Learn how to make this Braised Vegan ‘Beef’ using Pomelo Pith!

Inspiration

Have you tried braising piths before? They have a really cool meat-like texture (think frozen tofu), but more tender. They soak up flavour like a sponge and are perfect for braising, soups and stir fries if prepped right! 

Utilizing every bit of any ingredient is a common practice in many cultures, specifically for Chinese and Japanese— both my grandmas were a master at ‘zero waste’ cooking. I often found pieces of who knows what in my soups and meals, one specially being piths of fruits. 

I took my Chinese grandmas Cantonese method of preparing and braising the pith and paired it with my Japanese grandmas method of using every bit of a marinade for a bit of a fusion-type dish. 

Once you prepare the pomelo to remove the bitterness though go wild and use your favourite braising sauce! 😋

How to Braise Pomelo Pith

The Ingredients

You’ll need preferably organic, pomelos. I highly recommend choosing the ‘red-flesh’ variety as I find the bitterness less strong than the yellow-fleshed.

As for the braising sauce, you can use whatever you like! I went with a Yakiniku-fu (Japanese BBQ-like) sauce with soy sauce, sake, sugar, sesame oil, apples, scallions, chili bean sauce and a touch of black pepper.

The Directions

Preparing the pomelos are quite easy, but it does just takes a bit of (hands-off) time and patience. The key point to this dish is removing the bitterness because then it becomes like a blank canvas where you can really flavour it to however you like– think of it like cooking tofu! So how do we remove the bitterness properly? Here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Wash: Clean ’em well! I have a dedicated scrubber to wash produce.
  2. Cut: Cut the pomelo in half and then into quarters. Then cut off the outer green/yellow rind (be generous when cutting it off so NONE remain). Then rinse the piths.
  3. Soak & rinse: Soak the piths in water for 2-4 days. 3 days seems to be the sweet spot for most but it will depend on the thickness of your pomelo. Change the water 2-3 times per day, squeezing the water out of the piths each time.
  4. Boil: On the third day, squeeze out all the water out of the piths. Then boil it for 3-5 minutes to remove any remaining bitterness.
  5. Marinade: By now, you can start prepping your dish! Marinate the piths for 4 hours or preferably overnight.
  6. Cook the piths: Remove excess liquid out of the piths and stir fry over medium high heat until you get a bit of charring (adds a nice touch of texture and flavour). Then pour in some of the marinade and allow it to simmer in the sauce covered. It the sauce looks very concentrated, add 1/4-1/2 cup of water to dilute it a bit. Remove the lid and continue to cook until you can pierce it with a fork. The longer you cook it, the softer it will become.

Serve with rice and your protein of choice for a complete meal! May I suggest this cold spicy tofu or black sesame goma-dofu? 😉

Tips & Tricks

  1. Use pomelo with thick skin: You’ll need to remove the rind which will make the pith thinner. The thicker the pith, the meatier the texture will be and won’t break apart.
  2. Soaking the pith: Depending on the thickness of your pith, soak it for 2-4 days. Thinner piths about 2 days and thicker piths about 3 days (I soaked it for 3 days with the pomelo in the photos).
  3. Change the water: You must change the water or there is a chance of spoilage.
  4. Taste & adjust: This is really one of those recipes that you’d want to taste and adjust as you cook because every pith is different in thickness and size. As well, how much you remove the water out of the piths can dilute the braising sauce. Always start with lesser amounts as you adjust.
  5. Variations: Once the pomelo pith is prepared, use whatever braising sauce you like!
  6. To store: Keep in a air tight container refrigerated for up to 2 days.

SAVE IT FOR LATER! ↓

If you recreate this Braised Pomelo Pith recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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Braised Pomelo Pith


Description

Learn how to make this Braised Vegan ‘Beef’ using Pomelo Pith!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 pomelo (preferably organic)

Yakiniku-fu Marinade:

  • 3 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp sake or mirin
  • 12 tbsp sugar, depending on sweetness you like
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 grated apple
  • 2 sliced scallions OR 1/4 grated onion
  • 12 tsp chili bean sauce
  • pinch of black pepper

Instructions

  1. Scrub and rinse the pomelo. Cut it in half and then in quarters. Cut off the outer green/yellow skin and then remove the flesh of the fruit from the pith. Snack on the fruit.
  2. Rinse the pith and then add it to a large tub/bowl. Soak the pith in water for 3 days (minimum), changing the water 2-3 times per day. 
  3. On the third day after the final soak OR the next day, drain the water and rinse the pith. Squeeze out all excess water. Slice the piths into chunks. Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium high heat and boil the piths for 3-5 minutes. If your piths are quite thin, boil for 3 minutes. If thicker, 5 minutes. Drain and then shock it with ice cold water.
  4. Make the marinade by adding all the ingredients to a shallow dish. Drain the piths again and squeeze out the water from the piths. Place into the dish and let it marinade overnight. 
  5. Remove the container from the fridge and separate the piths from the marinade. Gently squeeze out some of the marinade out of the piths.
  6. Over medium high heat, add 1 tbsp of oil and fry the piths for about 1-2 minutes. Add 1/3-1/2 the amount of the marinade and another 1/4-1/2 cup of water (depending on how much piths you have, how much water remained in the pith and how flavourful you want it). Bring it to a boil, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid, add the scallions from the marinade and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the pith is the softness to your liking. 
  7. Plate, garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with rice and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Helpful Equipment
  2. Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer). 

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Konnichiwa

About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.


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5 Comments

  1. LOVE this recipe… thrifty AND delicious! I substituted dark maple syrup for the sugar, added some gochujang and smoked paprika. I steam-braised a chopped onion with fresh garlic and ginger first before adding the marinated pith. Delish! Thanks for another innovative recipe.

  2. Sooo good! Is it okay to eat the whole thing by myself?! The whole time making it I thought, how is this going to work? And then, bam! Wow. So flavourful and delicious! It’s very filling but also isn’t as heavy as tofu or other meat substitutes, so digests well, too. I am seriously impressed. I think would be a great crowd pleaser. What a creative and delicious idea for a dish! Will definitely make again!

  3. I mean, we’ve all heard of using mushrooms, tofu or tempeh as meat substitutes, but I’d never considered pomelo pith prior. A part of me was admittedly dubious, but I’m glad I followed through with this dish! I enjoyed the texture more than I thought I would, and the marinade calls for a second bowl of rice—you’ll want to sop up every last drop. 💦 Thanks, Lisa!

  4. HI! I love your site & IG.. all you post brings a big smile to my face and tummy <3
    I was wondering if you've tried this with Orange piths? I have a lot and want to do an experiment 😀

    Any comments on this will be appreciated 🙂