Chinese Cabbage and Tofu Miso Stew
It’s officially winter in December. In south China, winter is short and snow is rarely seen, but it’s been quite cold indoor especially after sunset, since there isn’t heater installed. However, keeping food warm for at least an hour during dinnertime is not a problem for me. Instead of stir-fry and steam, I would make stew, braise or soup with pots so as to keep food hot for a bit longer. Clay pot is a must-have in most Cantonese families. But as I mentioned in previous post, I have to use cast iron pot instead of clay pot and I love them so much. Many of my recipes are presented with cast iron pots.
This is a simple miso stew with tofu and winter seasonal vegetable, Chinese cabbage, which is particularly sweet and juicy in winter. In this recipe, I use baby Chinese cabbage but any Asian cabbage would do. For making a tastier stew, you need to make a broth. Usually I would make the broth beforehand but in this quick and easy dish, I would not make it individually.
When preparing broth, I like to prepare a big pot and store in fridge. Use whenever I want. Here are some suggestions of broth ingredients –
Dry shiitake mushroom, dry mini shrimp, kelp, dry mini fish, pork bones, chicken bones, ginger, garlic, onion, etc.
Choose whatever you have and simmer with plenty of water in a big soup pot for 30 minutes to 1 hour, drain. Then you would have a big pot of flavourful clear soup. This is the base of any delicious soup or stew.
Well, if you are lazy, or like some of my friends whom don’t cook Chinese often at home so wouldn’t have such ingredients, any pre-made organic chicken stock, vegetable stock or pork bone stock would just do the trick.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, skip the ground pork and dry mini shrimp, use some kelp and dry shiitake mushrooms instead.
- Baby Chinese cabbages, 2, or a quarter of a big Chinese cabbage or napa cabbage;
- Tofu, I use Korean tofu, it’s firmer type of tofu and easy to be pan-fried;
- Ground pork, 200g. you don’t need much pork in this recipe, 100g is good enough;
- Dry mini shrimp, 2tbsp;
- Ginger, peeled, 20g;
- Dry shiitake mushroom stems, a few, optional. I never waste such ingredients but keep them in fridge. I made braised dry shiitake days ago and I kept the discarded mushroom stems. They are also flavourful but too tough to chew, so it’s good to keep them for making broth;
- Thai red chili pepper, 1, for garnishing, optional.
Seasoning ingredients –
- Japanese miso, 3tbsp. Make sure you taste before using, some of them might be too salty;
- Mirin, 2tbsp;
- Cornstarch, half tbsp.;
- Light soy sauce, 1tbsp;
- Sugar, half tsp;
- Chinese cooking wine, 1tsp.
How to do –
1. Baby cabbage washed and drained;
2. Marinate the pork for a few minutes with half tbsp. of cornstarch, 1tbsp of light soy sauce, half tsp of sugar and 1tbsp of Chinese cooking wine;
3. Firm tofu cut into bite size thick slices, a little oil in hot pan, pan-fry the tofu till golden double sides;
4. Also stir-fry the ground pork and mini shrimps till fragrant;
5. Miso is cakey, so I would dissolve it with some water. Mix 3tbsp of miso with 2tbsp of mirin, a cup of water, mix well;
6. Put the mushroom stems and ginger slices at the bottom, then cabbage, tofu, ground pork, miso mixture. Lid on, bring to boil then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes in low heat till the cabbages are tender;
7. Simply go with steamed rice, happy meal!