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Japanese Hakusai Roll Nabe (Napa Cabbage Rolls Hot Pot)

This nabe is better than cuddling with your lover on a rainy Sunday ;) Ok maybe not but it's damn close. It's got a variety of rainbow vegetables, air-fried umami tofu, and wood ear mushrooms all rolled up nice and cozy with napa cabbage leaves, set on a bed of silky soft rice noodles and slowly stewed in a Dashi broth.


Nabe, which means hot pot in Japanese, is one of my top comfort meals for cold months or whenever I feel a little under the weather. It's so nourishing and balanced - with lots of veggies, plant protein, and healthy carbs; but super refreshing at the same time - completely oil-free, slow-cooked in a flavorful broth, and the broth, in the end, will collect all the juice and flavors released from the veggies and become even more heavenly and have more depth.


And in this updated version, I also added rice noodles at the bottom of the donabe to make this meal more hearty and satisfying. The rice noodles are perfect to slurp with the broth! For the fillings inside the napa cabbage rolls, you can pretty much use anything you have in the fridge, I used carrot, sweet bell pepper, cilantro, wood ear mushrooms, and tofu this time.


You can serve the nabe as is or add yet another layer of flavor and texture by making a dipping sauce for the rolls! My fave is peanut butter sauce and you can also use chili oil for a little kick~ If you try this recipe, please don't forget to tag me on Instagram and Tiktok ^^

INGREDIENTS:

7 napa cabbage leaves
14 oz extra firm tofu
1 carrot
1 sweet bell pepper
1 bunch fresh cilantro
Handful of dried wood ear mushroom
4 oz rice noodle
Beech mushrooms for topping, optional
1 - 2 cup dashi, homemade or store-bought
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon coconut amino
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

For the Peanut Butter sauce
2 tablespoon creamy homemade peanut butter, or storebought
2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon coconut amino
1 teaspoon sesame oil

TO MAKE:

- Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch thick slices, transfer to a wide plate, and marinate with the soy sauce, coconut amino, and sesame oil for at least 20 minutes;
- Then air fry at 400°F for 15 minutes, flip, and air fry for 5 more minutes;
- While the tofu is marinate and cooking, prep the other ingredients;
- Take off the napa cabbage leaves one by one, bring a large pot of water to boil, blanch the leaves for 20 - 30 seconds till they're just soft but not overcooked;
- Immediately run the leaves under cold water to stop cooking, pat dry and set aside;
- If using wood ear mushrooms, rehydrate them by soaking in hot water for 20 minutes, then cut into thin slices;
- Soak the rice noodles in hot water for 15 minutes, drain, and set aside;
- Cut the rest of the vegetables into match sticks as well, try to cut them into the same length;
- Take one napa cabbage leaf, trim off the tough root part, add tofu, wood ear, and the rest of the veggies to the end of the stem, start rolling as tightly as you can until reach the end of the leafy part;
- Slice in half, repeat with the rest of the leaves and ingredients;
- Add the softened rice noodles to the bottom of the donabe, or if you don't have one, use a thick good quality pot;
- Arrange the napa cabbage rolls tightly in the pot, add beech mushrooms to the gaps if you like;
- Warm up the dashi, and pour it over the rolls till the liquid just reach the rim of the pot, adjust the amount of dashi depending on the size of your pot;
- Cover with lid, bring to a gentle boil over medium heat;
- Lower the heat to medium-low, and let it simmer uncovered for 5 more minutes;
- Serve hot with the peanut sauce, enjoy!

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