Vietnamese-Style Stir-fried Cabbage & Scrambled Egg

Shorin, a Zen River member, volunteers at a food garden in Uithuizen that grows organic vegetables. Occasionally they can bring home a few surplus veggies that didn’t find a new home. This might explain the two huge sweetheart cabbages propped on the kitchen counter that together weighed well over 2½ kilos . I’d never seen cabbages such as this! Here is what became of it for a crowd of thirty at the start of the Falling Leaf Sesshin…

If you prefer to skip the eggs, then scrambled tofu should work well too.


20 g (2 tablespoons) fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic
2 eggs
1-2 star anise
2 medium carrots
800 g (1¾ pounds) sweetheart cabbage
2 stems green onion
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake, Chinese rice wine, or dry sherry
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
Oil for frying
A few sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro)


  • Peel and mince the ginger.
  • Peel and mince the garlic.
  • Mince one green onion, and cut the other one into thin diagonal slices.
  • Crack open the eggs and beat until smooth. Combine with ½ teaspoon each of garlic and ginger and the minced green onion.
  • Peel and julienne the carrots.
  • Trim the outer leaves and cut the cabbage into ½ cm (¼”) x 5 cm (2”) slices.
  • Roughly chop the coriander leaves and set aside.
  • Bring a 3 litre (3 quarts) pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add the carrots and return to a boil. Simmer until tender, about 1 minute, scoop out with a slotted spoon and put into a colander to drip-dry. Next, add the cabbage and return to a boil. Simmer for about 1 minute, scoop out with a slotted spoon and put them with the carrots. Turn off the flame and reserve the stock for soup.
  • Heat a wok or large frying pan on medium flame. Add a tablespoon of oil and pour in the egg. Stir-fry until the eggs set, then set aside.
  • Clean the wok surface and add another tablespoon of oil. Turn the flame high and put in the garlic, ginger and star anise. Stir-fry until the garlic starts to turn golden then quickly put in the cabbage and carrots. Stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes then add the scrambled eggs, green onions, soy sauce, sake, and sesame oil. Stir-fry for a further minute. Turn off the flame.
  • Serve immediately with steamed white Thai jasmine rice, soy sauce or ketchap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce).

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