Wombok is far more flavour-sponging than other salad leaves, making this wombok salad a tasty side dish for almost any meal.

Wombok is available all year round in warmer, wetter climates, and is far more flavour-sponging and heat-responsive than its icy Brassica cousins.

Buying and storing wombok

Wombok doesn’t last as long as your traditional coldweather cabbages, so it’s best bought whole and used over a couple of nights. Look for bright, crisp white  flesh, and tightly packed leaves.

Read: You’re storing these groceries wrong—and tips to make them last longer 

Preparing and cooking wombok

Most cabbage recipes can have wombok subbed in; just be sure to reduce the cooking time or you’ll end up with a mushy mess. If using raw, soak the leaves as you might lettuce for extra crunch.

Wombok goes with

Carrot, coriander, Kewpie mayonnaise, oyster sauce, sesame (oil, seeds), soy sauce

Quick ideas for using wombok

  • Treat it like lettuce and toss chopped leaves through salads and slaws, and lighten with a half-kewpie/half-oil dressing.
  • Roast it like cabbage, quarter, blanch and roast in a 200°C oven for 15–20 minutes with plenty of oil until the tips get quite burnt. You can use the leaves for cabbage rolls too!
  • Stir-fry shredded wombok in a super-hot pan with plenty of ginger, a pinch of sugar and a splash of water (or stock) once the wombok wilts. Season to taste.

Wombok salad recipe (or as I like to call it, wombok noodle slaw)

Serves 6-8 as a side


  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced, cut into quarters
  • ½ wombok, about 600 g, finely shredded
  • 100 g crispy fried noodles (I use Chang’s)
  • ⅓ cup (50 g) chopped honey cashews

Plum sauce dressing

  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) plum sauce
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil


  1. Pop the spring onion and radish in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and taste for seasoning.
  3. Drain the radish and spring onion, then toss in a large bowl with the wombok. Scatter half the noodles and cashews over, and drizzle with half the dressing.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the remaining cashews and crispy noodles. Serve with the remaining dressing alongside, for last-second drizzling.

Images and text from The Little Box of Veg by Alice Zaslavsky, photography by Ben Dearnley. Murdoch Books RRP $29.99.

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