Stir-fried cabbage with pork balls

This warming supper dish comes from the Winter section my latest book Simply Veg: A Modern Guide to Everyday Eating (see Books).  It’s one of my favourite recipes and I normally serve it with steamed rice. You can make the pork balls in advance and chill until needed.

Serves 4

60g/2¼ oz lean smoked back bacon

500g/1lb 2oz minced pork

6 spring onions, finely diced

2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled ginger

5 tablespoons Kikkoman’s soy sauce

3 tablespoons sake (or dry sherry)

1 medium egg white

7 tablespoons sunflower oil

2 teaspoons cornflour

225g/8oz shiitake mushrooms

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes, or to taste

450g/1lb pointed spring cabbage, roughly diced


1  Trim the fat from the bacon and finely dice the bacon. Place in a food processor with the minced pork, spring onion, ginger, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sake and the egg white.  Process briefly and then tip into a bowl, making sure that everything is mixed in.  Roll 40 walnut-sized balls between the palms of your hands – wetting your hands under cold running water as necessary.


2  Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat.  Add 3 tablespoons oil and fry the pork balls in batches, for about 6 minutes per batch, turning them regularly.  Add another tablespoon of oil, if necessary.  Set aside. 


3  In a small bowl, mix together the cornflour, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sake and 8 tablespoons water.  Discard the mushroom stalks and rip their caps into chunks.


4  Wipe the pan clean, set over a high heat and add 3 tablespoons oil.  Add the diced garlic and chilli and, as soon as it begins to sizzle, mix in the mushrooms and stir fry briskly for 1 minute.  Add the cabbage and keep stirring until it begins to wilt, then add the pork balls, any juices and the soy cornflour sauce.  Boil briskly for 2 minutes or until the mixture thickens.  Serve immediately. 




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