Using Chinese Cabbage in Stir-Fry

Christopher Hirsheimer

HALVING: A common mistake is to slice the cabbage crosswise, as when making coleslaw. That method leaves all the slices the same diameter, but not the same thickness—so they cook unevenly. Instead, follow the vertical shape of the cabbage.

SLICING: Most Chinese cooks prefer a cleaver for many uses. Use yours to make uniform wedges of similar density, so that the cabbage will cook evenly. Instead of a pile of cabbage shreds, you will have eight elegant wedges.

CORING: Chinese cooking is refined; a cook would never leave the cabbage uncored. Carefully use the cleaver to remove the hard core from each cabbage wedge.

COOKING: Heat the wok and place the heart of the cabbage—the densest part—in the center, the hottest spot, so that it will cook at the same rate as the delicate tops, which rest on the cooler upper sides of the wok.