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Jan 12, 2020

Stir-Fried Bagels with Cabbage and Bacon

This recipe for stir-fried bagels with cabbage and bacon is so completely and unexpectedly delicious! 

Stir-Fried Bagels with Cabbage and Bacon

This recipe for 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.

Stir-Fried Sesame Bagels with Cabbage and Bacon

Shopping list for stir-fried bagels with cabbage and bacon:

Bacon cut into 1/2 inch wide pieces

Ginger slices, smashed

Green cabbage (the regular kind, not Napa cabbage), cut into cubes

2 large plain or sesame bagels, fresh or stale, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Specialty ingredients include soy sauce, rice vinegar, dried red chili peppers, and Sichuan peppercorns.

From your pantry, you will need peanut or vegetable oil, chopped garlic, and salt.

Bagels with Cabbage and Bacon

How to make stir-fried bagels with cabbage and bacon:

First, set up your mise en place. This is essential when stir-frying because the process is so fast. I also like to keep this digital timer nearby to time each step. 

Next, heat your wok, add the oil, the chili, the ginger, and peppercorns and stir for just 10 seconds! 

After that, add the bacon pieces and cook for about 3 minutes until some of the fat has rendered, and then add the garlic. Add the cabbage and stir-fry for a minute. Next, add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and bagels.
Finally, cover the mixture and cook for about a minute, until the bagels soften just a bit. Add the salt, and stir-fry uncovered to just combine everything. 

Bagels with Cabbage and Bacon stir-fried

Bottom line, I loved this stir fry. To me, this dish is a fresher version of bread stuffing. 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.

You can find this recipe on page 255 of Grace Young's award winning book, Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge (Simon & Schuster, 2010). If you are interested in authentic recipes from 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.

Everything Bagels

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More bagel recipes:

If you are now craving bagels, be sure to check out these bagels from scratch recipes, all Karen's Kitchen Stories tested. Any one of them would be pretty tasty in this stir fry:

This recipe has been updated with a new recipe card and photos. 

Stir-Fried Bagels with Cabbage and Bacon

I hope you try this recipe. Even better, I hope you buy the book. I pretty much learned how to stir fry from the book. I also learned how to care for a carbon steel wok, navigate an Asian grocery store, and even stir-fry a whole lobster

Stir-Fried Bagels with Cabbage and Bacon in a bowl from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Stir-Fried Bagels with Cabbage and Bacon

Stir-Fried Bagels with Cabbage and Bacon
Yield: 6 servings
These stir-fried bagels with cabbage and bacon is so completely and unexpectedly delicious!


  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon neutral oil (peanut or vegetable)
  • 1 dried red chili pepper, stem cut off
  • 2 slices fresh ginger, smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 5 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 6 cups (about 1 pound) cubed green cabbage
  • 2 large stale bagels (plain or sesame seed), cut into 1/2 cubes
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


How to cook Stir-Fried Bagels with Cabbage and Bacon

  1. Combine the soy sauce and vinegar in a small bowl. 
  2. Heat your wok over medium high until a drop of water vaporizes within 2 seconds. 
  3. Add the oil, the chili, ginger, and peppercorns, and stir for 10 seconds. 
  4. Quickly add the bacon and reduce the heat to medium. Fry the bacon until it is slightly crispy, about 3 minutes. 
  5. Add the garlic to the wok and stir for 10 seconds, and then add the cabbage. 
  6. Increase the heat to medium high and stir fry for about a minute. 
  7. Add the soy sauce and vinegar mixture and then the bagels. Stir fry for one minute. Add the tablespoon of water, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for one more minute. 
  8. Remove the cover and sprinkle the mixture with the salt and stir one more time. 
  9. Serve immediately. 
Fat (grams)
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stir-fry, cabbage, bagels
Stir-fry, side dish
Chinese, Jewish

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Would you like to comment?

  1. This recipe was a delightful surprise! I would definitely use day-old bagels next time, for mine were super soft. Great photos - I need your lighting set-up!! Is that wok hei I see in the top photo? :)

  2. Hmmm...maybe bagels are breaking out of their box. Wonder what other possibilities await? This looks so refreshing.

  3. Karen...what a unique recipe! I know you describe it as a stuffing. But it's almost like an Asian panzanella. I love cabbage and the addition of bacon. So I'm definitely going to follow your links to this recipe! Beautiful photos, too!

  4. This is like my husbands dream come true. Three of his favorite things are bagels, bacon, and cabbage not to mention he loves Asian flavors. I cannot wait to try this unexpected stir fry!

  5. We have cabbage coming from the CSA this week, so I am going to sneak downstairs and put aside the leftover bagels I have so I can make this. I love fusion cuisine like this.

  6. This makes me think of Panzanella. I found that amazingly delicious and I'm sure this would be too!

  7. This is such an interesting idea! I've never thought of it but you know I'm going to try it.


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