Learn how to make this Braised Vegan ‘Beef’ using Pomelo Pith!
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
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.
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:
- Wash: Clean ’em well! I have a dedicated scrubber to wash produce.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Marinade: By now, you can start prepping your dish! Marinate the piths for 4 hours or preferably overnight.
- 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.
Tips & Tricks
- 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.
- 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).
- Change the water: You must change the water or there is a chance of spoilage.
- 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.
- Variations: Once the pomelo pith is prepared, use whatever braising sauce you like!
- 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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