This easy and comforting Japanese 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 belly and napa cabbage soup.
Not only is it warm and comforting, but it’s also healthy, keto 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 it as is or as an accompaniment side soup to start off your meal!
So what’s the difference between napa cabbage and green 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.
What kind of pot should I use to make this Japanese napa cabbage soup?
You want to choose a pot small enough to tightly pack in the napa cabbage. The aim is to extract the liquids of the napa adding its natural flavors to the dashi soup base. If you follow the exact measurements of this recipe, a 1.5 to 2 quart pot works perfectly.
What kind of pork belly should I use for Japanese pork belly napa soup?
The best type of pork belly we use is pre-sliced about 1/8 of an inch thick commonly found in Japanese and other Asian markets marked ‘for shabu shabu’.
What does adding Japanese sake in the soup do?
We add sake in the Japanese soup to take some of the gaminess away from pork. It also mellows out all the flavors and adds a layer of umami to the soup.
What is dashi and why is it used in Japanese pork belly napa soup?
Dashi is a common Japanese soup base used in many recipes. It’s usually made from bonito flakes, kombu (seaweed) and fish bones. You can read on how to make it here or for an easier route, you can add hondashi powder instead.
Note – for the Ponzu, we actually recommend using Mizkan Ponzu but the ones on Amazon are way over priced. So if you can, just pick it up at a local Asian supermarket for a much more reasonable price.
We also recommend a 1.5 or 2 quarts sized stovetop pot if you’re following the portions on this recipe exactly.
Now, let’s get making some Japanese Pork and Napa Cabbage Soup just in time for the winter!
Prepping Time 5M
Cooking Time 10M
Total Time 15M
Net Carb/Serv ~4g
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.
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 low-carb/keto Japanese Pork and Napa Cabbage Soup!
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Japanese Pork and Napa Cabbage Soup
- 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
- 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!
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