When I buy cabbage, of course I select a fresh head of cabbage. When I cook it, I take off withered and discoloured outer leaves if there are any. The problem is I often have dark green coloured and very fresh looking leaves that are actually quite tough and woody, and I don’t know what to do with them.

I feel so bad to throw them away or to put them in the compost. I have tried to cook them in different ways. Whatever way I cooked, those leaves stayed tough and chewy. However, the chewiness of the leaves is not so bothering when cooked for ‘Sakana’ (a Japanese word, side dishes for sake or alcoholic drinks), which are often strongly seasoned. And the texture of some ‘Sakana’ food, such as dried squid, is very tough and chewy. I actually quite enjoyed this chewy cabbage leave dish.


6 Outer Leaves of Cabbage *It doesn’t have to be 6 leaves!
1 tablespoon Sake (Rice Wine) OR Water
1/2 tablespoon Sugar
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Rice Vinegar
1 teaspoon Chilli Garlic Sauce
Toasted Sesame Seeds

  1. Wash the Cabbage leaves well, and remove thick veins that are just too hard. Cut into small pieces or slice them.

  2. Cook the Cabbage leaves in a sauce pan of boiling water for 5-10 minutes, and drain.

  3. Bring back the leaves to the saucepan, add all the seasonings, then cook over medium heat until the sauce is almost gone.

  4. Sprinkle with some Toasted Sesame Seeds. Enjoy with Sake (rice wine).