Vegetarian Asian Veggies Recipe with Chinese Cabbage and Celery

Asian Veggies

Vegetarian Asian Veggies Recipe with Chinese Cabbage and Celery
Region / culture: Asia | Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet


Asian Veggies
Asian Veggies

Asian veggies, particularly Chinese cabbage, have been a staple in Asian cuisine for centuries. This recipe focuses on a simple yet flavorful way to prepare these vegetables, using ingredients that enhance their natural tastes without overpowering them. The addition of Chinese 5-spice powder adds a unique flavor that ties the dish together, making it a perfect side dish or a main course for those looking for a lighter meal.


The history of using Chinese cabbage in cooking dates back to ancient times in China. It has been a crucial part of Asian diets due to its versatility, nutritional value, and availability. Over time, various regions in Asia have developed their own methods and recipes for preparing Chinese cabbage, incorporating local ingredients and cooking techniques. This recipe is inspired by traditional stir-frying methods, which aim to preserve the crisp texture and natural flavors of the vegetables.


  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • 2 onions, sliced into wedges
  • 3 stalks of celery, diagonally sliced into chunks
  • 0.5 tsp of Chinese 5-spice powder
  • 4 cups of prepared chinese cabbage (use the leaves whole, and prepare for cooking by simply washing, then cutting off the thick base of the stalks)

How to prepare

  1. 1. There are many different types of Chinese cabbage available. In general, they are all suitable for quick cooking methods such as stir-frying.
  2. 2. The names of these cabbages can be quite confusing as they often have different names in different areas of China.
  3. 3. For this recipe, use either Chinese white cabbage (Baa choi, Bak choy, pak choy), Flowering Chinese cabbage (Choi sum), or Peking cabbage (Wong Nga Baak).
  4. 4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok.
  5. 5. Add the onions and celery. Stir-fry for 2 - 3 minutes. If the pan dries out, add a little water.
  6. 6. Add the bok choy and the five-spice.
  7. 7. Stir fry over a high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously.
  8. 8. Serve immediately.


  • Consider adding other vegetables such as bell peppers, snap peas, or mushrooms for variety. For a spicy kick, a dash of chili flakes or a splash of soy sauce can enhance the flavors.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best results, make sure your wok or frying pan is very hot before adding the oil. This will help to sear the vegetables quickly, keeping them crisp. Also, cutting the vegetables into uniform sizes ensures they cook evenly. Adding a small amount of water to the pan can help to steam the vegetables slightly, making them tender without being overcooked.

Serving Suggestions

This dish can be served as a side to a protein-rich main course or enjoyed on its own for a light meal. It pairs well with rice or noodles for a more filling option.

Cooking Techniques

Stir-frying is the recommended technique for this recipe, as it quickly cooks the vegetables while preserving their texture and nutrients. Ensure to stir continuously for even cooking.

Ingredient Substitutions

If Chinese 5-spice powder is not available, a combination of ground star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, and fennel seeds can be used as a substitute.

Make Ahead Tips

The vegetables can be sliced and prepared ahead of time, stored in the refrigerator until ready to cook. However, for the best texture, it's recommended to stir-fry the vegetables just before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the stir-fried vegetables in a large bowl or platter, garnishing with sesame seeds or green onions for added color and flavor.

Pairing Recommendations

This dish pairs well with white or brown rice, quinoa, or noodles. For a protein complement, consider tofu, chicken, or fish.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat in a pan over medium heat until warmed through, adding a little water if necessary to prevent drying out.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

This dish is low in calories, with the majority coming from the vegetables themselves. The total calorie count per serving is approximately 100-150 calories, making it an excellent option for those monitoring their calorie intake.


This dish is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the primary sources being the onions and celery. Chinese cabbage is also low in carbs, making this a suitable dish for those on low-carbohydrate diets.


The only source of fat in this recipe is the tablespoon of oil used for stir-frying. Using a healthy oil such as olive or coconut oil can add beneficial fats to the dish without increasing the saturated fat content significantly.


