Stir-fried Nai Bai

Nai Bai Stir Fry

Check Out: Easy Stir-fries

Nai Bai 奶白菜 (Bok Choy Sum/Dwarf or Baby Pak Choi/Milk Cabbage – thanks to commenters for the English names) is my favourite Chinese green at the moment. The leaves are curl, wrinkled and dark green with short stems resembling a miniature baby bok choy. We love this vegetable for its leafy and crunchy texture after cooking, and a simple plate of stir-fried Nai Bai (清炒奶白菜) makes its appearance on our dinner table almost weekly. This is a quick stir-fry and I usually serve it with a meat side dish such as ginger scallions pork or chicken, and steamed rice for a simple Chinese home-cooked meal. If you have not tried this vegetable before, do look out for it as it is really delicious. I like to keep my Chinese vegetable stir-fry minimum with garlic, ginger, salt and Chinese wine. But if you like to add depth and extra deliciousness to a Chinese vegetable stir-fry, add ikan bilis powder and fried lard for incredible flavour.

Nai Bai

Nai Bai Stir Fry

Stir-fried Nai Bai Recipe

The quantity of salt used in a Chinese vegetable stir-fry is usually too small for measurement - so I usually use a small pinch of salt for every 200 grams of Chinese greens and season to taste from there.

For easy cooking & eating, I trim and discard the bottom stems, leaving individual leafy greens with a short white stem for the stir fry. Feel free to leave the bottom ends intact if you prefer so.

Serves: 3-4

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 5 mins

Ingredients

  • 400 grams Chinese nai bai (奶白菜) ends trimmed and discarded; washed and dried thoroughly
  • 3 slices ginger sliced thinly
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp fried lard optional
  • 2 small pinches of salt to taste; add additional pinch if not using ikan bilis powder
  • 1/2 tsp ikan bilis powder optional; you can also cheat with instant ikan bilis seasoning powder
  • 2 tbsp Chinese wine Hua Tiao/Shao Hsing

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a wok and stir fry ginger and lard (if using) for 30 seconds. Add garlic and stir fry for another 30 seconds.
  2. Add nai bai to the wok, followed by salt and ikan bilis powder (if using). Stir-fry for a short few minutes on high heat, until the vegetables are just withered. Drizzle Chinese wine along the sides of the wok, turn off the flame after you smell the aroma of the wine seconds later.

Noob Cook Tips

  1. Nai bai is more commonly sold at wet markets in Singapore, although I do see it occasionally at the supermarkets.
  2. You can substitute this basic vegetable stir-fry recipe with any of your favourite Asian greens.
  3. To minimise oil splattering, air or spin dry the vegetables thoroughly before adding to the wok.
  4. Stir-frying vegetables briskly on high heat is the secret to beautifully green and crunchy vegetables.