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Hiroko's Hakusai (Asian Cabbage) Salad

Fused by Fiona's Hiroko's Hakusai (Asian Cabbage) Salad Japanese food recipe

Recipe by Fiona Uyema, author of Japanese Food Made Easy and founder of Fused by Fiona Uyema Ltd. You can find her at @fionauyema and @fusedbyfionauyema

My mother-in-law Hiroko is a fantastic cook and baker. She worked in her parents' bakery for many years. Although Hiroko was born in Brazil, both her parents came from Okinawa in Japan so her cooking is heavily influenced by the Japanese diet. Whenever my family and I travel to Brazil, we always look forward to her cooking. Due to the strong flavours in this dish Hiroko serves it on the side alongside other communal dishes, including rice, vegetables, fish or meat. The salad can be eaten warm or cold, but I prefer to eat it straight from the fridge or at room temperature. It keep will in the fridge for up to one week.

Serves 4


  • 250g hakusai (Asian cabbage)
  • A few thin slices of ginger to garnish
  • dash of sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 tbsp sake
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 25g sugar
  • 25ml vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 small chili, roughly sliced with seeds removed
  • thumb-size piece of gingers, finely chopped


    1. Wash each hakusai leaf carefully to remove any dirt.
    2. Cut the leaves about 2 inches thick widthways.
    3. Place the thicker leaf ends in boiling water for 2 minutes (these take a little longer to cook), then add the rest of the leaves for another minute. Drain the leaves in a colander and set aside to cool.
    4. Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a very low heat. Stir to make sure the sugar is fully absorbed and continue to simmer on a very low heat.
    5. In the meantime, carefully arrange the leaves so they are really aligned and upstanding in a dish with a flat base and sides. The leaves should fit tightly into the dish, as shown in the picture.
    6. Pour the hot dressing evenly all over the leaves and scatter the chili pieces on top. Garnish with the ginger slices.
    7. Cover the dish with cling film and let it cool.
    8. Put in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

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