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The many varieties of cabbage can be wildly dissimilar, but most have a short, broad stem and leaves or flowers that form a compact head.   The most common cabbages are green and red cabbage, collards, kohlrabi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale.  They're loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and possibly cancer-fighting compounds to boot.

baak choi  See bok choy

baby bok choy  See bok choy

bok choy = Chinese chard = Chinese white cabbage = Chinese cabbage = Chinese mustard cabbage = pak choy = pak choi = baak choi = white mustard cabbage = white celery mustard = taisai = bai cai    Pronunciation:   BAHK-choy   Notes:   Bok choy has crunchy stems and crinkled, spinach-like leaves.  It's usually stir-fried with other ingredients, but it can also be steamed or sautéed and served as a side dish.  Small heads of bok choy are called baby bok choy (left), and they're more tender than the larger variety.  Of the baby bok choys, bok choy sum = Canton bok choy has small yellow flowers (sum is the Chinese word for flower), while Shanghai bok choy is a uniform light green, doesn't have flowers, and isn't as sweet.   Substitutes:  Chinese broccoli OR yau choy OR napa cabbage (for stir-frying only; don't boil) OR broccoli OR Swiss chard OR celery (especially in stir-fry dishes) OR collard greens OR beet greens   

bok choy sum  See bok choy


Brussels sprouts   Notes:    These look like small cabbages, and they're most often boiled or steamed and served as a side dish.  They have a rather strong flavor, so it's best not to pair them with anything that's delicately flavored.   They don't store well, so use them within a day or two after purchasing.   Substitutes:  broccoli flowerets (cooks more quickly)  


cabbage  See green cabbage and red cabbage.  

cabbage turnip   See kohlrabi  

Canton bok choy  See bok choy

celery cabbage  See napa cabbage

Chinese cabbage  This name is used for both napa cabbage and bok choy.

Chinese celery cabbage  See napa cabbage

Chinese chard  See bok choy

Chinese leaf  See napa cabbage

Chinese mustard cabbage  See bok choy

Chinese white cabbage  See bok choy

choy sum   This is a general term in Chinese for the tender inner stalks and flowers of green vegetables.  White choy sum usually refers to bok choy, while green choy sum refers to yau choy. 

flowering cabbage  See flowering kale.

flowering kale = ornamental kale = flowering cabbage = flowering cole  Notes:  This is a beautiful cabbage used more often as a garnish than as a vegetable.    Substitutes:  kale (tastier, but not as pretty) OR collard greens (tastier, but not as pretty)

green cabbage  Equivalents:  One head yields about 8 cups shredded cabbage. Notes:  Cabbage is quite versatile.  You can cut it into chunks, boil it, and serve it with corned beef or other fatty meats.  You can also use cooked leaves as wrappers for meat fillings, or shred raw ones for cole slaw.    Select heavy heads of cabbage that have shiny leaves.   Substitutes:  red cabbage (This can discolor other foods if combined with them in a salad or cooked with them, but it tastes just like green cabbage.) OR napa cabbage (milder flavor and more delicate texture) OR savoy cabbage (great in slaws)  

hakusai  See napa cabbage

kohlrabi = cabbage turnip = stem cabbage = turnip cabbage   Pronunciation:  kohl-RAHB-ee or kohl-RAH-bee   Notes:  A kohlrabi resembles a turnip, only it's sweeter and more delicately flavored. It's light green and sometimes sold with its edible greens attached.  It can be eaten raw or cooked. Choose small ones, and peel before using.   Substitutes:  broccoli stems OR celeriac (especially in remoulades) OR turnips OR parsnips  

michihli  See napa cabbage.

napa cabbage = nappa cabbage = celery cabbage = Chinese celery cabbage = Peking cabbage = Chinese cabbage = wong bok = petsai = shantung cabbage = hakusai = Chinese leaf (leaves) = michihli   Notes:   Like bok choy, napa cabbage is a common ingredient in Asian stir-fries.  It can also be used as a milder and more delicate alternative to green cabbage in slaws and other recipes.  Substitutes:  bok choy OR cabbage (stronger flavor, takes longer to cook) OR savoy cabbage (stronger flavor, takes longer to cook) 

nappa cabbage  See napa cabbage

ornamental kale   See flowering kale

pak choi  See bok choy

pak choy  See bok choy

Peking cabbage  See napa cabbage

petsai  See napa cabbage

red cabbage  Equivalents:  One head yields about 8 cups shredded cabbage. Notes:   Red cabbage tastes just like green cabbage, so your choice between them depends largely on which color you prefer.  One problem with red cabbage, though, is that the color tends to bleed and discolor surrounding foods.   Select heavy heads of cabbage that have shiny leaves.   Substitutes:  green cabbage (This tastes just like red cabbage.) OR napa cabbage (milder flavor, more delicate texture) OR savoy cabbage (great in slaws)  

savoy cabbage  Notes:   Savoy cabbage is like ordinary cabbage, but with a milder flavor.  It can often be used in place of green cabbage, and your dish will probably be the better for it.    Substitutes:  cabbage (This has a stronger flavor and isn't as tender as savoy cabbage.) OR napa cabbage (This has a milder flavor.)  

Shanghai bok choySee bok choy.

shantung cabbage  See napa cabbage

 stem cabbage   See kohlrabi  

su choy  Notes:   This is just like napa cabbage, only elongated.  Substitutes:  napa cabbage

taisai  See bok choy 

turnip cabbage   See kohlrabi

white celery mustard  See bok choy

white mustard cabbage  See bok choy

wong bok  See napa cabbage


yau choy = yao choy = yow choy = yu choy = edible rape = flowering edible rape = green choy sum = you cai    Notes:   Yau choy is more tender and delicately flavored than other Asian cabbages.   Substitutes:  bok choy


Copyright © 1996-2005  Lori Alden