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6-Ingredient Thai Cabbage Stir-Fry Recipe

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Thai cabbage stir-fry recipe is a quick and easy dish perfect for busy weeknights. With just 6 ingredients, this simple vegetable stir-fry is full of flavors thanks to the umami-rich fish sauce. Whether you pair it with other Thai food or serve it on its own, this recipe is as healthy as it is delicious!

Golden wok filled with Thai cabbage stir-fry, garnished with fried garlic, served with chili oil on the side.

What is Thai cabbage stir-fry

Thai cabbage stir-fry is a classic dish made from green cabbage, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, and water. It’s a simple meal combining sweet, salty, and umami flavors, often enjoyed with other Thai cuisine staples.

Thai cabbage recipe

Tender cabbage drenched in a sauce that’s the perfect balance of fish sauce and sugar, so good, it’s almost unbelievable!

Making this healthy cabbage stir-fry is so easy, you’ve probably got everything you need in your pantry right now.

Thai sautéed cabbage in a wok, ready to be served, featuring golden fried garlic and a side of spicy chili oil.

In Thai restaurants, this dish is often served as a side, but it can totally double as a main.

Speaking of Thai restaurants, the other day my hubby and I went out for dinner, and we asked the waitress to surprise us with the restaurant’s signature dishes.

My husband, convincing the waitress he can handle the heat.

What came back was a feast – a steaming hot tom yum kung, an incredibly spicy red curry with green beans – pad prik king, and then, the simplest yet most surprising dish. A Thai stir-fried cabbage with fish sauce. It looked so simple, but we were immediately hooked.

Close-up of Thai cabbage stir-fry with fish sauce.

It was love at first bite! The sautéed cabbage was the first to disappear from our table. Today, I’m sharing this easy recipe, a tribute to that tasty surprise.

Why try this recipe

  • Doable for every home cook: Sometimes Thai cooking can be incredibly simple, and this Thai cabbage recipe is perfect for beginners.
  • Easy to customize: Whether you love some spice, extra garlic, or extra vegetables, you can easily adapt this recipe to suit your taste.
  • Basic ingredients: Everything you need can be found at an Asian grocery store.
  • Quick to prepare: This recipe comes together in just 10 minutes!
  • Versatile: It’s great as a main dish or as a side, and it pairs amazingly with lots of food.
  • Healthy: It’s low-carb and packed with lots of nutritious cabbage.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Top-view of ingredients for Thai cabbage recipe: green cabbage, white sugar, fish sauce, water, and garlic.
  • Garlic – Garlic is the aromatic base. Don’t hesitate to be generous with it – more garlic means more of that pungent kick that pairs great with the fish sauce.
  • Green cabbage – If green cabbage isn’t available, feel free to swap in white cabbage or oxhaert cabbage.
  • Fish sauce – When selecting your fish sauce, opt for a high-quality brand like Megachef fish sauce. This brand is readily available in Asian supermarkets outside Thailand and is not as salty as most brands are.
  • White sugar – A touch of white sugar is necessary to balance out the salty fish sauce and pungent garlic. It’s not about the sweet flavor, but more about creating a harmonious blend of flavors.
  • Water – Helps to meld the flavors together and create a stir-fry sauce.

Cooking instructions

Stir-frying cabbage in a hot wok.

1. Crisp the cabbage: Heat your wok pan over high heat. Add oil, swirl your pan, and toss in the cabbage. Stir and toss around for about 40 seconds, a quick pace is key for a perfect crisp.

Infusing minced garlic into Thai cabbage stir-fry.

2. Add garlic: Add your crushed garlic and keep stir-frying to blend the garlic and cabbage until the garlic is golden and fragrant, or 20 seconds.

Thai cabbage stir-fry prepared in a wok.

3. Fish sauce: Drizzle the fish sauce around the edges of the wok. Let it sizzle and mix in.

Pouring water into a wok with stir-fried cabbage.

4. Sugar and water: Sprinkle in the sugar, toss for approx 20 seconds, then add water and toss a few more times, creating a sauce. Serve immediately.

Kitchen tools

  • Cutting board and sharp knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Large wok pan with spatula

tips for simple stir-fried cabbage with fish sauce

  • Turn this side into a main: Serve it with hot jasmine rice to turn this simple Thai cabbage stir-fry into a fulfilling main dish.
  • Use a neutral cooking oil: A neutral oil with high smoke point like vegetable or canola oil is best for stir-frying.
  • Make it vegetarian: Simply swap out the fish sauce for a vegetarian alternative.
  • Time the garlic: Fry the garlic after the cabbage, not before, this prevents the garlic from burning and enhances the flavors.
  • Add some spice: Crush some bird’s eye chilies along with the garlic for a spicy twist. We paired it with homemade Thai chili oil, and the combination was the bomb. The smokey, spicy notes of the chili oil take this Thai cabbage recipe to a new level.
  • Add protein: Add some thinly sliced bacon or pork for a fulfilling meal. Start by stir-frying your chosen meat in the wok, then just follow the regular recipe steps to complete your dish.

How to serve

Serve straight from the wok. Optionally add a side of jasmine rice and top with crispy fried garlic. It pairs great with dishes like Thai chicken wings or steamed fish pla pao.

How to store and reheat

Store any leftover cabbage stir-fry in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. It stays fresh for up to 2 days.

Reheating instructions: Reheat it in a pan over medium heat.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Is fish sauce good in stir-fry?

Adding fish sauce to stir-fry dishes gives them a boost of umami and salty flavors. It’s a staple in dozens of dishes, in- and outside the Asian cuisine.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

For the best texture, serve right after cooking. You can chop the cabbage and prep the garlic ahead of time for quicker cooking.

Can I add other vegetables?

Yes! Feel free to add your favorite stir-fry vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, or others.

More Thai vegetable stir-fry recipes you’ll love

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6-Ingredient Thai Cabbage Stir-Fry Recipe

Golden wok filled with Thai cabbage stir-fry, garnished with fried garlic, served with chili oil on the side.
Simple Thai cabbage stir-fry recipe with only 6 ingredients, perfect for the home cook.
Praew
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Serving Size 1

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 14 ounces green cabbage roughly chop, wash, and drain
  • 6 cloves garlic roughly pounded or crushed
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 0.5 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1.7 fluid ounce water

Instructions

  • Heat your wok pan over high heat. Add oil, swirl your pan, and toss in the cabbage. Stir and toss around for about 40 seconds, a quick pace is key for a perfect crisp.
  • Add your crushed garlic and keep stir-frying to blend the garlic and cabbage until the garlic is golden and fragrant, or 20 seconds.
  • Drizzle the fish sauce around the edges of the wok. Let it sizzle and mix in.
  • Sprinkle in the sugar, toss for approx 20 seconds, then add water and toss a few more times, creating a sauce. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.

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4 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    This Thai stir-fried cabbage is a delicious and easy dish to make following this recipe! The combination of fish sauce and cabbage makes for an interesting and flavorful dish. The instructions are straightforward and easy to follow. The end result is a flavorful dish that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Highly recommend!

4.50 from 2 votes

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