Sunday, August 2, 2009

Meat & Cabbage stew

This is a Japanese inspired dish. Cabbage is a very popular vegetable in Japan and is eaten raw with any deep fried dishes or braised with meat till soft. It is also high in vitamins and very cheap in terms of price compared to seasonal vegetables.
Japanese dishes tastes sweeter than Chinese versions as they use sugar and Mirin, a type of sweet cooking wine in most of their cooking. Other than Miso, a soy based paste, I seldom see alot of cooking using soy sauce and the gravy and soup base are normally clear in color and emphasis is more on the original and basic taste of the meat or vegetable ingredients.

I used low sodium chicken broth for this dish which goes well with the pork shoulder meat. I always purchase pork shoulder/butt with the least fat for stew. The presence of a little marbling fat makes the meat more juicy and succulent after cooking. In total, this dish requires 35 to 40 minutes of cooking with medium heat. The cabbage and carrots were added in the last 15 mins so as to retain a slight crunchiness and yet soft enough to complement the tender cooked meat.

1-1/2 lb pork shoulder butt meat
1/2 of a medium size green cabbage
3 carrots, cut to chunks
1 large red onion
1 thumb size knob of ginger, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp Mirin/ Japanese Sweet Cooking wine
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 tbsp corn flour
2 cups chicken broth
Corn starch: 1 tbsp corn flour mixed with 4 tbsp water


1)Cut the pork meat into chunks, similar to thumb size. Marinate with the Mirin, salt, pepper and sugar. Sprinkle the corn flour all over and mix throroughly. Let sit for 1 hour in the fridge.

2)Peel off the outer green and tough leaves of the cabbage. Position the cabbage with its sides down on the chopping board with the stem part facing to the left/right of your cutting hand. Cut it into half. Lay this half on its cut flat side on the chopping board. Cut & slice vertically from top to bottom into thin piles. Loosen the leaves and wash and soak in cold water.

3) Position and cut the red onion in exactly the same way as the cabbage.

4)Heat 3 tbsp of cooking oil in a braising pot. Saute the onion, garlic and ginger for 2 mins.

5)Add in the meat and mix thoroughly. Cover with lid and cook for 10 mins. Pour in the chicken broth and let simmer for 15 mins, stirring occasionally.

6) Using the spatula, shift the meat to one side of the pot and drop in the carrots and lastly, the cabbage leaves on the other side. Close lid and let simmer on medium heat for 10 mins.

7)Stir the contents of the pot and slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture. Stir to combine and cover lid and simmer further for another 5 mins.

8)Turn off heat and garnish with shredded omelette. Serve with rice.

Serves: 4 persons

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