simmered napa cabbage with aburrage
this is an incredibly simple dish that really delivers on flavor. chicken flavor to be specific. and that's not me, the long time non-flesh eater saying this, it's the chicken-sandwich-having man of the house. i, living in a strange, inverted universe, think it tastes kinda like chicken but not really. i mean, i seem to recall chicken having this gamey flavor which is absent in this silky and delicate dish.
four ingredients: sake, konbu dashi, napa cabbage and aburrage (fried tofu puffs). the lynchpin is the konbu dashi. you can make your own by simmering hulking strips of konbu in water and discarding the seaweed, or you can buy the dashi premade. the premade stuff tastes way better and if you've never tried the stuff, it is worth seeking out at least once. i use it for miso soup, all japanese noodle broths and anywhere a bonito stock is called for. the type i use looks like this and can be found in just about any asian grocery store:
i've never bothered to write down a recipe for this since it's so simple and adaptable. the general guidelines are as follows:
in a large pot place about two inches of water and sprinkle in two packets of premade konbu dashi. horizontally cut a nice big head of napa cabbage into two inch slices. place the thicker stem ends in the bottom of the pot with the thinner, upper leaf portions on top. thinly slice one or two aburrage puffs and sprinkle on top. cover and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. add about 1/4 cup sake, stir and simmer a few minutes longer. the cabbage should be silky soft and just holding together. at this point you may add more water and or sake/soy sauce/ or salt to adjust seasoning. i like to make this really quite brothy since the broth is the best part. serve with a bit of rice floating in the middle.