Thai stir-fried cabbage is a simple recipe using only a few ingredients, yet the flavors are simply divine! This version has a little extra twist with added bacon and sauces to add extra layers of umami flavors that you will love. It can be put together in 20 minutes!
For more simple Thai stir-fry dishes, make these delicious and popular Thai morning glory stir-fried recipe and Thai glass noodles recipe, Yum Woon Sen. Both are quick, easy, and packed full of flavors!
What is Thai Stir-Fried Cabbage?
It is a salty umami Thai side dish made with sliced cabbage, garlic, and fresh chilis and seasoned with oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, and a few other ingredients. It can be made with or without pork or pork belly. It's a great recipe often served as a vegetable dish in a Thai meal, alongside the main course dishes like fried rice, salads, or noodles.
In Thailand, I’ve had this simple dish of Thai cabbage stir fry dish with a few versions. Some use only Thai fish sauce and garlic to season the cabbage, while others add meat and more seasoning for extra flavors. This Thai stir fry is adaptable and can be used with or without meat. If using meat, it was usually thinly sliced pork or pork belly.
Thai stir-fried cabbage is called a few names in Thailand depending on what ingredients are used. Pad Galam Plee (Stir-fried cabbage), Galam Plee Pad Nam Pla (cabbage stir-fried with fish sauce), or Pad Moo Galam Plee (stir-fried pork with cabbage).
Due to its simplicity yet tastiness, Thai stir-fried cabbage is one of the most common side vegetables made for big gatherings like weddings and funerals in Thailand. When for a large crowd or in a Thai restaurant, hot peppers are not added to accommodate all taste buds. This recipe calls for Thai chilis for added heat and flavors. Adjust as desired, as always. (:
Why This Recipe Works
- It is incredibly easy to put together. It can be served in 20 minutes or less.
- It’s low carbs! You can eat it as a meal without rice and still gets satisfied!
- It’s a great side dish to add to any family dinner.
- It’s a quick, simple vegetable dish to add to your meal
- You can double up on the recipe and bring it to a potluck or dinner party.
What Goes Into This Recipe
To put my twist on this classic, I added bacon. Bacon because it’s quicker to cook but still offers a slightly crunchy with meaty flavors. It adds textures and a depth of flavors to this classic Thai dish, making it extra "Aroi" (delicious). Thai style with a little bit of Western bacon infusion! (:
Cabbage. White or purple/ red cabbage are great vegetable substitute is Nappa cabbage. Find a small green cabbage, as it is easier to cut into. If using purple cabbage, know that the purple hue from the cabbage will slightly impart its violet color into the stir fry.
Bacon. Use any bacon you like but watch the salt content of each package and adapt your fish sauce and soy sauce as needed as you don't want the stir-fried to be too salty.
Garlic. This dish is garlic heavy. Use large cloves of garlic and more garlic if desired. Slice your crushed garlic into larger chunks for extra garlicky taste in your stir fry.
Chilis. Use fresh Thai birds eye chilis or red pepper flakes for the added heat. You can omit this ingredient completely, too, if desired. Adjust with some or none at all.
Oyster sauce. A must for this recipe. It adds the rich, silky and lovely umami flavor the cabbage stir fried is known for.
Fish sauce. Just a touch is all you need. Add more at the end if you need a bit more.
Soy sauce. Use thin soy sauce or any soy sauce you have.
Rice wine vinegar. Apple cider vinegar or lime juice is ok as a substitute
Sugar. Use white, brown, monk, coconut, or honey for sweetener.
White pepper. Adjust as needed. It gets spicy fast, so use it carefully or deliberately as desired! (:
How to make Thai Stir-Fried Cabbage With Bacon
Step One. Add Oyster, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and white pepper to a small bowl.
Step Two. Add bacon to a large wok, big skillet, or a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Use a spatula to separate the pieces and let them cook to your crispness level. Soft or crispy bacon is perfectly delicious!
Step three. Add garlic and chilis and stir together. Cook for one minute until fragrant.
Step four. Add the sliced cabbage and stir together. Turn the heat up to high and cook for 2-3 minutes until the cabbage wilt.
Step five. Add the soy sauce mixture, stir well and cook for 1 more minute. Give it a last stir before placing the cabbage into a serving dish. Season more with a splash of sugar, fish sauce, and a dash of ground white pepper, and serve with plain jasmine rice. That’s it! Enjoy.
Important Kitchen Notes
- You can quickly turn this dish into a vegetarian dish. Omit the bacon altogether.
- If your bacon in the wok imparts too much oil, drain some out and continue cooking.
- You can add thinly sliced pork loins, pork belly, or even ham for extra protein.
- Since I'm using bacon, no additional oil is needed. If omitting the bacon, fry the garlic and chilis in hot oil before adding the cabbage. Use neutral oil with a high smoking point.
Helpful Kitchen Tools for this Recipe
What meat goes with Thai stir-fried cabbage?
Pork meat goes well with this recipe. Use thinly sliced pork loins, pork belly, or bacon as the meat is a bit lighter and slightly sweeter than other meats.
What does Thai cabbage stir fry pair well with?
This simple stir fry recipe is usually served as a side dish in a Thai meal as an added nutritious vegetable dish.
What is Thai cabbage?
The cabbage used in the Thai stir-fried cabbage recipes is typically the green or purple/red round cabbage found in most regular grocery stores. Sometimes napa cabbage can be used for this recipe, but it's not recommended as it won't be the same recipe as the cabbage is the main ingredient.
Should I blanch cabbage before stir fry?
No, not for this Thai stir-fried cabbage recipe. You only need to wash in a big bowl with cold water before using to rinse off dirt or germs. Look for firm and avoid wilted using old green cabbage if possible as some may give off a slightly unpleasant bitter taste when cooking.
How do you cut cabbage for stir fry?
For this simple dish of cabbage stir fry, cut the hulk of a small purple or white cabbage in halves, quarter the pieces, and then cut it into 2-inch pieces.
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