Sauteed Napa Cabbage

Vegetable Recipes

Sauteed Napa Cabbage

Looking for an easy way to cook vegetables and make them more flavorful? Sauteing is my answer. My mom does it a lot with a variety of veggies like bean sprouts, bitter melon, Napa cabbage, etc. She taught me to cook them with garlic, chili peppers, salt, and a little bit of water. Quick, easy, and tasty.

sliced Napa cabbage

Napa cabbage has been one of my faves to saute. This crunchy and mild cabbage absorbs flavors nicely. It makes a wonderful side to beef, chicken, or fish dishes. (Optional: we could also make the dish more colorful by adding red bell peppers and/or mushrooms.)

Sauteed Napa cabbage with mushrooms

Here’s my recipe to serve two:

  • 1 Napa cabbage, cleaned and sliced (I usually pick a small one, just enough for two)
  • 4 garlic, chopped
  • 4 Thai peppers, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 1 bell pepper, cored and chopped (optional)
  • 1–2 cups of Shiitake mushroom, stemmed and chopped (optional)


  • Heat up a medium pan, add oil (over medium heat)
  • Cook garlic and peppers for two minutes
  • Add slices of Napa cabbage and mix with the garlic and chili peppers (add bell peppers and mushroom here too, if using)
  • Add salt, mix. Then add water and cover the pan with a lid.
  • Let it cook for five minutes until the it simmers. (The cabbage will release its moisture and wilt. But, it will still be a bit crunchy even after cooking.) Taste and add salt if necessary.
  • Serve while it’s still hot

Thanks for reading!

Stir Fry: Green Beans and Tempeh

Vegetable Recipes

I enjoy a tasty and crunchy vegetable dish. When I want an easy one, I often turn to stir-frying (similar to sautéing) things like green beans, bitter melon, asparagus, broccoli, Chinese broccoli, Napa cabbage, carrots, and many more. Cook with a little bit of oil, shallots, garlic, hot peppers, and light soy sauce and watch how the vegetables turn into wonderful delights. When I want something more substantial out of these veggies, I combine them with either Shiitake mushroom or tempeh. Superb!

Green Beans and Tempeh by Harini

Green beans and I go back a long way. Years ago in early college days, days of my first attempts to cook, a friend noted that I cooked green beans a lot. He’d joke and say that it seemed like it was the only thing I was able to do :D. He wasn’t wrong. It was! 😀

Tempeh with Green Beans by Harini

Anyway, in this recipe I choose to mix crunchy green beans with tempeh. Tempeh, a soybeans-based patty, is so versatile and a source of protein. Indonesians use it as their meat substitute. Here in the US, tempeh can be easily found in the organic section.

Ingredient list:

  • 1 organic soy tempeh (8 oz) (cut into four pieces and slice into thin cuts)
  • A handful of green beans (about 2 cups)
  • 2 shallots (chopped)
  • 2 garlic (chopped)
  • 2 Thai peppers, also called as Bird’s Eye peppers (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoon of vegetable/canola oil
  • ¼ cup of water


  • Heat up a medium pan over medium heat
  • Add 2 tablespoon of vegetable/canola oil
  • Brown both sides of tempeh (turn only once)
  • Remove from the pan and set aside
  • On the same pan, use remaining oil if available, if not, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable/canola oil
  • Add shallots and garlic and let them cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the light soy sauce, Thai peppers, and green beans
  • Stir and mix them together
  • I usually add a little bit of water to help the vegetable cook better (about 1/4 cup)
  • Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for about 5 minutes or until the liquid starts to boil. Taste and adjust.
  • Remove pan from the heat and add the cooked tempeh. Mix everything together and serve with jasmine rice.

Hope you like it!

More favorite tempeh recipe:

Tempeh with Chilies and Vegetables

Chili-Topped Tempeh


A little reflection:

I think of cooking, like writing, as one of my creativity outlets. One that allows flow to happen and take over me for a little bit. Maybe my friend and fashion blogger (and a fellow cooking enthusiast), Leena, would agree that there are some similarities in the process of putting together a beautiful outfit and making a delicious dish. I imagine they both require imaginative minds; attention to texture, colors, feel, and in cooking: taste; and appreciation for beauty. Best of all, they both create enjoyable results!

Cooking might not create flow for everyone as it does for me. Besides, different folks different strokes, right?

So, what about you, dear readers?

What fully absorbs and captures your creative energy?

For the serious veggie lovers: Bitter melon with Shiitake mushroom stir-fry

Vegetable Recipes

Is it possible to be bitter and good at the same time? In the case of bitter melon, it is. Just as the name implies, bitter melon…is… bitter. But with the right seasonings/spices this vegetable can make a delicious dish.

Growing up, stir-fry bitter melon would often show up as a side dish on my family’s dinning table. My mom would cook the vegetable with garlic, shallots, and chili peppers. Whenever the dish appeared, I would have a bite and convince myself that it would be less bitter from the last time I tried it. Of course, it was never the case. Each time it showed up on the table, I would always have a bite. I guess after years of “having a bite” of it, I grew to like this dish.

It had been years since the last time I had stir-fry bitter melon. At a recent trip to the market, I saw one bitter melon left on its section on the vegetable rack. I took it home and followed my mom’s recipe. But I also added my own twist to the dish: I added two cups of Shiitake mushrooms and a little bit of light soy sauce.  The mushrooms definitely offered a sweet flavor and meaty texture to stir-fry. Both bitter melon and mushrooms absorbed the mix of garlic, shallots, chili peppers, and light soy sauce really well.  Here’s how I did the stir-fry:

To prepare:

  • Halve one bitter melon. Remove the core with a small knife (the most bitter part)
  • Slice them up into thin cuts
  • Fill up a medium bowl with ¼ of water and two tablespoons of salt
  • Soak the bitter melon cuts for an hour or so. The salt water helps get rid of the bitterness of the melon.

After an hour/two:

  • Rinse the bitter melon from the salt water, set aside. (Please rinse them really well. Otherwise they’d be too salty.
  • Chop three garlic, two shallots, and two Thai peppers
  • Heat up a medium pan on the stove
  • Add one tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil
  • Add the garlic, shallots, and peppers and let them cook in the pan for two minutes
  • Add one teaspoon of light soy sauce
  • Add the rinsed bitter melon to the pan
  • Add the stemmed and chopped Shiitake mushroom
  • Cover the pan with a lid and let everything cooks for 5-8 minutes (until the bitter melon cuts and mushrooms are soft)
  • Set aside and let it sit in the pan for a few minutes (10-15) to give some time for the dish to absorb all of the seasonings and flavors
  • Serve with jasmine rice

A great side dish to accompany my spicy squid (next blog entry).