Chinese Napa Cabbage with Glass Noodles

This family comfort dish of Chinese cabbage is rich tasting and easy to make. The napa cabbage is braised with thick glass noodles that soak up the savory sauce. A perfect side or even as a main dish all on its own! {Vegan Adaptable}

Braised napa cabbage with glass noodles

My Chinese Napa Cabbage with Glass Noodles is something I’m excited to share with you. Chinese cabbage is a comfort food dish that reminds me of home. Napa cabbage is a staple in northern China during the winter and my mom cooks it every week. We often eat it with rice. It’s hearty, healthy, and satisfying.

Napa cabbage, which we often call Chinese cabbage, is very healthy and full of fiber. It turns a tender texture and tastes slightly sweet when braised. With the rich sauce and the addition of glass noodles, it can really fill you up while satisfying your craving for Chinese food. The best part is, it’s incredibly simple to make. 

In less than 30 minutes, you can create the true flavors of China in a healthy way. The sauce ingredients are very simple to find and you probably already have most of them in your pantry.

Braised napa cabbage with glass noodles close-up

What type of glass noodles to use

I highly recommend the wide type of dried potato noodles or sweet potato noodles in this dish. Because they can stand the braising time, absorb flavor better, and have a meaty and chewy texture (very different from rice noodles). You can find them in most Asian markets or on Amazon.

Prepare the glass noodles

NOTE: Depending on the brand and the thickness of the noodles, the preparation method can vary a lot. If the noodles have instructions on the package, you should follow that method. 

If the package doesn’t come with instructions, I usually soak the dried noodles in hot water for 10 minutes. They will turn an al dente texture – soft, but not ready to eat. They will continue to cook and become much more tender after you add them to the pan with the napa cabbage.

Potato noodles

PS: You don’t have to include the noodles if you don’t want to. But I find they soak up the flavors and give the dish a heartier feel which makes it ideal for a main dish.

Magic ingredient – Sichuan peppercorns

Sichuan peppercorn (花椒, Huā Jiāo) is also known as Szechuan pepper. You can’t really call it spicy. Instead, it has slight lemony overtones and creates a tingly numbness in the mouth – which can almost be described as electric – that sets the stage for hot spices.  It is a key ingredient in Sichuan cuisine, but we use it daily in northern cooking as well.

Infusing the hot oil with Sichuan peppercorns will add a nutty fragrance and numbing tingling essence to the dish. It creates another dimension of flavor and makes the dish very fragrant. My mom taught me this method and I use it to make all kinds of veggie dishes taste better. For example, Chinese 4-Ingredient Fried Cabbage.

You can find Sichuan peppercorns in most Asian markets, but I highly recommend the premium Sichuan peppercorns from The Mala Market. They are directly sourced from Sichuan and very fresh.

How to cut napa cabbage

Here is a quick way to cut napa cabbage.

  1. Halve the napa cabbage
  2. Further cut the napa cabbage into quarters
  3. Split each quarter into two even pieces
  4. Chop each eighth into bite-size pieces
How to cut napa cabbage

Ingredients

When you’re done prepping, your table should have:

Ingredients for making Chinese napa cabbage

NOTE: I combined the green onions and ginger in one small bowl, because you will add them in the same step.

Cooking process

Cooking Chinese napa cabbage with glass noodles is super easy:

  1. Cook the Sichuan peppercorns in hot oil to infuse the flavor
  2. Saute the aromatics
  3. Add the napa cabbage and let it cook down
  4. Pour in the braising liquid
  5. Add the soaked glass noodles
  6. Braise covered for 2 to 3 minutes
Chinese napa cabbage cooking step-by-step

NOTE: It will look like a lot of napa cabbage at first, but the leaves will shrink a lot once they are done cooking. When you add them to the pan, let them cook for 1 minute before tossing them. If you have trouble keeping them in the pan, try using a pair of tongs to toss them instead of a spatula.

Chinese napa cabbage with glass noodles

With my Chinese Napa Cabbage with Glass Noodles, you won’t worry about leftovers. It’s a dish best served piping hot, with the glass noodles and cabbage steaming as you pluck them from the sauce with your chopsticks. Try it as a side with one of my other dishes or enjoy it as a meatless meal on any night of the week!

More delicious veggie recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Chinese Napa Cabbage with Glass Noodles

This family comfort dish of Chinese cabbage is rich tasting and easy to make. The napa cabbage is braised with thick glass noodles that soak up the savory sauce. A perfect side or even as a main dish all on its own! {Vegan Adaptable} To make this dish vegan, use Chee Hou Sauce instead of oyster sauce.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main, Side
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: home style
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 183kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. (100 g) potato noodles
  • 1 1/2 lbs (700 g) napa cabbage (about 6 cups chopped)

Sauce

Stir-fry

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 green onions , chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger , minced

Instructions

  • Add the potato noodles into a big bowl and add hot water to cover. Let sit for 10 minutes, or until the noodles turn al dente. Drain the hot water, rinse the noodles with running tap water, drain again, and set aside.
  • To chop the napa cabbage, halve the head of napa cabbage, then cut it into quarters. Tilt your knife to split the quarters in half again. Then cut the napa cabbage into bite-size pieces (see the step-by-step photos in the blog post).
  • Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Heat the peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Sichuan peppercorns. Cook and stir until the Sichuan peppercorns turn dark, but are not burned. Remove the Sichuan peppercorns and discard them.
  • Add the green onions and ginger. Stir for 30 seconds to release the fragrance.
  • Add the napa cabbage. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s withered but not soft, 5 minutes or so.
  • Turn to medium heat. Pour the sauce over the skillet and stir to mix well.
  • Add the soaked noodles. Stir again. Cover the skillet and let it cook until the napa cabbage turns soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Uncover the pan. Toss everything again. If there’s too much residual liquid, you can turn to medium-high heat again and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, to thicken the sauce.
  • Transfer everything to a plate and serve hot as a side dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 31.2g | Protein: 3.5g | Fat: 5.5g | Saturated Fat: 0.9g | Sodium: 703mg | Potassium: 490mg | Fiber: 2.2g | Sugar: 3.4g | Calcium: 188mg | Iron: 2mg

Lilja Walter is a part of the Omnivore’s Cookbook team and worked closely with Maggie to develop and test this recipe.

Disclosure

Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my New York kitchen.

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5 thoughts on “Chinese Napa Cabbage with Glass Noodles

  1. Dorian Vandenberg-Rodes

    Really delicious. I may have had a big cabbage, but I needed more sauce to my taste.

    Reply
  2. Kathyaj

    5 stars
    Got a napa cabbage in my veg box from farmer’s harvest share. Haven’t ever cooked with cabbage. Only associated it with stuffed cabbage and gas. Made the noodles and cabbage (though used vermicelli noodles) and didn’t have sichuan peppers – used a red chilli pepper and a bit of red pepper flakes – very very good and would happily have this regularly as would my husband.

    Reply
  3. Hailey

    5 stars
    I made this last night, and we ate it with soft boiled tea eggs. I never had sweet potato noodles before, and I love them! The texture is delightful, and they soak up so much flavor. It’s not like a lot of other noodles, where the sauce just sticks to the outside, the noodles really soak it up! We’ll be making this again soon. It was very inexpensive, it was delicious, it was filling, and it came together so quickly it didn’t even heat my kitchen up. It’s a perfect thing to eat on a hot summer night when you need something light but filling.

    Reply