effect in your mouth without any spiciness as green Sichuan peppercorns are not spicy. But if you split the dried chili open, then this dish will become spicy.

And, of course you can eat the peppercorns!

Stir-Fried Cabbage With Crispy Pork Lard
The stir-fried cabbage is soft and crunchy, yup even the stems. Absolutely not forgetting is the crispy pork lard that look like crispy gold nuggets which adds comfort and happiness. Undoubtedly this side dish is awesome with a bowl of warm rice.

It may seems like a weird combinations but it works. Give it a try anytime and let me know what you think ya.

Stir-Fried Cabbage With Gold Nuggets
Adapted from Dianxi Xiaoge – starts at 15:24″
Serves 2-3

180g cabbage, hand-shredded and leaves and stems separated
2 tablespoons lard
2 dried chili, soaked and drained, leave whole (less spicy)/halved (spicy)
1.5 teaspoons or 2 teaspoons green Sichuan peppercorn, if you enjoy the la, add more
4 heaping teaspoons crispy pork lard (mine is salted)
1/2 + 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt or to taste; note: this measurement is based on my already salted crispy pork lard

1. Heat up the lard in a wok over medium-high heat.

2. Add dried chili and green Sichuan peppercorns. When they stop sizzling, add crispy pork lard and give it a few stirs.

3. Then, add the cabbage stem. Stir fry for about 30 seconds.

4. Next, add the cabbage leaves and stir fry for 1 minute.

5. Add salt to taste and give it a few stirs. Dish up and enjoy with a warm bowl of rice.


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  • Reply Hew February 1, 2023 at 1:08 am

    Stir-fry hand torn cabbage (手撕包菜) is always my fav when eating out in Chinese restaurants and even I can cook it easily! Needless to say, adding chu yau char definitely level up the dish 😍

    • Reply Che-Cheh February 2, 2023 at 12:17 pm

      Hi Hew, oh yeah and coupled with the la+spicy, this is indeed a lip-smacking dish. Hope you try it. 🙂

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