Mille Feuille Nabe (Napa Cabbage and Beef Hot Pot)

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Mille Feuille Nabe is a popular Japanese hot pot made with plenty of napa cabbage, thinly sliced meat, and perilla leaves in a warm, umami-rich dashi broth. You can also add noodles at the end for some delicious noodle soup.


Mille Feuille

The name, mille feuille nabe, may have you thinking about the French pastry, mille feuille. Mille feuille means thousand leaves in French. Instead of having several alternating “leaves” or layers of thin puff pastry and cream, mille feuille nabe is made with layers of napa cabbage leaves and meat slices. Cooked in a warm dashi broth, this hot pot is simple to prepare and is one of my favorite comfort foods to share.

Mille Feuille Nabe Ingredients

The two main ingredients in mille feuille nabe are napa cabbage and thinly sliced meat. I like using thinly sliced beef brisket or sirloin. However, I have also seen versions using thinly sliced pork belly. You can find this thin “shabu shabu” meat cut at most Asian grocery stores. If you cannot find pre-cut slices, you can freeze a pound of meat for about a 2 to 4 hours in the freezer or until it is firm enough to very thinly slice against the grain with a sharp knife.

I also like to add perilla leaves for its herby, anise-like flavor and shiitake mushrooms for extra umami. Bunapi shimeji mushrooms (white beech mushrooms) go well in this dish with their subtle nutty and sweet flavor. They are also a great “filler” for space at the center of the hot pot. You could also add a bed of bok choy at the bottom of the pot for extra vegetables.

IMPORTANT TIP: Napa cabbage releases a lot of water and shrinks when cooked, so it is important to pack these layers tightly into your pot.



Dipping Sauce

Ponzu is usually served as the dipping sauce for this hot pot. You can buy this ready made. However, I like to make mine from scratch. It is a simple recipe consisting of soy sauce, fresh lemon juice, sugar and some hot pot broth.

Easy hot pot for gatherings

It is easy to prepare this dish ahead of time and have it ready to cook. Unlike regular hot pot, mille feuille nabe has all of the ingredients already in the pot. You don’t add ingredients and eat as you go. This allows you to focus more on just eating and also makes clean up easier.

Mille feuille nabe is also a family-friendly meal with ingredients that are healthy, light, and clean. The striking presentation for this hot pot is also sure to impress friends and family at your next potluck.

If you’re looking for more hot pot recipes, check out this bulgogi jungol.

Noodles and Congee

You can use the leftover soup at the end to cook some noodles or congee. At this point, the flavors from the meat and vegetables are also added to the already rich dashi broth. Add some of the dipping sauce to season the noodles and soup (or congee) and you have another delicious dish to end your meal.


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Mise en place

Step #1: Layer of napa cabbage
Step #2: Layer of perilla leaves
Step #3: Layer of thinly sliced meat
Step #4: Repeat steps #1 to 3 about 5 to 7 more times. Cut layers into 3 to 4 pieces.

If you make this Mille Feuille Nabe, I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment and/or recipe rating at the bottom of this page. And if you have a photo of your food, be sure to tag me on Instagram!

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5 from 1 vote

Mille Feuille Nabe (Napa Cabbage and Beef Hot Pot)

Mille Feuille Nabe is a popular Japanese hot pot made with plenty of Napa cabbage, thinly sliced meat, and perilla leaves in a warm, umami-rich dashi broth. You can also add noodles at the end for some delicious noodle soup.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Beef, Dashima, Hot Pot, Napa, Perilla, Shiitake
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 Napa cabbage, leaves separated and trimmed (6 lb)
  • ¾ lb thinly sliced beef brisket or sirloin
  • 30 perilla leaves, stems cut
  • cup shiitake mushrooms, whole or sliced (about 4-5)
  • cup bunapi shimeji mushrooms, whole and trimmed
  • 1 serving fresh Korean "udong & jjajang" noodles (optional)

Broth

Dipping sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp broth

Instructions

Broth

  • Add the water, radish, onion, and anchovy seafood soup packets to a large pot and bring it to a boil.
  • Let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Pour the broth over a colander into a large heatproof bowl.
  • Discard everything in the colander.
  • Add the soy sauce and salt to the broth.

Dipping Sauce

  • Whisk together the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Assembly

  • Place a cabbage leaf inside part facing up on a cutting board. Layer a perilla leaf (or two) on top of the cabbage. Then layer two slices of meat on top of the perilla leaves.
  • Place another cabbage leaf on top and repeat the other layers as well until you have about five to seven repeating layers of cabbage, perilla leaves, and meat.
  • Add one more cabbage leaf as the top layer. This makes it easier to cut through the layers in the next step.
  • Tightly holding the layers together, carefully cut the layers into about 3-4 pieces that are 2" wide.
  • Place these pieces side by side along the inside walls of the pot with the cut side facing up.
  • Repeat steps 1-5 until the pot is mostly full.
  • Fill the center with some shiitake mushrooms and shimeji mushrooms.
  • Add the broth to the pot (until the ingredients are just covered with broth) and bring it to a boil.
  • Lower the heat, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables and meat are cooked through.
  • Serve with dipping sauce.

(Optional noodles at the end of your meal)

  • Bring the remaining broth to a boil. Add the noodles and let it cook for about 3 minutes or until desired doneness.
  • Serve the noodles with some of the broth in a small bowl, and season with some of the dipping sauce.

Notes

  • If you cannot find pre-cut slices at your local Asian grocery store, you can freeze a pound of meat for about a 2 to 4 hours in the freezer or until it is firm enough to very thinly slice against the grain with a sharp knife.
  • Napa cabbage releases a lot of water and shrinks when cooked, so it is important to pack these layers tightly into your pot.


2 thoughts on “Mille Feuille Nabe (Napa Cabbage and Beef Hot Pot)”

  • 5 stars
    Just wanted to say this was so easy and flavourful. I first tried with beef but found it too lean to just leave simmering – maybe a fattier cut? Pork worked perfectly and the perilla gave it something extra.

    • I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! I tend to like leaner cuts 😅 but yes, pork (particularly pork belly) is another popular meat protein used to make mille feuille nabe. Love how you adjusted the recipe to your preference and taste!

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