The recipe for these Stir-Fried Bagels with cabbage and bacon is an invention of the staff of Lejen Chen’s bagel shop in Beijing. Entrepreneur Lejen Chen was born in Taiwan, raised in Brooklyn, and wanted a taste of New York when she moved to China. Her bagel shop is called Mrs. Shanen’s Bagels.
One of her cooks, who was unfamiliar with bagels, decided to try a bagel by using it to replicate the Beijing street food caobing, which is a stir fry of cabbage, pork, and laobing, which is a type of Chinese scallion pancake. Evidently it was a big hit with the bagel shop’s staff.
Who knew that you could stir fry bagels? Here’s a wonderful story from the New York Times about Lejen Chen and bagels in Beijing.
To me, this dish is a fresher version of bread stuffing. It consists of cubed bagels, about a pound of green cabbage, ginger, garlic, Sichuan peppercorns, and rendered bacon tossed in bacon fat, soy sauce, and rice vinegar.
Bottom line, I loved this stir fry. I’m not sure how to introduce it to dinner guests…. I am kind of fantasizing about bringing this stuffing to a Thanksgiving potluck. Wouldn’t that be cool?
The original recipe calls for plain bagels. I had a couple of sesame seed bagels in the freezer, so I used those, and they worked just fine. Personally, I prefer making stuffing with stale bread, so using stale bagels was perfect.
Just like bread stuffing, this dish made great leftovers too.
I am participating in Wok Wednesdays. You can find this recipe on page 255 of Grace Young’s award winning book, Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge. If you are interested in authentic recipes and stories of the Chinese diaspora, this book is excellent and the accompanying stories are fascinating. My copy is well loved and splattered with soy sauce and peanut oil.
You can also find the recipe on this site.