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Japanese-style Hoi Ko Ro Pork & Cabbage Stir Fry

This recipe was provided by my good friend Yumiko Nikaido who lives in Tokyo. Yumiko always has here finger on the city's pulse for what is trending in food and this is her latest trending recipe - Hai Ko Ro Pork & Cabbage Stir Fry. As the title of the recipe implies, this dish is originally Chinese - that probably won't surprise you as you no doubt know that the Japanese love Chinese food and have their own versions of many Chinese dishes. Hoi Ko Ro in Chinese translates as Twice Cooked Pork - the pork is first simmered in water and then sliced and stir fried along with some spring onions and garlic. The dish comes from Sichuan Province and, as you might know, Sichuan cooking is famous for its use of chilli and hot flavours.

Being a Japanese take on this dish, my recipe is a little different to the original: First, the pork (you can use shoulder or belly) gets cooked once not twice to save time - in order to keep the meat soft, I season and coat it in plain flavour instead of simmering - this keeps cooking time and washing up to a minimum which must be a goo thing! Second: in common with the standard Japanese version, I use cabbage, spring onion and bell peppers for the vegetable content. Third: like most Japanese versions of Chinese dishes, my recipe is a little less hot and a little more sweet.

The flavourings in this dish are true to the original - so, you'll need two jars of Chinese sauces - Toban Djan which translates as Chinese chilli sauce and Tian Mian Djan which means Yellow Bean Sauce. These are two of the most widely used flavourings in Chinese cooking so you should be able to find them quite easily. Third, you'll need a teaspoon of soy sacue. Of course, Japanese style Hai Ko Ro wouldn't be Japanese without that little extra and in that case, the extra is two tablespoons of Japanese sake for that little extra sweetness and richness.

As I said above, the original Hai Ko Ro dish is from Sichuan so it is quite spicy. I use a tablespoon of Toban Djan chilli sauce which I find makes for a spicy but not too spicy dish. If you prefer things a little hotter, then by all means add another half tablespoon. On the other hand, feel free to reduce the amount of Toban Djan if you want a milder result.

As a final, more authentic touch, I drizzle a half teaspoon of Chinese La Yu chilli sauce over the finished dish for a little more spice but feel free to skip this stage if you don't want the extra heat.

All in all, your Hai Ko Ro will take less than 30 minutes from start to finish. The result will be a great, tasty dish of stir fried flavours - just right for when you want to bring a little Asian warmth into your home during the chilly winter months.

So, if you fancy giving this dish a try, you can find the Youtube tutorial by clicking Japanese style Hai Ko Ro or by scrolling to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below.

Happy stir frying! Kurumi XXXX.



(makes 2 servings)

1/2 sweetheart cabbage

1 green bell pepper

3 spring onions

1 clove of garlic

250g/9 oz pork shoulder steak

1/2 tsp salt

some black pepper

2 tbsp plain flour

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp Toban Djan Chinese chilli bean sauce

2 tbsp Tian Mian Jiang Chinese yellow bean sauce

2 tbsp Japanese cooking sake

1 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp Chinese La Yu chilli oil (optional)


how to:

cut the cabbage in half lengthways. cut away the hard stem from the base, then, chop the cabbage into bite sized pieces

cut the bell pepper in half and remove the stem, seeds and white flesh. cut into bite sized pieces

slice off the root ends of the spring onions and any fried or discoloured stalk from th top. then slice up diagonally

slice and mince the clove of garlic

cut the shoulder steak in half lengthways. thinly slice into 4 - 5cm / 1.5 - 2inch pieces

season the pork with the salt and pepper, then coat with plain flour on both sides

heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a frying pan. add and stir fry the cabbage and bell pepper for 2 - 3 minutes. turn off the heat and transer the cabbage and pepper to a plate

add another tbsp of vegetable oil (but don't turn the heat back on yet.) lay the pork pieces in the frying pan. now, turn the heat back on to medium and fry th pork until lightly browned

turn the pork pieces over and fry for another 2 minutes

next, add the minced garlic and sliced spring onion to the frying pan. urn the heat down to low and stir fry for 1 minute

add the 1 tbsp of Toban Djan Chinese chilli bean sauce to the pork and mix well

now, return the cabbage and pepper to the frying pan. mix well, then add the tbsp of Chinese Yellow Bean Sauce. mix again

add 2 tbsp of Japanese rice wine and the tsp of soy sauce. and stir fry for 1 minute to give the alcohol time to evaporated

serve with bowls of rice

(this dish is a great winter warmer served with glasses of sake!)


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