We love and cook all different kinds of food at home, Polish, Mexican, Chinese, American, Greek, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese…you name it. But when I am super busy, I always go back to authentic Chinese for its simplicity and flexibility.
My family lives in Beijing so I grew up with food in Beijing Style, or “京味儿” in Chinese. Beijing style can be achieved with just a handful of spices: Sichuan pepper, garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and a bit salt.
Home cooking in China is also very intuitive – I make a stir fry with anything leftover from my fridge. As long as you know how each ingredient behaves, anything can pair together and create a beautiful dish.
Like today, we only have half Napa cabbage and some onion in the fridge. We always have flour tortilla in the pantry, which is similar to “Bing”, aka onion cake. So I decided to try to make “Chow Bing” with it. “Chow Bing” means “onion cake stir-fry”, just like Chow Mein, but instead of noodles, you fry strips of Bing with vegetables and meat.
This dish is on the starchy side so I want to add some salty bits in it. I found some leftover pickled mustard greens, aka Sui Mi Ya Cai. But any pickled dry vegetable should do.
Step one – Gather the materials:
- 4 flour tortilla, cut into thin stripes (I do not think corn tortilla works for this dish).
- Half cabbage (Napa or regular), also cut into thin stripes.
- Onion, stripes.
- Pickled mustard greens, minced.
- Garlic, smashed (I like eating them cooked but hubby does not. So I usually smash the cloves to get the flavor out, but leave them in one piece for easy separation).
- Cooking oil.
- Vinegar. I used rice vinegar one for the color – or the lack of – you can use any vinegar.
- Pepper – I like this dish a bit spicy, so I used a pinch of Sichuan pepper. You can leave it out, or use red pepper for spicy flavor. Red pepper works really well with this dish.
Step two – Fry the spices: peppers, garlic, and onion
Heat up the wok, pour a tbsp oil in, before it gets too hot, add peppers until it is fragrant. Add garlic, fry 30 seconds
Add onion, fry until soften.
Step three – Cook the cabbage.
Add all the cabbage and mix it well with the spices. keep stirring for a few minute. Napa cabbage and young cabbage both contain some water and should not stick to the wok. But if you are using regular cabbage, add a tbsp of water will not hurt.
Cook until the cabbage is reduced to half in size, add a bit vinegar, which will balance the sweetness of the cabbage.
Step four – Tortilla time.
Add tortilla stripes and pickled mustard greens, mix well. Add a bit water or stock into your wok. It not only prevents the tortilla from sticking to the wok, but also releases the salty flavor from the pickles and bring it into the tortilla and the cabbage.
I also threw in some leftover steak from my Mexican lunch. You can add any pre-cooked meat into this dish at this point. It is really flexible.
Stir and cover for a couple minutes until the tortilla is soft and its color darkens a bit.
Step five – Final spice.
Open the lid and give it a good stir. Let the tortilla absorb all the juice, and add salt to taste. I did not need to add any salt because my pickled veggie is salty enough.