Braised Pork and Chinese Cabbage

Butaniku to Hakusai no Kasane-ni

This rich dish, with pork loin, bacon, and chicken stock, is a Japanese casserole made on top of the stove. It’s especially appropriate for winter when you want warm and comforting food. Garlic and ginger complement the flavor of the cabbage which becomes sweet and juicy, while the fat from the bacon melts slowly and makes the broth silky smooth. For all its flavor and wonderful tenderness, this recipe is very easy to make.

Preparing the casserole:
Japanese Braised Pork Japanese Braised Pork Japanese Braised Pork and Chinese Cabbage
Layer pork and cabbage. Casserole after braising. Meat and vegetables
removed to a plate.

Braised Pork and Chinese Cabbage
Butaniku to Hakusai no Kasane-ni

serves 3 to 4

page 434

  • Japanese Braised Pork1 Tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon sake (rice wine)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 10 ounces boneless pork loin, sliced thin
  • 1 pound Chinese cabbage leaves
  • 1 small carrot, julienned in 2-inch lengths
  • 6 slices bacon, cut into halves
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped ginger
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • a few drops of tamari
  • 2 teaspoons potato starch or cornstarch mixed with 1 Tablespoon water
  • Fresh ground black pepper

In a bowl, combine the shoyu, sake, grated ginger, and garlic. Marinate the pork for 20 minutes.
Make several shallow, lengthwise cuts on the thick base of each cabbage leaf to keep the leaf from curling during cooking.
Divide the cabbage and carrot into four portions. Divide the pork, bacon, and chopped ginger into three portions. Place one portion each of cabbage and carrot on the bottom of a large shallow pot. Cover with one portion each of pork, bacon, and ginger. Add another poriton each of cabbage and carrot, followed by more pork, bacon, and ginger. Repeat this process once more, and then finish the layering with cabbage and carrot.
Pour in the chicken broth, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Cook the mixture for 20 to 25 minutes.

Note: at this point, I removed the meat and vegetables from the pot. The next step in the original recipe calls for thickening the broth, and there wasn’t much space to stir in the potato starch so it wouldn’t form lumps. The food had cooked into a cohesive disk that was easy (thanks to Mr. Tess for helping with a second spatula!) to lift out. After all the careful layering, I wanted to serve the dish so the layers would remain intact.

Taste, and add a few drops of tamari, if you like. Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the potato-starch slurry. Cook, uncovered for 1 to 2 minutes, to thicken the broth. Add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
Serve the pork on individual dinner plates, with the broth poured over and bread or plain cooked white or brown rice alongside.

Japanese Braised Pork

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