Now, you're probably thinking, "Isn't Mille Feuille a French pastry? And of course, you're right, Mille Feuille is a French pastry. But in this case, Japanese food creators, always looking for a catchy name for a new dish, have borrowered the term to describe this relatively new hotpot recipe.
"Mille Feuille", in the case of a Mille Feuille Hotpot, describes the way that thin slices of pork are sandwiched between Chinese cabbage leaves to create an attractive layered effect in a casserole or pan. I have taken the liberty, for my version, of using slices of chicken breast in this recipe instead of sliced pork. Using chicken breast is not only a healthier but also makes the dish lighter - so, it's perfect as a winter warmer for one of those days when you want warmth and nutrition but nothing too heavy.
The ingredients for the dish are pretty straightforward: For the hot pot itself, you'll need two chicken breasts, Chinese cabbage leaves and leek. As you can see from the photo of the dish above, I garnish the hotpot with some shiitake mushrooms, carrots and lime slices, the latter of which adds a tiny hint of citrus tang to the dish. I cut decorative stars into the shiitake and cut the carrot slices using a small pastry cutter to make the dish not only taste delicious but look pretty too. Obviously, you can dispense with the decorative effects if you are pressed for time or are happy without it.
The casserole cooks in a standard stock made of instant dashi granules, mirin, soy sauce and water.
Mille Feuille hotpot is usually served with a sweet dipping sauce which comprises sesame paste, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce. This is a thick, hearty sauce which I think makes it a perfect match with the lightness of the chicken and cabbage hotpot.
Other than those contents, you'll just need some freshly steamed rice to complete a really quite delightful winter treat.
If you're interested in trying this recipe for yourself, you can find the Youtube tutorial by clicking Chicken Mille Feuille Hot Pot or by scrolling to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below.
Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX.
(makes 2 servings)
for the sesame sauce:
4 tbsp sesame paste
1 heaped tbsp sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 thin slices carrot
3 fresh shiitake mushroom
5 thin slices lime
1cm / 0.5inch fresh thumb sized piece ginger
12cm / 5 inch piece of leek
2 boneless chicken breasts
12 large Chinese cabbage leaves
for the stock:
700ml /25 floz boiled hot water
1 heaped tbsp Japanese dashi granuels
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp soy sauce
first, prepare the sesame sauce - combine the sesame paste, sugar, rice vinegar and soy sauce in a bowl and mix well - now, just set aside
next, for the contents of the hot pot - put the three thin slices of carrot on chopping board and use a small cookie cutter shape to cut the slices into decorative shapes. (you can dispense with this step if you re not bothered about the visual effect of the dish
next, remove the stalks of 3 the shiitake mushrooms . use a sharp kitchen knife to cut star shapes into the tops of the mushrooms. (as above, you don't need to do this unless you want a decorative effect)
cut the lime into 5 thin slices, removing the top and tail
peel the piece of ginger, slice thinly and then cut into shreds
cut the leek in half lengthways, then set the two pieces on their ends and slice into two more pieces, then cut the pieces into large matchsticks
lay each chicken breast onto a chopping board and cut horizontally into very thin slices
rinse the Chinese cabbage leave. divide the leaves into piles of 3 leaves each. lay the slices of chicken over one leaf and then place the next leaf over the the chicken. lay more slices of chicken over the second leaf and then place another leaf on top
repeat with the rest of the chicken and cabbage leaves
next, cut the cabbage leaves & chicken into pieces. (if the leaves are small, you may need to adjust by cutting them into 3 parts instead of 4 - the aim is to cut the leaves to fit into a casserole or shallow pan)
fill your casserole by placing the layered Chinese cabbages leaves and chicken layers around the edge, working your way towards the centre of the casserole. when you have used all the leaves, pack the leek matchsticks into the centre
place the sliced carrot, shiitake mushrooms and lime slices on the top to create a colourful garnish
next, make a simple Japanese stock - add the dashi granules, salt, soy sauce and hot water to a jug and mix well. pour the stock over the cabbage and leak. (you may need to add more water to the casserole depending on its size - the aim is to have the casserole about 75% full of stock)
bring the casserole to the boil and cook for about 10 minnutes or until the chicken is cooked through
serve with a bowl of rice and the sesame sauce.