RECIPE: Japanese Mille-Feuille Nabe (Thousand Leaves Hot Pot) (2024)

  • March 07, 2020
  • 3 min read
  • Main dish

RECIPE: Japanese Mille-Feuille Nabe (Thousand Leaves Hot Pot) (1)

Japanese Mille-Feuille Nabe is a visually appealing hot pot dish made with just a few essential ingredients.Not to be confused with the traditional French pastry of the same name, the “thousand leaves'' in this case refers to the many layers of cabbage leaves and thinly-sliced pork.

Japanese Mille-Feuille Nabe consists of three main components: cabbage, pork belly, and dashi-miso broth. The simple broth complements the richness of the fatty meat, while the cabbage soaks up all the flavor. Compared to other hot pot dishes such as sukiyaki and shabu shabu, Mille-Feuille Nabe has far fewer ingredients, but is still just as satisfying, making it a great pick for busy weekday nights. In fact, it is among the most popular hot pots made at home in Japan.

The key to arranging this dish is packing the ingredients tightly. The cabbage will shrink as it cooks and create room for the ingredients to slide around, so you want to completely fill the pot. Work your way from the outside in to create a circular, flower-like design, and make sure to place the ingredients cut-side up so that the contrasting layers of vegetable and meat are visible. If you run out of cabbage before the pot is full, you can fill up the remaining space with enoki or shiitake mushrooms.

Enjoy your Mille-Feuille Nabe while it is still hot with a dash of soy sauce. Optional toppings include green onions or shichimi togarashi (Japanese chili flakes).

Servings: 4-5


  • 300 ml of water
  • 2 tbspsoda bushi dashi powder*
  • 1½ tbsp miso
  • ½ napa cabbage
  • 400 g pork belly
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • ¼ tbsp white pepper
  • Dash ofsoy sauce*

* Available in ourCreative Beginnings: Redefining "Wa" Care Package of Japanese cooking essentials.


  1. Heat a small pot of 300 ml water with the dashi powder. Turn off the heat and add the miso until melted. Once ready set aside.
  2. Remove the leaves of the napa cabbage and wash under cold water until completely clean.
  3. Take the cabbage leaves and pork slices and place them one on top of the other to create layers (pressing each layer slightly with your hands). Continue until you have used all the cabbage leaves. Once completed, cut into three equal portions.
  4. Place the cabbage and pork layers into a large saucepan in a vertical position so you can see the layers from the top. (Choose a saucepan that allows you to fit the cabbage and pork layers without leaving any gaps.)
  5. Add the dashi from step 1and miso sauce, sake and white pepper to the saucepan.
  6. Cover the saucepan and place it on the stove. Cook until the cabbage is tender and the pork is fully cooked.

Serve your Mille-Feuille Nabe while it is still hot with a dash of soy sauce.

Recipes courtesy ofEleonora Badellino.You can find her at@everydayobento

Introduction courtesy ofBritney Budiman

RECIPE: Japanese Mille-Feuille Nabe (Thousand Leaves Hot Pot) (2)

Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.

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