This Cabbage Rice aka Cabbage Fried rice is packed with flavor, tastes delicious and is quick to make if you have some precooked rice. Cabbage fried rice is a variation of the Classic Chinese Vegetable Fried Rice. But this is made with plenty of cabbage as it is the star ingredient of the dish. Stir fried cabbage, garlic and chilies impart a magical flavor to this cabbage rice.
Made without the use of any sauces, this would really surprise anyone with its unique flavor and taste that comes from the crisp fried cabbage. Vinegar adds a slight tart flavour. You can use any sauces you prefer like soya sauce, sri racha or schezwan sauce.
I have made a vegetarian version here but if you eat eggs, you may use them as well. I have included the instructions for the same in the pro tips section below.
To add some protein to the cabbage rice I have also used a handful of frozen green peas. You may substitute them with bell peppers or leave out from the recipe.
For this recipe, you will need rice that is perfectly cooked but not mushy or overcooked. You may cook it in a pot, cooker or Instant pot, but pot gives you the best results as you can closely watch the rice while cooking.
I have used aged basmati rice here but you may use any other non-sticky kind like Jasmine rice or Sona Masuri. Also make sure you don’t use newly harvested rice for this so the grains in the cabbage rice stay perfectly cooked and not sticky.
You can also replace rice with cooked quinoa in this recipe.
How to Make Cabbage Fried Rice (Stepwise Photos)
1. Cook Rice: Rinse half cup rice (serves 1 person) well a few times until the water runs clear. Drain the water completely and pour 1 cup fresh water. Bring it to a rolling boil and then reduce the heat. Cover and cook on a low heat until all of the water has evaporated and the rice is perfectly cooked. Turn off and keep covered for 5 mins. Later fluffy up with a fork and cool completely.
2. While the rice cooks , prepare the cabbage. For this recipe you will need about 2 cups chopped cabbage. But you may double or triple the recipe. Cut cabbage to quarters and blanch them in salted warm water for about 10 to 15 mins. Rinse them in fresh water several times. Drain water completely. Remove the core and the tough parts.
Chop to slices and then chop as desired. A food processor eases the work, if you have one you can use it. To make a good cabbage rice, make sure there is no water drippings in the chopped cabbage as that turns mushy. Set this aside.
Make Cabbage Rice
3. Add 1½ tablespoon oil to a hot wok or pan. Use a wide pan if you do not have a wok, a small pan may not be a good choice to fry cabbage.
4. Add 1 to 2 slit deseeded green chilies and 2 to 3 chopped garlic cloves. Fry until garlic smells good. I also add a small star anise and a single strand of mace, they add a very good flavor to the rice. Use enough chilies for heat or use crushed black pepper later. We don’t want bland rice.
5. Make sure the flame is set to high. When the garlic turns fragrant, add cabbage and 1/4 cup green peas (optional).
6. Fry for 2 to 3 mins. Add ½ teaspoon vinegar.
7. Continue to fry until the cabbage turns slightly golden and tender yet crisp. This takes only 2 to 3 mins. Cabbage begins to smell very good now.
8. Pour 1 to 2 tsps soya sauce (optional). Add cooled rice, sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ crushed black pepper. Add more black pepper if you have not used green chilies.
9. Mix everything well and fry for 2 to 3 mins. If making for office/ school lunch box, I suggest not to over fry. Just a minute of frying is enough.
Delicious cabbage fried rice is ready.
To use eggs, after stir frying the cabbage for 2 mins, slide it to a side in the wok. Reduce the heat and pour the eggs in the center. Scramble the eggs until almost cooked yet soft. Mix everything together and pour soya sauce if you prefer.
But if you want to make this recipe for more servings, scramble the eggs at the beginning and remove to a plate. Add that back to the pan along with rice.
To make more than 3 servings, it is best to fry the cabbage rice in smaller batches (1 to 2 servings). Frying large amounts of cabbage often releases moisture and turns out mushy unless you use a very large wok and a large burner.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup rice (or 1⅓ cooked rice)
- 2 cups cabbage chopped
- ¼ cup Green peas (optional)
- 1 to 2 green chilies (deseeded & slit, or thai green chilies or serrano peppers)
- 1½ tablespoons oil (any cooking oil)
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic chopped finely
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon rice vinegar (or apple vinegar)
- ¼ teaspoon Salt (adjust to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (crushed)
- 1 to 2 teaspoon soya sauce (optional)
- Rinse rice well until water runs clear. Drain completely. Pour 1 cup cup water and bring it to a rolling boil.
- Reduce the heat. Cover and cook on a low heat until the rice is fully cooked but not mushy. Turn off the heat. Fluffy up with a fork and cover. Rest aside for 5 mins. Later fluff up with a fork and cool completely.
- Quarter cabbage and add them to a large pot of warm water. Add some salt and leave for 5 mins. Later rinse them under running water. Shake off to drain all of the excess water.
- Cut quartered cabbage to slices and then chop. Add them a colander and shake/ toss to drain excess moisture. Set aside.
How to Make Cabbage Rice
- Heat a wok with oil on a high heat. Add garlic and chilies and fry until fragrant for about 30 to 60 seconds. I also add a star anise and a strand of mace for flavor. This is optional.
- Add cabbage and peas. Fry for 2 to 3 mins on the highest flame. Add vinegar.
- Saute for few more mins until the cabbage turns slightly golden yet crunchy.
- Pour soya sauce (optional). Add rice, pepper and salt. Mix and fry for another 1 to 2 mins. Do not over cook.
- Serve cabbage rice hot or warm.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Cabbage Rice first published in December 2015. Updated & Republished in July 2022.
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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