Braised Napa Cabbage in Cream Sauce

It's only been 10 days but has everyone stuck to their New Year's resolution to eat healthier and stay fit? No other time are gyms flooded with folks hyper-motivated to meet goals built out cyclical tradition than now. I made my pact to avoid overeating a long time ago, and yes, I've fallen off that wagon many a times, but to be honest I was pretty oblivious to the problem. You'll see in this story how much trouble could be had from overeating.

It was never apparent to me that I was overweight because I was pretty happy in whatever state of yesteryears. I owe the current figure, for better or worse, to my little boy who single-handedly wrings out the fat and kicks my butt everyday. So thanks to you, Alex, I have a good reason to replenish my closet.

Since everyone seems to have a sworn cabbage soup recipe that will melt the fat off, I thought I'd add another one. I'm not sure if this is going to do much to melt the fat but it is surprisingly elegant for a simple recipe. This recipe comes from chef Ken Hom who is a renown authority on Chinese cuisine. While the recipe does not call for cream, the resulting flavor and body of the broth resembles a creamy soup. This is a dish good for any night but also has space at the table for a special occasion.

Braised Napa Cabbage in Cream Sauce
Slightly adapted from Ken Hom Complete Chinese Cookbook

  • 1 lb Napa cabbage
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced 
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water 
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch


  1. Cut the Chinese leaves into 2 inch wide strips. Heat the wok. Add oil and heat until hot and slightly smokey. Add the garlic, stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add the cabbage leaves, stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the stock or water to the wok, season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat, cover the pan and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes, until the cabbage leaves are softened. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cabbage leaves from the pan and place into a serving dish. 
  2. Reduce the remaining liquid by half. Mix the cornstarch with roughly 1 Tablespoon cold water and add to the broth. Heat through to thicken. Pour the thickened stock over the cabbage leaves and serve at once.
Random Pictures

New Year's Eve at The Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, PA

Late pictures of Christmas in New York
Christmas in New York

Murray's Cheese on Bleeker

Lauduree on Madison Ave. 

Plaza Hotel on Central Park South



Sounds like my kind of soup: simple and fast.
I enjoyed looking at your random pictures. Your little man is growing up fast :)
Happy New year Christine!

Belinda said...

This looks so simple and comforting! I love that photo with the snowman! The pure joy!

From the Kitchen said...

Oh the joy of a boy in the snow! I am picturing myself toting bags full of cheeses and sweets--love the photo memories. I will add this to my "weight loss" soup. Maybe it will be the one that works. If not, there's always next year.


Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Comfort and simplicity. What more could one ask for? Congratulations on keeping your weight under control. It's easy to slip off the wagon and keep on rolling along.

Love the photo of Alex. The northeast looks lovely in the winter as long as I can view it from afar :)

Erica said...

Love NYC and your dish is so simple, but sounds delicious. My husband loves cabbage and I am always looking for recipes....your little one is beautiful!

Deana Sidney said...

YOu take the best pictures.

I actually love cabbage (unlike my dearly beloved who HATES IT). I have to gird myself for days of the stuff when I buy it since I'm the only one eating it. Always good to have new ways to use it. This looks awfully good.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I would love a big bowl of this luscious-looking cabbage! I'll be bookmarking it for later in the week :)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I forgot to add how much I love that shot of Alex! Pure bliss :)

Magic of Spice said...

I remember that post :)
Such a beautiful soup...big bowl of warm and cozy! Love all the fun photos :)

tasteofbeirut said...

What a fantastic pic of little Alex in the snow!
We still have huge cabbages here and after rolling hundreds of leaves, I am out of inspiration. This soup sounds perfect!!! Thanks!!!

Barbara said...

Love your photos, Christine. Alex looks so cute in the snow pic! I spent a week in NYC over Thanksgiving with my daughter...such foodie fun! Love the city.
Your cabbage soup looks super simple and super delicious!

Jamie said...

Happy New Year, Christine! And could I borrow Alex for a while so I can lose the weight I've put on? He is stupendously adorable! And so is this soup. I grew up being forcefed my mom's Russia cabbage soup which was horrid. Yours looks amazing! And anything Ken Hom must be delicious. Great recipe for the winter.

nancy at good food matters said...

Happy New Year! I just love the picture of Alex and the snowman--what a great thing to see on this cold grey morning.
I like Ken Hom's recipes, so I know this must be delicious. It's nice to have creamy things without the cream.

Lori said...

This sounds delicious! I'm looking to focus this year on simple recipes like this so I can't wait to try it. I love your pictures. We are planning a pre-holiday visit to New York this year and I already can't wait.

Claudia said...

I do a similar soup with cauliflower so fun to find something new and love Napa cabbage. So comforting now. Love visiting NYC through your photos but now I have itchy feet to get to Murray's cheese shop.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I have had a hankering for cabbage... now that the weather is cold, I'm set!

El said...

I do remember your seam splittings story. Honestly, you look amazing. The recipe looks great too.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Cabbage is such an underused vegetable...I'm sure the soup is very good.

sunday said...

my kind of soup=)

lisa is cooking said...

A creamy soup without the cream sounds perfect! And, lots of cabbages have been arriving from our CSA lately. I'm hoping that in another couple of weeks the gym won't be so crowded, but maybe I'm wrong and everyone will stick to their resolutions this year!

Barbara said...

A perfect soup, Christine. Easy to make and we love cabbage around here.
Super photos!

Ginny Simon said...

I can never resist a recipe with garlic. I'm hooked on the stuff, must try this soon. Thank you!

Mama's Lebanese Kitchen said...

The cabbage and garlic combination looks awesome!! I can only imagine that adding a couple of squirts from fresh lemons could do to this dish. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe Christine.