A Type Of Cabbage That Has A Large Round Stem ( napa cabbage)

Do you know what is a type of cabbage that has a large round stem? After all, it is a frequently asked question that we often come across.

Well, this large round-stem cabbage is known as “Napa Cabbage”.

If you enjoy Asian cuisine but haven’t tried napa cabbage yet, it’s time to get acquainted with this cruciferous veggie star. While it may look similar to common green cabbage at first glance, napa cabbage has a uniquely large, rounded stem separating its tender, pale green leaves. Originating from China, napa cabbage (also called Chinese or celery cabbage) is now a dietary staple across Eastern Asia due to its pleasantly mild flavor and impressive nutritional profile. As one of the most widely used types of cabbage in Asian home cooking and restaurants, napa cabbage offers tremendous versatility.

Let’s uncover everything you need to know about selecting, storing, and preparing this specialized cabbage with the characteristic large rounded stem.

All About Napa Cabbage

Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a type of cabbage cultivated across East Asia. Unlike the common green or red cabbage varieties found in most supermarkets, napa cabbage has a pale green color and a distinctly large round stem. In this blog post, we’ll dive deeper into all things napa cabbage, including its history, nutritional facts, culinary uses, and how to select and store this unique cabbage variety.

Origin and History of Napa Cabbage

Napa cabbage originated in China and Korea and has been cultivated there for over 2,000 years. It made its way to Japan likely sometime between 900-1200 AD. All three East Asian countries cherish napa cabbage as a staple ingredient in their regional cuisines.

While its exact origins are unknown, napa cabbage is believed to have descended from wild cabbage indigenous to coastal regions of northeast Asia. Over centuries of cultivation, selections were made for cabbage varieties best suited to different climates and cooking styles across China, Korea, and Japan. This led to the wide variation seen today in napa cabbage sizes, shapes, and textures.

Nutritional Profile of Napa Cabbage

Nutritional Profile of Napa Cabbage

Though low in calories at just 16 calories per cup, napa cabbage packs a nutritional punch. It contains no saturated fat or cholesterol and is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and fiber. Some key nutrients include:

  • Vitamin K (136% DV per cup): Essential for blood clotting and bone health.
  • Vitamin C (27% DV): Powerful antioxidant that supports immune function.
  • Fiber (3.6g per cup): Promotes healthy digestion and lowers cholesterol.
  • Folate (8% DV): Important for cell growth and DNA synthesis.

With anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, napa cabbage is a superfood cruciferous vegetable that should be a regular part of a balanced diet. Its mild flavor means it can easily sneak nutrition into many Asian-inspired dishes and soups.

Storing Napa Cabbage

With proper storage, napa cabbage can last 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator. Remove any loose or damaged outer leaves and wrap the head loosely in plastic wrap or place in a perforated plastic bag. Refrigerate in the crisper draw where humidity is higher.

Check cabbage regularly and discard if signs of rot appear. Cut or shredded cabbage pieces can also be placed in an airtight container or sealed bag for 3-5 days.

Popular Ways to Cook with Napa Cabbage
Cook with Napa Cabbage

Given its mild flavor and crispy-crunchy texture, napa cabbage is extremely versatile and lends itself to many different cooking methods and cuisines. Here are some popular ways this unique cabbage is prepared:

  1. Kimchi: The iconic spicy Korean pickled cabbage dish made with napa cabbage, chili peppers, garlic, and other aromatics.
  2. Suimai: Shanghainese steamed cabbage dumplings filled with ground pork and wood ear mushrooms.
  3. Cabbage Rolls: Napa leaves stuffed with ground meat, rice, and seasoning, then baked or simmered in sauce.
  4. Stir-Fried Cabbage: Lightly cooked with garlic and oyster sauce or soy sauce for an easy Asian-inspired side.
  5. Hot Pot: Thinly sliced cabbage is perfect for Chinese or Korean-style boiling hot pots.
  6. Soup: Napa adds nutrition and texture to miso soup, chicken soup, or other light broth-based recipes.
  7. Shira-ae: A chilled Japanese salad of napa cabbage tossed with tofu dressing.
  8. Pickled Cabbage: Quick fermented pickle made from shredded cabbage, salt, and seasonings.
  9. Wraps and Rolls: Thin strips of cabbage work well for spring rolls, egg rolls, or lettuce wraps.

As you can see, with its mild taste and crunchy-yet-tender texture, napa cabbage brings versatility to both Asian home cooking and international cuisine fusion recipes alike. Get inspired to start incorporating this unique cabbage into your meals.

Tips for Preparing Napa Cabbage

Here are some final tips for preparing napa cabbage:

  • Remove and discard any wilted or bruised outer leaves. Trim and discard the tough bottom stem section if very thick.
  • Halve or quarter the cabbage head lengthwise so it’s easier to clean the interior thoroughly. Swish cut sides in cold water to remove any dirt or insects hiding inside.
  • For salads or other raw uses, shred or thinly slice the leaves crosswise using a sharp knife or mandoline.
  • For stir-fries or braising, stack a few leaves and roll tightly before slicing crosswise into 1/4-inch wide strips.
  • To soften leaves for wraps or stuffing, blanch halved cabbage heads in boiling water for 30-60 seconds until just wilted before using.

Overcooking will cause napa cabbage to lose flavor and texture, so monitor cooking times carefully based on your method and desired doneness.


The cabbage variety with the large round stem is a type of cabbage that provides a unique flavor and texture to dishes. However, we hope our included information gave you a great overview of napa cabbage, from its origins and nutritional benefits to different preparation and cooking methods utilizing this unique and versatile Asian veggie staple. Give it a try in your kitchen – you’re sure to find new favorite ways to enjoy napa cabbage.


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