Hoisin Pork with Napa Cabbage

If you’re feeling kinda heavy after all that Christmas holiday eating, here is another great recipe I found in my Fine Cooking magazine. The best thing about it is, it’s got a lot of veggies in it. This recipe is a nice and quick dish, easy enough to make for a weekday meal.

Hoisin Pork with Napa Cabbage

hoisin pork with napa cabbage 2
By the way, why is this called a Napa cabbage? This cabbage has almost nothing to do with that valley in Northern California most famous for its wines. What’s up with that?


Napa cabbage is a tall, oblong-shaped cabbage with wide, white ribs and delicately curled, light yellow-green leaves similar to a Savoy cabbage. It is milder than regular cabbage and also not as dense. It’s also known as Chinese cabbage, but the Chinese call it “won bok”. The Koreans call it baechu, and it is my favorite kind of cabbage for kimchi.
Since this is a Chinese cabbage, how did it get the name “Napa”? Well, it turns out that the Japanese word for cabbage is “nappa”, so the name was probably picked up by English speakers there, and shortened to just the “Napa” spelling that we know today.
You could use Napa cabbage raw in salads and slaws. Or you can cook Napa cabbage as an ingredient in many Asian dishes like Vegetarian Chap Chye and Gyoza.

Hoisin Pork with Napa Cabbage

Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, Sept 2007, pp 98a
Serves four.
1 lb. pork tenderloin*, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips (about 3 inches long)
1 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
3 Tbs. hoisin sauce (I like Lee Kum Kee brand)
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs. canola or peanut oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
6 cups napa cabbage (won bok), cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 lb.)
1 red bell pepper, cored, thinly sliced, and cut into 2- to 3-inch lengths
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
(*Note: if you’re not into eating pork, you can substitute chicken or beef.)
1. In a large bowl, season the pork with 1/2 tsp. of the salt. In a small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and vinegar.
2. Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet or large stir-fry pan over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the pork and cook, stirring, until it browns and loses most of its raw appearance, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

browning pork in wok
3. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the skillet. Add the garlic, and once it begins to sizzle, add the cabbage. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, until the cabbage starts to wilt, about 2 minutes.

napa cabbage with hoisin sauce
4. Add the hoisin mixture, the pork, the bell peppers, and half of the chives and cook, tossing, until heated through, about 1 minute.

adding bell peppers
5. Let sit for 2 minutes off the heat (the cabbage will exude some liquid and form a rich broth), toss well again, and serve sprinkled with the remaining chives.

hoisin pork with napa cabbage
Serve over rice.

Aloha, Nate

6 thoughts on “Hoisin Pork with Napa Cabbage”

  1. I’m back to see this recipe again because we enjoyed it so mught the first time. This time I’m trying it with so-called country style pork ribs, since they’re cheaper and easier to buy just a pound. Question though: no mention of pepper in the ingredients, but it’s there in step 3 of the method. At first I thought you meant the bell peppers, but they show up in step 4. Anyway I guess I’ll just toss 1/4 tsp. or so in. Yum!

    1. Melissa – good catch! I’ve fixed the steps – you’re supposed to add the peppers in step 3, according to the original recipe. I guess Annie changed it a little to add it in step 4.

      I think “country-style ribs” (a.k.a pork butt steaks) would make an excellent substitution. Glad you liked the recipe!

  2. I don’t even remember how I found this recipe but I love it! Just made it tonight and my wife and oldest son enjoyed it too. I used chicken because that’s what was handy and we had pork last night. Worked really well.
    Thanks for a winner!

  3. I was looking for napa cabbage recipes and found your blog! Will be cooking it for dinner tonight! 🙂 Hope you are all keeping well! Take care, Karen Findlater @ Poh Ling from Samad

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