Napa cabbage – also known as Chinese cabbage – is a long yellowy-green oblong cabbage, tightly packed and thick. The leaves are slightly frilled.

Flavour-wise, it is a bit sweeter than regular cabbage, and goes well in salads. The Chinese use it for a filling in dumplings, and it tastes delicious in Asian-style dishes with the silky sauces used.

Choosing a napa cabbage

Choose fresh-looking, firm leaves, and avoid wilted leaves or limp stems.

To prepare napa cabbage

You need to wash the leaves thoroughly, as bugs like to live inside these cabbages, pesticides or not.

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Pull all the leaves off, and rinse under cold water, leaving to drain in a colander or paper towels.
  2. Chop the cabbage whole, into small chunks, and then rinse this pile of cut leaves in a colander.

To cut the cabbage you can use a knife, or to be quicker, use a pair of large kitchen scissors. Pile up about five leaves (or as many as will fit in your particular pair of scissors) and cut several together to save time. Generally you just cut the napa cabbage into five or six wide pieces, so each piece has a piece of stalk with a green piece of either side.