Sauteed Ginger Beef and Cabbage Recipe

Sauteed Ginger Beef and Cabbage

As much as I love to cook, it is sometimes very nice to have your boyfriend say, on a lazy Sunday afternoon : “you know, I think I’d like to make dinner tonight”. Though usually more of a whip-it-up-by-instinct kind of cook, on this occasion he takes out the Japanese cookbook he bought in London, picks a recipe, makes a list, goes shopping, comes back and starts working.

Very much aware of my slight tendency to meddle, I steer clear from the kitchen as he cooks, comfortably cross-legged on the couch with my laptop, but oh-so-happy to offer advice when sollicited.

We invite our neighbor-friends over, and Maxence graces us with this perfect dish : beef strips in a ginger sake and soy marinade, stir-fried with cabbage, served on a bed of sticky rice. Everybody loves it, the meat is moist and infused with flavor, and the sauce is deliciously tasty over the rice and cabbage.

Maxence glows, and reflects that there is indeed something to be said for following recipes, every once in a while…

(My darling being my darling, he didn’t follow the recipe exactly as written. The recipe called for pork, and he used beef instead – mainly because the only butcher’s open was halal, and so of course sells everything but – and the Chinese cabbage and green ginger had to be replaced with the more readily available green cabbage and regular ginger.)

Sauteed Ginger Beef and Cabbage

(Serves 4.)

– 1.5 tsp sugar
– 2 tbsp sake
– 1/3 C Japanese soy sauce
– 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
– 550 g beef rump steak
– 8 leaves of green cabbage
– vegetable oil
– 3 tsp fresh ginger juice

Combine sugar, sake, sauce and grated ginger in a medium bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

Cut the beef into thin strips. Add it to the marinade, let stand for 10 minutes. (But no longer, otherwise the meat will get tough.) Drain over a small bowl, and reserve the marinade.

Cut the cabbage leaves into 4 cm (one inch) squares, removing the thick ribs.

Heat some oil in a large skillet or wok, add the meat and stir-fry for three minutes. Add the cabbage, the reserved marinade and the ginger juice, and stir-fry a little longer until everything is heated through.

Serve in bowls over steamed rice and eat with chopsticks.

Adapted from “Cooking Class Japanese”, an Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook.

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  • Meg

    Any thoughts from anyone how the different gingers would affect the flavour? I’m making this tonight!

  • Meg – I’m not sure about the difference in flavor, but the book seemed to imply that green ginger (younger) would yield more juice than regular (older) ginger. The green ginger taste may also be more mellow? Hope you like it as much as we did!

  • Meg

    Merci! I will try it with the green and let you know.

  • Well done, Maxence! Sauteed cabbage and onions is one of my very favourite meals (I am Polish, after all!), and sometimes I pair it with pasta. I will have to try a Maxence-inspired spin on my old favourite!

  • yum yum! reminds me of the cabbage dish granny cooks occasionally but she has now banned all beef from the kitchen. frightened of mad cow disease. she usually uses pork but usually ham or lap cheong @ chinese sausage.

    a friend of mine mentioned that in japan, good beef is where the cow is massage by the farmer regularly. haha! never knew whether it was truth or myth.

  • sarah

    Kudos Maxence: tasty and easy! It was, however, a bit salty (maybe less soy in exchange for more sake? and I used the low sodium soy). I would also put more cabbage in it next time (perhaps I just had a particularly small specimen!).
    One question: ginger juice? does one juice a ginger (?) or does one purchase this?

  • Sarah – Maxence and I are delighted you liked it! And ginger juice is the juice you get while grating a knob of ginger…

  • chena

    I made this tonight and it was a soothing home-y meal that hit the spot. I minced a huge happy clove of garlic into the sizzling oil which made in turn made me happy. Your photo of the cabbage bits in particular looks much more beautifully thick and translucent green than my result, but the flavor was as wonderful as your photo looks.

  • Gina

    I was combing the archives and came across this gem (I’ve very recently discovered that, contrary to previous belief, I have quite a fondness for ginger). I went out and bought all the ingredients last night and the beef is thawing while we speak! Can’t wait to make this tonight. I think my tummy’s rumbling already…

  • Martin Blick

    found this recipe 13 years ago as a 22 year old student straight out of Uny living in London. now 35, 2 kids and living in sweden. I still love this recipe and so does my family . thanks!

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