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Wawa cabbage (Chow wawa cai)

Wawa in Mandarin means "baby"; in this case it refers to baby Chinese cabbage, also known as wombok or Napa cabbage. Sweet, crunchy and ultra-tender, these cabbages are barely larger than your hand and weigh 300gm-600gm each. In the hands of a Sichuan cook, this humble vegetable takes on stunning smoky-wok flavours. The trick is to toss the cabbage constantly while stir-frying, maintaining heat control, and not to add any water. Tina Li uses Knorr chilli liquid seasoning for this dish but says it's optional.

You'll need

50 ml vegetable oil 50 gm skinless pork belly, thinly sliced 15 gm (about 5-6) red and green birdseye chillies, thinly sliced into rings 600 gm baby Chinese cabbage, halved and cut lengthways into thin strips (see note) 1 tbsp oyster sauce 1½ tsp soy sauce 1½ tsp Knorr chilli liquid seasoning (see note)


  • 01
  • Heat oil in a large wok over high heat. Add pork and stir-fry until meat begins to curl (15 seconds). Add chillies, stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds), then add cabbage and stir-fry until well coated (30 seconds). Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, liquid seasoning and 1 tsp salt, stir-fry until wilted (2-3 minutes) and serve hot.

Note Baby Chinese cabbages are available from select supermarkets and Chinese greengrocers.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Featured in

Jun 2013

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