While this dish is primarily vegetable-based and not high in protein, Chinese cabbage does contain small amounts of protein. For a higher protein meal, consider adding tofu or a lean meat such as chicken or shrimp to the stir-fry.

Vitamins and minerals

Chinese cabbage is an excellent source of vitamins K, C, and A, as well as minerals like calcium and potassium. Onions and celery also contribute additional vitamins and minerals, making this dish a nutrient-dense option.


This recipe is free from common allergens such as nuts, dairy, and gluten. However, those with allergies to specific vegetables should adjust the recipe accordingly.


Overall, this Asian veggies recipe is a healthy, low-calorie dish rich in vitamins and minerals. It's low in carbohydrates and fats, making it suitable for a wide range of dietary needs.


This Asian veggies recipe offers a healthy, flavorful option for incorporating Chinese cabbage into your diet. With its low calorie and high nutrient profile, it's suitable for a variety of dietary needs and preferences. Whether served as a side or a main dish, it's sure to be a delightful addition to any meal.

How did I get this recipe?

I vividly remember the moment I discovered this recipe for Asian Veggies. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Mei in her cozy little kitchen. Mei was a master in the culinary arts, and I always admired her ability to turn simple ingredients into delicious dishes that delighted the senses.

As I sat at her kitchen table, sipping on a cup of fragrant green tea, Mei busied herself at the stove, her hands moving with grace and precision as she chopped, stirred, and sautéed. The air was filled with the enticing smells of ginger, garlic, and soy sauce, and I couldn't help but feel my mouth water in anticipation.

"What are you making, Mei?" I finally asked, unable to contain my curiosity any longer.

Mei smiled at me over her shoulder, her eyes twinkling with mischief. "Ah, my dear friend, I am making a dish that I learned from my grandmother in China. It's a simple recipe for Asian Veggies that is both healthy and delicious. Would you like to learn how to make it?"

I eagerly nodded, and Mei beckoned me over to the stove. She handed me a knife and a cutting board, and together we began to prepare the vegetables – crisp snow peas, vibrant bell peppers, tender broccoli florets, and earthy mushrooms. As we worked, Mei shared with me the story of how she had learned this recipe from her grandmother, who had passed it down through the generations.

"My grandmother always said that food is not just nourishment for the body, but also for the soul," Mei explained, her voice soft and reverent. "She believed that each ingredient carries its own energy and essence, and that by combining them in harmony, we can create a dish that is not only delicious but also healing and invigorating."

I listened intently as Mei shared her grandmother's wisdom with me, feeling a deep sense of connection to this ancient tradition of cooking. As we finished preparing the vegetables and moved on to the next step of the recipe, Mei showed me how to create a flavorful sauce using soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and a touch of sugar.

"Balance is the key to a good dish," Mei said as she carefully adjusted the seasoning, her eyes focused and intent. "Too much of one flavor can overpower the others, but when everything is in harmony, the result is pure magic."

And indeed, as we sat down to enjoy our meal of Asian Veggies, I could taste the magic in every bite. The vegetables were perfectly cooked – tender-crisp and bursting with flavor – and the sauce brought a depth and richness that left me speechless. I savored each mouthful, feeling a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to learn from Mei and her grandmother's ancient wisdom.

From that day on, Asian Veggies became a staple in my own culinary repertoire. I made it for my family and friends, sharing with them the story of how I had learned the recipe from Mei and her grandmother. And each time I cooked it, I felt a connection to a long line of cooks and food lovers who had come before me, passing down their knowledge and passion through the generations.

As I sit here now, reflecting on that warm summer day in Mei's kitchen, I am grateful for the gift of this recipe and the memories it holds. It is a reminder of the power of food to nourish not just our bodies, but also our spirits – a reminder that the act of cooking is a sacred one, filled with love, tradition, and a deep sense of connection to those who came before us.

And so, whenever I make Asian Veggies, I do so with reverence and gratitude, honoring the legacy of Mei and her grandmother, and carrying their ancient wisdom forward into the present moment. For in the simple act of cooking, we can find a profound sense of connection to our past, our present, and our future – a connection that transcends time and space, and reminds us of the beauty and power of sharing a meal with those we love.


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