I like the Lao Gan Ma brand of spicy chile crisp imported from China; Trader Joe’s version tastes good and does not contain preservatives. Chinese black bean garlic sauce, Indonesian sambal oelek and Moroccan harissa sauces work well here, too. Just know your penchant for heat and add the sauce judiciously to start.
- 1 small head (about 2 pounds) savoy or green cabbage or napa cabbage
- 1/4 Cup spicy chile crisp or Chinese black bean garlic sauce or sambal olek or harissa
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 4 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil for high heat cooking (not olive oil)
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 Cup chopped roasted salted peanuts, optional
- Cooked jasmine rice, optional
Step 1: Cut the small head of cabbage in half and remove core. Cut into quarters. Cut each quarter into large chunks. You will have about 8 generous cups.
Step 2: Mix 1/4 cup chile crisp, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 4 cloves of garlic in a small dish.
Step 3: Heat a very large deep, nonstick skillet (or use 2 smaller skillets) over medium until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and cabbage.
Step 4: Using a splatter guard, cook, stirring often, until cabbage is bright green and crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. (Napa cabbage will cook the fastest; green cabbage will take the longest. Taste a piece to determine the texture you’ll enjoy.)
Step 5: Stir in chile crisp mixture. Cook and stir to coat the cabbage well, about 1 minute.
Step 6: Transfer to a large serving platter. Sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts, if using. Serve with rice, if you like.