Chinese Tom Leafery

Cooking time
Serves4-6 people
Vegans Gluten-free diets

How can you make a whole head of Chinese leaf disappear in a flash? Try this recipe…

19 ratings


  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ red chilli (more or less, to taste), finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick or a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 690g passata*
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Chinese leaf (or you could use green cabbage)
  • 1 lime
  • A handful of toasted cashews or sesame seeds (optional)

*If you don’t have passata, swap for 2 tins of tomatoes blitzed in a food processor till smooth.

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1. Add a splash of oil to a large, hot frying pan. Add the garlic, chilli, ginger, cinnamon and bay. Sizzle till fragrant and just softened.
2. Swirl in the passata. Add a good twist of pepper and the soy sauce. Let it simmer while you cook the Chinese leaf.
3. Cut the Chinese leaf into 3cm-thick rounds. Halve each round. Chop up into smaller bits.
4. Add a drop of oil to a large, hot frying pan. In 2-3 batches, add some cabbage to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Sizzle just till it picks up a hint of colour on the edges. Fold into the simmering sauce.
5. Add a good squeeze of lime juice. Taste. Add more chilli or soy, if needed. Simmer for 10 mins or till everything is mingled together.
6. Finish with a scattering of toasted cashews or sesame seeds, fresh coriander, and some dried chilli flakes if you've got some to hand. Delicious as a side with thin slices of steak and rice.
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