Chefs' Recipes

Dainty Sichuan's wawa cabbage (chow wawa cai)

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for wawa cabbage (Chow wawa cai) from Dainty Sichuan in Melbourne.

By Tina Li
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 5 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
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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.


  • 50 ml vegetable oil
  • 50 gm skinless pork belly, thinly sliced
  • 15 gm red and green birdseye chillies, thinly sliced into rings (about 5-6)
  • 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)


  • 1
    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.