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Napa Cabbage

Why Eat It
Varieties
Availability
Shopping
Storage
Preparation
Nutrition Chart


Why Eat It

This Chinese cabbage variety, which forms a tight, oblong head, has pale-green to white leaves with frilled edges. A modest source of vitamin C, fiber, and folate (folic acid), Napa also contains cancer-fighting phytochemical compounds called indoles. Napa is delicious either raw--in the crispest cole slaw ever--or cooked, in stir-fries or soups.

Varieties

Most Napa cabbages form elongated heads, like Romaine lettuce, while others grow in rounded shapes.

Availability

Napa is sold in many supermarkets, in Asian food stores and gourmet shops. Asian markets are likely to have several types.

Shopping

A head of Napa cabbage should be tightly furled and heavy, the edges of the leaves crisp and moist. Large heads of Napa cabbage are sometimes cut in half lengthwise, wrapped in plastic wrap, and offered for sale, but it's best not to buy them, because the vitamin C content begins to diminish as soon as the head is cut.

Storage

Keep unwashed Napa cabbage in a loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to four days--it's more perishable than green cabbage.

Preparation

Use Napa either raw or cooked. Raw: Raw Napa, shredded and tossed with julienned carrots and red bell pepper, lightly dressed in your favorite dressing, makes a delicious cole slaw.

Sauteing or Stir-Frying: Heat a small amount of oil or broth in a large nonstick skillet. Add garlic and chopped fresh ginger and cook one minute. Add sliced Napa and saute until crisp tender, about five minutes. If you like, cook other vegetables such as shiitake mushrooms, bell peppers, or thinly-sliced carrots along with the Napa. Serve as a side dish. It can also be sauteed along with bacon and potatoes for an unusual take on the Irish dish colcannon.

Simmering: Drop sliced or shredded Napa into a pot of simmering broth along with other vegetables and pasta to make a substantial soup. Drop Napa into the pot during the final three minutes of cooking time.

Steaming: Slice Napa and place in a steamer over a pan of simmering water. Cook three to five minutes until crisp tender.

Nutrition Chart

Napa Cabbage/1 cup chopped, raw

12
Total fat (g)
0.2
Saturated fat (g)
0
Monounsaturated fat (g)
0
Polyunsaturated fat (g)
0.1
Dietary fiber (g)
2.4
1
Carbohydrate (g)
2
Cholesterol (mg)
0
Sodium (mg)
7
Vitamin C (mg)
21
Folate (mcg)
60


Date Published: 04/20/2005
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