Japanese Pork and Napa Cabbage Soup

This easy and comforting Japanese napa cabbage soup consisting of thinly sliced pork belly and napa cabbage simmered in a dashi broth will leave you feeling warm and cozy all winter long!

One of my favorite Japanese dishes to make during the winter is this easy pork and cabbage soup. Not only is it warm and comforting, but it’s also healthy, low carb friendly, and very filling! And best of all, it’s super easy to make and will take less than 15 minutes from start to finish!

The flavors of pork, napa, and dashi combine to make a hearty soup full of amazing umami flavors. Enjoy this pork belly soup as is or as an accompaniment side soup to start off your meal!

Japanese Pork and Napa Cabbage Soup served in a white bowl with wooden spoon.

What is napa cabbage soup?

Pork belly and napa are simmered in an umami dashi broth for a light, healthy and nutritious soup.

What ingredients do I need and how do you make napa cabbage soup?

  • Thinly Sliced Pork Belly – about 1/8 inch thickness. Can usually be found in Japanese supermarkets or Asian markets.
  • Napa/Chinese Cabbage – washed and cut into 1-inch pieces.
  • Dashi – a soup base broth made from boiling bonito flakes. This is the base responsible for giving Japanese cuisine its signature umami flavor.
  • Ginger – takes the gaminess of pork belly away.
  • Salt – table salt or sea salt.
  • Japanese Sake – use Japanese cooking sake which is fairly inexpensive and can be found in most Asian supermarkets.
  • Ponzu – a citrus-flavored soy sauce found in most Japanese supermarkets.

Pack napa cabbage in soup (dashi broth) and simmer for 5-7 minutes until tender. Then add the pork belly and cook for an additional 2-4 minutes or until pork belly is cooked through. Serve napa and pork belly soup hot.

What is the difference between Napa cabbage and regular cabbage?

Green cabbage is the most common variety of cabbage and is shaped in a ball while napa cabbage, aka Chinese cabbage, is oblong shaped with green and yellow leaves.

From a nutritional perspective, napa cabbage is lower in net carbs and is packed with vitamin A compared to its counterpart.

Napa aka Chinese cabbage cut on a wooden cutting board.

What does napa cabbage look like?

Napa cabbage is a big leafy vegetable with tightly wrapped green leaves.

Do you need to wash napa cabbage?

Napa cabbage should always be washed to remove any dirt or debris. The best way to do this is by removing the leaves and dunking or running under clean water.

Where to buy napa cabbage?

You can purchase napa cabbage at many supermarkets or Asian supermarkets.

Thinly sliced pork belly laid out on wooden plank.

What are the nutrition information for this pork and cabbage soup recipe?

  • 399 Calories
  • 2g Carbohydrates
  • 1g Fiber
  • 7g Protein
  • 40g Fat
  • 55mg Cholesterol
  • 445mg Sodium
  • 214mg Potassium
  • 22mg Calcium
  • 0mg Iron
  • 89ui Vitamin A
  • 8mg Vitamin C

Ingredients for Japanese dashi broth.

Looking for other Japanese soup recipes?

Now, let’s get making this Japanese Pork and Napa Cabbage Soup recipe!

  • Prepping Time 5M
  • Cooking Time 10M
  • Total Time 15M
  • Net Carb/Serv ~4g
  • Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs Thinly Sliced Pork Belly (about 1/8 inch thickness)
  • 4-6 Leaves of Napa/Chinese Cabbage
  • 3-4 Cups Dashi (will depend on the pot size you use)
  • 1 Inch of Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Japanese Sake
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Ponzu

Directions

1) Gather all the ingredients.

2) Make 3 cups of Dashi (how to make dashi here).  Note – you can skip and substitute with water but will alter taste.

3) Slice ginger slices and set aside.

4) In a mixing bowl, add sliced ginger, salt, Dashi, Japanese sake and Ponzu.  Mix well and set aside.

5) Prepare napa cabbage by washing and cutting into 1 inch pieces.  Once cut, pack into a 1.5 quartz stovetop pot as shown below.

6) Pour over soup base and from step 4) into 1.5 quartz stovetop pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes until done to liking (we prefer our napa cabbage on the softer side).

7) Add in sliced pork belly and cook for 2-4 minutes (time will vary depending on the thickness of pork belly).

8) Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy the soup hot!

Hope you enjoy your Japanese Pork and Napa Cabbage Soup!

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More Recipes

Japanese Pork and Napa Cabbage Soup served in a white bowl.

Japanese Pork and Napa Cabbage Soup

This easy and comforting Japanese napa cabbage soup consisting of thinly sliced pork belly and napa cabbage simmered in a dashi broth will leave you feeling warm and cozy all winter long!
5 from 7 votes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: napa cabbage in soup, napa cabbage soup, pork and cabbage soup, pork belly soup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Print Recipe
Calories: 399kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs Thinly Sliced Pork Belly about 1/8 inch thickness
  • 4-6 Leaves Napa aka Chinese Cabbage
  • 3-4 Cups Dashi will depend on the pot size you use
  • 1 Inch Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Japanese Sake
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Ponzu

Instructions

  • Gather all the ingredients.
  • Make 3 cups of dashi (how to make dashi here). Note - you can skip and substitute with water but will alter taste.
  • Slice ginger slices and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, add sliced ginger, salt, Dashi, Japanese sake and Ponzu. Mix well and set aside.
  • Prepare napa cabbage by washing and cutting into 1 inch pieces. Once cut, pack into a 1.5 quartz stovetop pot as shown below.
  • Pour over soup base and from step 4) into 1.5 quartz stovetop pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes until done to liking (we prefer our napa cabbage on the softer side).
  • Add in sliced pork belly and cook for 2-4 minutes (time will vary depending on the thickness of pork belly).
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy the soup hot!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 445mg | Potassium: 214mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 89IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 22mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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