Cabbage Stir-fried with Red Pepper Paste

An inviting recipe for cabbage stir fried with red pepper paste. From Madhur Jaffrey, the bok choi recipe is flavoured with garlic, chilli and anchovy paste.

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Only the dark, outer leaves of the cabbage were originally included in this recipe, but I often add some of the inner cabbage together with a small amount of shrimp or anchovy paste.

Serves 4


450g (1lb) bok choi, other cabbage, cabbage greens or spring greens
100g (4oz) red pepper
50g (2oz) shallots or onions
2 large garlic cloves
½ tsp shrimp or anchovy paste (optional)
¼ tsp chilli powder
6 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp salt

Essential kit

You will need an electric blender.


Wash the cabbage leaves and drain. Stacking several of them together, cut them crossways into long, fine 3mm (1⁄8 in) wide shreds.

Core and de-seed the red pepper, then chop coarsely. Peel and coarsely chop the shallots and garlic. Put the red pepper, shallots or onions, garlic, shrimp or anchovy paste, chilli powder and 3 tablespoons water in an electric blender. Blend until a coarse paste results – it should not be too smooth.

Set a wok over a high heat. When hot, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, put in the spice paste. Stir and fry for about 5 minutes or until the oil separates and the mixture is dark red in colour. Add the cabbage and salt and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Cover tightly, turn the heat to medium–low and cook for 8–10 minutes or until the cabbage is just cooked. (No water should be needed, but check after 5–6 minutes and add a little if the mixture appears dry.) Turn into a warmed dish and serve at once.



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