When I buy cabbage, 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 darker green and fresh looking outer leaves, that are actually quite tough and woody, but 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 outer leaves stayed tough and chewy. However, the chewiness of the leaves is not so bothering when I cooked for ‘Sakana’ (a Japanese word, side dishes for sake or alcoholic drinks). The texture of some ‘Sakana’ food, such as dried squid, is very tough and chewy. I actually quite enjoyed these chewy leaves.


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 Cabbage leaves well, and remove thick veins that are just too tough to eat. Cut into small pieces.
  2. Cook in a saucepan of boiling water for 5-10 minutes, and drain.
  3. Return 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.