Karl’s Chive Stem and Napa Cabbage Stir Fry

Jan has not been home for dinner the last several nights (four conferences in one week). The one night she knew she would be home was Thursday and she asked for steamed fish. This is normally Eilene’s night with her friends, but finals are coming up so she had told me that they would not be coming over. My dinner plan was for steamed fish and stir fried chive stem.

Karl’s Chive Stem and Napa Cabbage Stir Fry

Karl’s Chive Stem and
Napa Cabbage Stir Fry

At four o’clock, Eilene called to say that two of her friends were going to show up—to study. A fish and a small stir fry were not going to be enough to feed everybody, but there was no time to rush to the store. What did I have in my vegetable bin to extend the meal? Half a small head of napa cabbage, some diakon, some extra green onions, and a red bell pepper was what I had to work with. Add some steamed rice, some pork buns for the kids, and I had a meal for five.

Looking at my last several posts, I noticed that they have all been Chinese. While I am not Chinese by birth, I have spent several years in Chengdu, China and Hong Kong (before the change over). As a result, my go-to cuisine for  quick meals tends to be Chinese.

Karl’s Chive Stem and Napa Cabbage Stir Fry


2 Tbs. peanut oil
½ lb. chive stem, cut into 2 inch pieces
6 green onions, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 cups napa cabbage, one inch slices
½ cup diakon, cut into half moons
1 Tbs. garlic, minced
1 small red bell pepper, chopped


2 Tbs. spicy bean sauce (ma po sauce)
1 Tbs. chili bean sauce
1 Tbs. ginger, minced
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp. sesame oil
Pinch sugar


1. Wash and cut all of the vegetables and measure the sauce ingredients into a small bowl.

Tip: Whenever you are stir frying, it is important to have everything ready before the first things go into the pan, because there is no time for chopping after you start.

2. Put two tablespoons of peanut oil into a large non-stick pan, or wok, over medium high heat.  When the oil is shimmering add chine stem and the thick parts of the green onion. Stir fry for two minutes.

3. Add the cabbage and diakon to the pan. Continue stir-frying for 2-3 more minutes, until the thickest part of the cabbage becomes translucent.

4. Pull the vegetables to the side of the pan and add the garlic to the hole in the center. Stir fry for one minute and mix in the rest of the vegetables.

5. Stir in the sauce, the red bell peppers, and the green parts of the onion. Cook stirring for one minute and toss to coat the vegetables.

Tip: The peppers and green parts of the onion are best when just barely cooked. The peppers especially will turn mushy if over cooked, so add them at the very end of cooking.

6. Serve hot over steamed rice.

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Filed under Chinese, Side Dishes, Stir-fry, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

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