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Mille-Feuille Nabe

Course Dinner
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword dashi, easy, fall, japanese, napa cabbage, pork belly, winter
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 dashi packets
  • 1 large napa cabbage (about 2½-pounds)
  • 1 pound thinly sliced pork belly
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger
  • 1 green onion (finely chopped)
  • ponzu sauce (for serving)
  • shichimi togarashi (Japanese mixed chili pepper)(for serving)

Instructions

  • Prepare a 10-inch pot or dutch oven.
  • Cut the cabbage into quarters lengthwise. Do not remove the bottom. Carefully wash each quarter under running water and keep the whole thing intact. Set aside and let it drain. Continue with the other quarters. Reserve any leaves that got washed off.
  • In a medium pot over medium-heat, add 6 cups water and 2 dashi packets. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Discard the packets and remove from heat. Set aside.
  • Back to the cabbage, lay a slice of pork belly in between the cabbage leaves. If the leave is big, you can put 2 slices of pork belly side-by-side. After the cabbage is all stuffed, trim off the cabbage bottom. While holding the cabbage quarter tight together, carefully cut the quarter lenthwise into 2½-inch pieces.
  • In the prepared pot, starting from the outer edge, place the cabbage & pork layers. Make sure everything is packed tightly. If needed, put some of reserved leaves in the middle.
  • Measure out 5 cups of dashi broth (not all) to a large bowl. Add sake, soy sauce and salt to the bowl.
  • Place the ginger slice on top of the cabbage and pour in the dashi mixture.
  • Cook over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until cabbage is tender and meat is cooked through, about 5 – 8 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped green onion. Serve with ponzu sauce and shichimi togarshi.

Notes

  1. Dashi packets can be bought in Japanese supermarket or Amazon. You can also make your own dashi or use instant dashi powder.
  2. Pre-cut pork belly slices can be found in most Asian supermarkets. If not, you maybe able to get them from stores like Whole Foods. Ask the butcher to cut them very thin for you.
  3. Ponzu sauce and shichimi togarashi can be found in most Asian supermarkets or Amazon, like this and this.
  4. I like to start with stuffing just 3 quarters of the cabbage. Then I cut them and tuck them into the pot. If I need more, I continue to stuff the last quarter. That way, I don’t run into the problem of having too much stuffed cabbage, but no space in the pot.
  5. Make sure everything in the pot is tightly packed before cooking. If not the dish may not look as beautiful as leaves and pork fall over. If needed, you can add mushroom in the center to fill up space.
  6. I like to serve this dish with steamed white rice.
  7. When eating, watch out for the hot cabbages. They are so hot that they can burn your tongue.
(Adapted from Just One Cookbook)