The marinade has such a rich flavor, and the creamy sesame paste makes it so aromatic. Once you have all the ingredients ready, all you need to do is just piling up the ingredients and build your excitement while waiting for the dish to cook. I love that I can taste so many different ingredients in this one dish, but you can always substitute or omit most of the ingredients as you like.
EquipmentClassic-style Donabe (2-qt/ 2,000 ml or larger)
(Marinade for the pork)
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon tobanjan (Chinese hot bean paste; optional)
- 2 tablespoons golden sesame paste (can substitute with tahini)
- 1 tablespoon raw brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 2 tablespoon mirin
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 14 oz (400 g) thinly-sliced pork butt, cut into bite-size pieces
- 7 – 8 leaves medium napa cabbage, cut into 1/2″ (5 cm) pieces
- 2 oz (60 g) gobo (burdock root; optional), thinly-shaved
- 5 oz (150 g) maitake mushrooms, trimmed and pulled apart by hand
- 1 oz (30 g) carrot, cut into 1/4″ (6 mm) thick matchsticks
- 7 oz (200 g) medium-firm tofu, drained and sliced into 6 pieces
- 1 cup (240 ml)kombu and bonito dashi or your choice of stock
- 2 oz (60 g) nira (garlic chives), cut into 2″ (5 cm) long
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Japanese black vinegar or rice vinegar (optional)
- Sliced dry chili (can substitute with red chili flakes) to serve
- Ground toasted golden sesame seeds or white sesame seeds
- Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade until smooth (gradually add the liquid ingredients so that the sesame paste won’t become lumpy). Add the pork and mix well by hand. Let the meat marinate for 15 – 30 minutes.
- To assemble the ingredients in the donabe, first, spread the napa cabbage evenly on the bottom. Add the gobo, carrot, and maitake mushrooms in loose layers, then spread the pork with the marinade in the center evenly.
- Arrange the tofu on top of the meat. Pour the dashi from the side.
- Cover with lid and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the meat is barely cooked through. Meanwhile, check a couple of times and stir the meat gently with chopsticks.
- Add the nira and dry chili, and cook for 1 minute. Stir the contents gently. Drizzle the black vinegar.
- Serve in individual bowls at the table and enjoy with some ground sesame seeds, if you like.