Shanghai-Style Braised Napa with Pork Julienne (上海烂糊肉丝 Shanghai Lan Hu Rou Si)
January 29, 2022  Print
At first glance, this dish—Shanghai-Style Braised Napa with Pork Julienne—does not look very fancy (or perhaps even appetizing). Its Chinese name sounds even less appealing. It literally translates into “Mush Pork Julienne” with 糊 or “mush” here actually referring to a cooking method. But don’t let looks deceive you. It is actually a famous dish from Shanghai that is enjoyed both as a homey dish and as a regional dish in many Shanghai restaurants. In restaurants, chefs mostly use pork bone stock to braise the napa cabbage and add chopped ham or dried shrimp on top to give it more umami and make it more fancy looking.
For a homey version, you don’t need to add any toppings. The combination of napa cabbage and pork julienne is quite flavorful already. If you have pork bone stock handy (see my homemade version), it would give you another boost to umami, but don’t sweat it if you don’t have any stock handy. In fact, some versions of this recipe even omit adding liquid altogether since the napa cabbage will release quite a bit of water during the braising process.
My in-laws, who are from Shanghai, make this dish quite often, sometimes with pork julienne and sometimes with shrimp. The napa cabbage, after braising, becomes so soft that it literally melts in your mouth. The napa’s natural sweetness and umami are fully released as well. This dish pairs extremely well with either rice or noodles. You can simply pour a large portion of this Shanghai-Style Braised Napa with Pork Julienne on top of either rice or noodles (see picture below) to make a yummy one-bowl meal.
Gluten Free, Low Carb
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2 – 4 people
- 1.5 – 2 lb napa cabbage
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
- 1/2 cup pork bone stock or water
- 1 tablespoon Chinese Shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon starch
- 1/2 (~225g) lb pork tenderloin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/4 teaspoon table salt)
- ~3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil + 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- First make the pork julienne by following steps 1-3 from my previous Tender Pork Julienne recipe.
- While marinating the pork julienne, prepare the napa cabbage. If your napa cabbage is heavier than 3 lbs, cut it in half and only use half. Remove the core and rinse the leaves thoroughly to get rid of any hidden dirt. Then stack a few similar-sized leaves and cut the leaves in half or in three pieces (depending on the length). Finally, chop each piece into thin strips along the veins, about 1/8 inch x 3 inch (0.3 cm x 8 cm).
- Now that pork julienne is done marinating, cook the pork julienne by following step 4 from my previous Tender Pork Julienne recipe. Make sure the pork julienne is only cooked to 80% doneness. Set aside. If you are really pressed for time, you can also do this step while braising the napa, which is done in step 4.
- Heat a large wok or a deep nonstick pan under medium heat. When the pan is warm, add the 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Then add the napa cabbage strips. Sprinkle the 1 teaspoon of kosher salt on top of the napa cabbage, mixing well with chopsticks. Pour in the 1/2 cup of pork bone stock or water and the 1 tablespoon of Chinese Shaoxing cooking wine, stirring to combine. Cover the lid and lower the heat to low and braise the napa for about 10 minutes until it becomes super soft. Be patient! When the napa is done braising, remove the lid and add the mostly-cooked pork julienne Gently mix with the napa cabbage strips.
- Prepare the starch water by mixing the 1 tablespoon of starch with 3 tablespoons of water. Then slowly pour in the starch water, half at a time. Use chopsticks to gently swirl the ingredients around to thicken the liquid. Add more salt to taste. Turn off the heat.
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