Let’s make Chinese vegetable stir fry! This smoky Chinese Style Stir Fried Napa Cabbage Recipe is the perfect takeout-fakeout and is ready in 15 minutes!

Chinese Restaurant Style Stir Fried Napa Cabbage

How many times have you stood in front of the fridge, staring into a sparse vegetable crisper and thought what the heck am I going to make with THAT? Well, if you’re like me, it happens more than we’d care to admit.

It’s almost enough to make a home chef give up and just order delivery.

However sometimes the best food combinations are the most simple. This Chinese stir fried napa cabbage recipe came to me on a night when I pretty much only had cabbage and a carrot floating around the empty vegetable bin.

Sure – that’s not much to work with, but trust me… it’s packed full of flavor! In fact, now that I’ve made it a handful of times, I wouldn’t change anything about it.

What does this napa cabbage stir fry taste like?

Just think of the flavors of your favorite Chinese stir fry from the take-out spot and you’re halfway there.

There’s a deep savory and smoky essence to this dish that is countered by the brightness and crunch of the veggies.

It’s so assertively flavored, that I think you’ll be surprised by how few ingredients actually go into this stir fried napa cabbage recipe

ingredients for stir fried napa cabbage

Ingredients for Chinese napa cabbage stir fry

  • Vegetable Oil: Any neutral oil will actually work well in this Chinese cabbage recipe. Just beware that olive oil is too assertive in the flavor department.
  • Garlic: The pungent sweetness of minced garlic really contributes a great deal to this recipe. Add it to the pan when you introduce your sauce so the garlic doesn’t overcook.
  • Napa Cabbage: This Chinese cabbage has bright green, slightly ruffled leaves at the tips – and veined, white stalks that deliver a pleasant crispy crunch. Think of the texture as a mix between iceberg lettuce and celery. When cooked, napa cabbage does a wonderful job of absorbing the flavors of the stir fry sauce. You’ll need about a pound of napa cabbage, sliced into bite sized pieces for this stir fry recipe.
  • Carrot: Slice a small carrot into thin strips for added crunch and a vibrant pop of color.
  • Oyster Sauce: This thick, dark brown sauce will provide the majority of flavor to this stir fry. Made of oyster extracts and thickened with cornstarch, it has the deep savory flavors of the sea – contrasted by a bit of sweetness around the edges. Pick it up at your local Asian grocery store, or grab oyster sauce on Amazon.
  • Soy Sauce: This is the second part of your simple stir fry sauce. Umami for days!
  • Potato Starch or Cornstarch: Mixing potato starch with a bit of water will thicken the sauce and give you that trademark thickness so common in Chinese stir fry recipes.
  • Sesame Oil: Add a bit of this luxurious oil at the end of the cooking process to introduce a toasted, nutty essence to the dish. A little goes a long way!
  • Salt and Ground White Pepper: White pepper has a hot, almost floral flavor and is the perfect finishing touch.

Stir frying napa cabbage in wok

How to make stir fried napa cabbage

  1. Heat a small pan over high heat for about 1 minute. Once your pan is hot, add oil and swirl to coat the surface of the pan evenly. Stir fry your napa cabbage and sliced carrots for 4 minutes.
  2. Next, add your oyster sauce, soy sauce and minced garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add your potato starch and water mixture and cook for an additional minute. This will cause the sauce to thicken.
  4. Then add your sesame oil, stir well – and turn the heat off.
  5. Finally, season with salt and ground white pepper before serving.

How easy is that!? Making this napa cabbage stir fry from scratch is actually almost as simple as picking up the phone to order delivery!

Chinese Restaurant Style Stir Fried Napa Cabbage

What to serve with Chinese style stir fried napa cabbage

Now I’ve always been a fan of eating Chinese veggies with a side of shrimp fried rice. Actually, it’s one of my favorite movie-night food combinations.

And you’ll get a lot of love if you put a side of this shrimp stir fry on the table at dinnertime.

However, if you’re in a rush or keeping dinner on the lighter side of things, this easy napa cabbage recipe would be wonderful with a simple side of perfectly cooked white rice. Check out my post on how to make rice on the stove top AND in a rice cooker.

Alternatively, for those nights you’re looking to whip up a full on Chinese feast, check out these other delicious and easy Chinese recipes:

Chinese Restaurant Style Stir Fried Napa Cabbage Chinese Restaurant Style Stir Fried Napa Cabbage

Did you like this Chinese Napa Cabbage Stir Fry Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!


Chinese Restaurant Style Stir Fried Napa Cabbage

You’ll be proud to serve this Chinese stir fried napa cabbage for dinner tonight. It’s got flavor for days!

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 7 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Asian
  • Method: Stir Fried
  • Cuisine: Chinese


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or salad oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 large napa cabbage (about 1 pound), sliced into bite size pieces
  • 1 small carrot, sliced into strips
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch or cornstarch mixed with 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Salt and ground white pepper, to taste


  1. Place a large pan over high heat and wait 1 minute. When the pan is hot, add oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add cabbage and carrots and stir fry for 4 minutes
  2. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce and garlic – and cook for 1 minute
  3. Next, add potato starch and water mixture and cook for one minute, stirring until the sauce thickens.
  4. Add sesame oil, stir well and turn the heat off.
  5. Season with salt and ground white pepper and serve.


You can keep leftovers of this napa cabbage stir fry covered in the fridge for 1-2 days.

Keywords: stir fry, side dish, vegetable recipe, Chinese, main course

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