Pork and Vegetable Pot with Clear Broth

Mizutaki

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Complex

  • Serves

    4–6

    .

Appears in

At Home with Japanese Cooking

At Home with Japanese Cooking

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1986

  • About

An inviting array of vegetables and thinly sliced pork are brought to the table and cooked in a clear delicate broth. Bite-size pieces are scooped from the communal pot and dipped into individual bowls of a piquant lemon-and-soy sauce or a fiery grated radish condiment. Mizutaki makes a perfect family or company dinner on a chilly day, served with hot white rice and assorted pungent pickles.

Ingredients

  • pounds lean boneless pork loin
  • 1 cake yaki-dōfu (grilled bean curd)
  • 5–6 scallion(s) with green tops intact
  • ¼ pound fresh button mushrooms
  • 1 small carrot
  • ½ pound hakusai (Chinese cabbage)
  • ¼ pound shungiku (chrysanthemum leaves) or dandelion greens or fresh spinach
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • ¼–⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 2–3 inches daikon (Japanese white radish)
  • 1 tōgarashi (dried hot red pepper)
  • 6 inches konbu (kelp for stock making)
  • 1 quart fresh cold water

Method

Partially freeze the pork to facilitate cutting, and slice it into paper-thin slices about 2 inches square. Drain the grilled bean curd (it invariably comes packaged in water) and slice it once lengthwise, then across 3 or 4 times to yield 8–10 bite-size blocks. Trim the scallions and cut them into 2-inch lengths. Wash and pat dry the mushrooms, then trim off and discard the stems; slice the mushrooms in half. Scrape the carrot and cut it into decorative flower shapes or into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Rinse the cabbage, drain and cut it into 1-inch-thick wedges. Cut each wedge across into 3 sections. Rinse the chrysanthemum leaves well under cold running water, trim the bottoms of the stems and cut off any flowering buds. If the stalks are very long, cut them in half. Pat the leaves dry. Arrange all these ingredients and the lemon wedges attractively on a large platter or tray.

Divide the soy sauce among 4–6 small bowls—one for each person. Peel the radish and poke several holes in it. Then break open the dried red pepper pod and remove all the seeds. Stuff pieces of the red pepper into the holes you made in the radish and grate it. The white will be flecked with red and the mild radish is given a fiery accent. (The Japanese call this particular condiment momiji oroshi or “autumn maple leaves.”) Drain off any liquid from grating and mound the fiery radish in a shallow bowl. At the table each person can add lemon juice and/or radish to taste to his own bowl of soy sauce.

Make a clear broth from the kelp and water, discarding the kelp once the water has come to a boil. Lower the heat slightly and start adding the ingredients from your platter. Begin with half the pork, adding it 1 slice at a time. Next, toss in half the carrots and mushrooms. Let these cook, partially covered, for 3–4 minutes, then add half the scallions, cabbage and grilled bean curd and cook for another 3–4 minutes. Each person helps himself to bits of meat and vegetables, dunking these pieces lightly into his own dipping sauce before eating. Replenish the cooking pot with the remaining meat, carrot slices, and mushrooms. After 3–4 minutes add scallions, cabbage and bean curd. Continue to cook for another 3–4 minutes, then add the chrysanthemum leaves and cook them about 1 minute or until barely wilted. Remove the pot from the heat and let everyone pick out whatever he wishes to eat.

Note: You can strain the broth remaining in the large pot and use it instead of plain water for cooking other vegetables. And mizutaki is just as delicious made with chicken instead of the pork.