Hand-torn Cabbage

Chinese name: 手撕包菜 (shǒu sī bāo cài)
Style: Hunan Cuisine
Characteristics: Hand-torn Cabbage tastes crisp, fresh and a little bit sour and spicy. Its color is beautiful as well with red chili peppers and white and green cabbage.

The Hand-torn Cabbage, also called Stir Fry Chinese Cabbage, is a typical vegetable dish in Hunan Cuisine and is well-known throughout China. To protect the nutrition and moisture of the cabbage, the best way is to tear the vegetable by hand instead of cutting with a kitchen knife. In this way, the dish can be pretty fresh. What’s more, the rich nutrition value of cabbage makes the dish quite popular among all ages. For example, it helps to improve the appetite and has the function of preventing colds and gastric ulcers.

Recipe of Cooking Hand-torn Cabbage

Ingredients and Seasonings:

cabbage, 400g
cooking oil, 3-5 dried chili peppers, 3-5 cloves of garlic, green onion, salt, light soy sauce, vinegar

Notes: The amounts of the ingredients and seasonings listed above can be appropriately adjusted according to one’s personal taste.
Ingredients and Seasonings of Hand-torn Cabbage


1. Tear the cabbage into pieces: halve the cabbage; remove the hard core; tear the leaves into small pieces layer by layer or in a couple of layers.
2. Clean and slice the garlic and green onion.
3. Clip the dried chili peppers into sections.
Preparation for Hand-torn Cabbage



Preheat a wok and pour in cooking oil. Heat it and add in garlic, green onion and dried chili peppers. Stir-fry for 5-10sec until aromatic. Add in the hand-torn cabbage. Fry over high heat for around 1min until the leaves become translucent.

Blanch the Cabbage Slices

Add in light soy sauce and salt. Pour some vinegar along the wok side. Stir to combine with the cabbage. Turn off the heat.

Stir-fry Seasongs

Serve the dish onto a plate. The hand-torn stir fry Chinese cabbage is ready to be enjoyed.

Hand-torn Cabbage

Tips on Making the Best Hand-torn Cabbage:

1. If time permits, it is best to tear the cabbage by hand. Cutting with a kitchen knife is acceptable, but it will more or less change the flavor of the dish.
2. The cabbage contains much moisture, so it is no need to rinse it. Just dispose of the soft and withered outer layer and use the fresh leaves inside.
3. It is suggested to add the vinegar along the side of the wok instead of directly sprinkle on the vegetable. After the vinegar evaporates over high heat, the cabbage smells nice.
4. The dish should be fried quickly over high heat to make the cabbage crisp.

Cabbage Health Benefits (Nutrition Value of Cabbage)

1. Vitamins: Vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin U, and carotene. The cabbage's vitamin content is three times larger than that of the tomato. Therefore, it does well in anti-oxidation and anti-aging, and helps to improve the immune system. Moreover, the vitamin U is good for curing ulcers.
2. Folic acid: It prevents megaloblastic anemia and fetal anomaly, so can be a strong recommendation for pregnant women and growing children.
3. Indoles and sulforaphen: The two have anti-cancer functions. In particular, consumption of cabbage protects people from intestinal cancer.
4. Kalium: The abundant of kalium can prevent high blood pressure.

Our Guests Attending Cooking Class
  • Our Guests Dining in a Local Family

    Our Guests Dining in a Local Family

    Ms. Debra, Mr. Russel, Mr. Mathew, Ms. Katherine, Mr. Jackson, and Ms. Rebecca from USA joined our family visit tour in Xi'an where the hostess is kind enough to open her apartment and offer cooking classes to visitors. They learnt to cook Hand-torn Cabbage - a typical vegetable dish in Hunan cuisine and enjoyed the delicious food prepared by the witty hostess.

    See details at Ms. Debra's Feedback and Video
  • The Rubins Dining with the Hostess

    The Rubins Dining with the Hostess

    Mr. Moshe & Ms. Linda from USA had a memorable lunch in a typical family in Xi'an. All the dishes were cooked by them and the hostess together, including Hand-torn Cabbage, Sweet and Sour Pork with Pineapple and Fish-Flavored Shredded Pork. They said that it was one of the highlights of their trip in China.

  • Our Guest Learn to Cook Chinese Food

    Our Guest Learn to Cook Chinese Food

    Mr. Sachin from Fiji & Ms. Vibha from Australia had an unusual experience during their family tour in Xi'an organized by TravelChinaGuide. The couple were brought into a personal apartment of a local Xi'an family by the guide, looked around the home, learned to cook Kung Pao Chicken, Chinese Dumplings & Hand-torn Cabbage, and finally enjoyed a home-cooked meal with the family.

Further Reading:

Top 15 Vegetarian Chinese Food Recipes

- Last updated on Dec. 09, 2022 -
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