Feb 11, 2023

Vegetarian Recipe - Lemony Mille Feuille Napa Cabbage Hot Pot

A slight detour from my original plan.

I've made the actual mille feuille hot pot before, the kind with layered napa cabbage and pork slices. However, this time I was going to make a vegetarian version using plant-based ground beef. Unfortunately, the "vegetarian" beef took a wrong turn on me.

Note that I have never actually cook the plant-based ground meat before. It was quite expensive too but I still got it since this hot pot was mostly dedicated to my mother-in-law, who's a vegetarian. Just when I opened the package, that indescribable smell shocked me. Perhaps a wee bit purée peas plus plasticky smell, and it looks just like canned cat food to me. I was glad that I decided to toss the whole thing and improvised last minute. As least in the end, I've still got a presentable hot pot that was delicious and smells natural.

Lemony mille feuille napa cabbage hot pot -

Lemony mille feuille napa cabbage hot pot


  • 1 medium napa cabbage
  • 2 medium carrot
  • 1 yellow lemon
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • Some salt
  • Some cornstarch and water mixture


Trim-off the napa cabbage stem.

Tear the napa cabbage to individual pieces, big pieces too, keep the leafy part whole. Rinse, pat dry, and set aside.

Trim-off the carrot stem. Peel and try to slice the carrot to big sheets. Use a mandolin for very thin pieces if shorter cooking time is intended. I like my napa cabbage very soft, so thicker carrot pieces are fine because it'll still turn fork-tender in the end with longer cooking time.

Arrange one piece of napa cabbage and top with carrot pieces. Repeat with one more napa cabbage and more carrot, and in the end top with one final napa cabbage leaf.

Slice the entire "napa cabbage sandwich" to few sections, the width is about just a tiny bit shorter than the height of the pot you're using.

Once you've done layering and cutting the napa cabbage/carrot combo, it's time to arrange them along the inner edge of the pot.

Transfer the "layered" sections stack by stack. Starting along the edge of the pot and gradually working your way to the center. Remember to overlap each stack a little. Make it as tight as possible and eventually squeeze your final pieces in the middle. 

Layering napa cabbage and carrot pieces

You can stick in few pieces of carrot or the heart of napa cabbage to the center if  there's an empty void. Grate the lemon and sprinkle the zest throughout.

Making vegetarian mille feuille napa cabbage hot pot

Pour over the vegetable stock to the pot till slightly lower than the tip of the napa cabbage, about 4 1/2 cups for me.

Put the lid on and bring the entire thing to a boil. Lower to a simmer and continue to cook for 10 minutes. 

That's about it if you don't want to overcook the veggies. If you stop here, the final result will be beautifully arranged mille feuille-looking hot pot in the end. If you've decided to go to the longer cooking route in order to get very soft veggies, put the lid back on and cook for another 15 to 20 more minutes. Do keep in mind that longer cooking time means that the veggies turn soft and you won't get as nicely arranged appearance in the end.

Remove the lid and give it a taste. Season with salt accordingly. Squeeze in half of the lemon juice. Switch to low heat and continue to simmer for one last minute.

Lemony mille feuille napa cabbage hot pot

Prepare some cornstarch and water mixture. Pour to the pot while gently pushing the veggies to prevent clumping. We are aiming for slightly thicker soup but not too gooey and thick texture.

If you can't find vegetable stock and don't want to make it from scratch, use vegetable dashi powder. The all natural dashi powder tastes pretty good actually, and definitely smell much better than the plant-based ground beef.

I'll probably stay away from any plant-based meat in the future. Vegetables are more than good enough for me and I don't need another shocking moment from faux-meat substitutes.  

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