Pork & Cabbage Stir Fry

Starting Japanese Cuisine month off is a VERY simple dish of stir fried pork and cabbage. Truthfully, this is a dish that exists across many ethnic cuisines (Chinese, Korean, to name a few) and fits well in to my “cooking basics” list as a variation of the default stir fry option. 

Stir fries like this don’t often get their own cuisine-identifying recipe because families often cook it without instruction. It’s more of a “what’s in my fridge that works together?” kind of dish. However it’s fast, easy, delicious, versatile, and very healthy. Those qualities warrant an entry by me.

What makes this particular recipe “Japanese” (as opposed to Chinese or Korean) is the flavor profile. We use common Japanese ingredients to create a ginger-y and slightly sweet umami sauce that pairs well with the savory pork and crisp cabbage of this dish.

A few key details:

thinly sliced raw pork on a cooking pan

Try to get thinly sliced or shaved pork for this dish. Thin cuts of meat are very common in Japanese cuisine. They cook quickly and stay tender through the cooking process better than thicker chunks.

This dish is best served as a meal set, complete with rice as the base and a vegetable-filled miso soup to enhance the nutritional value.

The recipe:

Pork and cabbage stir fried

Japanese Pork and Cabbage Stir Fry

A Japanese-style stir fry dish that versatile and easy to make on a weeknight
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 2


  • 1 large cooking pan preferably nonstick but not required


  • 1 tbsp olive oil or other preferred cooking oil
  • 1 tsp freshly minced ginger ginger powder can work if fresh not available. See notes
  • 1/2 lb shaved pork any cut will do, but ideally you want thinly sliced small pieces of pork that has fat attached to the pieces. Pork butt or shoulder would be ideal. Pork belly works, but is too fatty in my opinion. Pork loin and chops are leaner options (see notes on how to tenderize for better taste).
  • 1/4 head cabbage chopped in to ~1" squares
  • 1-2 stalks green onion chopped in to 1-2" length pieces

For the sauce:

  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP mirin sub 2 TBSP sake + 1 tsp brown sugar if mirin not available
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  • On medium heat, add oil and ginger to the pan. Saute until fragrant. ~2 min
    1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp freshly minced ginger
  • Once ginger is fragrant, add in pork and saute.
    1/2 lb shaved pork
  • Pour in the sauce and saute the pork and sauce on its own until most of the liquid is cooked out. ~5 min
    1 TBSP soy sauce, 2 TBSP mirin
  • Once most of the liquid is evaporated, add vegetables and saute, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
    1/4 head cabbage, 1-2 stalks green onion
  • Add salt & pepper to taste
    Salt & Pepper


  1. If using ginger powder, add 2 tsp ginger powder to the sauce. Omit the ginger and oil sauté step and skip to sauté-ing the pork.
  2. To tenderize leaner cuts of meat, marinate in the soy sauce/mirin/sake sauce for at least 1 hour. The meat will become darker the longer it marinates, but the soy sauce and the alcohol will do its work to make the meat more tender. 
Keyword stir fry

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