Spicy Chinese Cabbage (La Bai Cai) 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Oct 31, 2016

Even though the cabbage is salted, it retains a little bite and gets its nice heat from a chili infusion.

Serve as one of many dishes or for a light lunch.

Make Ahead: The cabbage needs to be salted and refrigerated or left in a cool place for at least several hours and up to overnight.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1 head Chinese cabbage (about 1 1/3 pounds total; also called napa cabbage)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon whole Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
  • 3 small dried red chile peppers, seeded and cut into small pieces


Rinse the cabbage, then place it on a cutting board and slice it crosswise into very thin strips, placing them in a large mixing bowl as you work. Add the salt and Sichuan peppercorns, then use your clean hands to scrunch them into the cabbage. Cover with a plate that fits inside the bowl, then weight the plate with a 28-ounce can. Refrigerate or set in a cool place for several hours (or up to overnight).

Remove the weight and plate. Drain the cabbage, squeezing out as much moisture as you can; there should be much less volume. Pick out and discard the Sichuan peppercorns.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, turn off the heat. Add the chilies and stir-fry for a few seconds, until they have darkened and become fragrant but not burned. Add the drained cabbage and stir-fry just until it is evenly coated with oil and the chilies are evenly distributed.

Serve at room temperature.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Land of Fish and Rice: Recipes From the Culinary Heart of China," by Fuchsia Dunlop (W.W. Norton, 2016).

Tested by Sam Fromartz.

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