This dish is all about pork and napa cabbage, cooked in a minimum way. They are simply layered to pack in a donabe, with a small amount of water and sake. There is not even dashi or salt. You can top them with some sliced ginger and mushrooms, and gently simmer for 25 – 30 minutes. The result is a tasty treat rich in umami, and it looks beautiful, too. The soup is also packed with all the natural flavors from the ingredients, so make sure to enjoy it with the dish, too.
EquipmentClassic-style Donabe (2.5-qt/ 2,500 ml or larger)
Servings3 - 4
- About 1 1/2 lbs (650 g) napa cabbage
- 1 lb (450 g) pork belly, cut into sukiyaki-thin slices
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) sake
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
- 1 small knob ginger, cut into very fine shreds (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2.5 oz (80 g) mushroom of your choice (I used golden enoki mushrooms in this recipe), cut if necessary
- Chopped mitsuba or green onion, for garnish
(Hatcho Miso & Black Sesame Sauce)
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) hatcho miso
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) Japanese black vinegar (can substitute with rice vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons Okinawa black sugar or raw brown sugar
- 2 gablespoons black sesame paste
- 1 tablespoon black sesame oil
Other dipping sauce suggestion:
- Place a piece of napa cabbage leaf on a cutting board. Lay a piece of pork belly slice on top of the napa cabbage. Layer with napa cabbage and pork belly two more times, and place another piece of napa cabbage. Set aside.
- With the remaining napa cabbage and pork belly, repeat the same process. The last set might be less layers than the other sets depending on how many napa cabbage leaves and pork slices you have, and that’s okay.
- Cut each set (from the bottom side) into 2” (5 cm) pieces, and start to fill the donabe from the outer side, by facing the cut side up. Make sure to pack up tightly.
- Pour the sake and water, and spread the ginger and mushrooms evenly over the napa cabbage and pork.
- Cover with lid, and set over medium-low heat. Cook for 25 – 30 minutes, or until everything is cooked through and the napa cabbage is very soft.
- While the donabe is cooking, make the sauces. To make Hatcho Miso Sauce, combine all the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth (or you can whisk by hand).
- Serve the dish into individual bowls at a table (with the soup), and enjoy with your choice of sauces.
Pack up the donabe with the napa cabbage and pork belly slices.
Pour the water and sake, then spread the ginger and mushrooms on the surface.
After gently simmering for about 30 minutes, the dish is ready. The aroma is amazing.
We like to enjoy with two kinds of sauces, but just one kind is good, too.