Chashu ~ Japanese Braised Pork チャーシュー 煮豚

Chashu ~ Japanese Braised Pork チャーシュー 煮豚

I posted my Shio Ramen recipe last week so I wanted to master Chashu, or Nibuta (which means slowly simmered or braised pork) to go on top of it! Chashu has always been my favorite ramen topping and fried rice ingredient. Many Ramen places in Japan will have a Chashu Fried Rice on the menu and I can never pass it up. Chashu is very versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes and of course who can resist slowly cooked pork belly? The aroma alone drives me crazy.

One of my favorite Ramen shops in Tokyo, Doraichi, is just a short walk away from our Azabujuban condo and makes some of the best Chashu in Tokyo in my honest opinion. Their Chashu is the old school, thickly sliced, fall apart when you bite into it pork belly Chashu. The kind I grew up with. Lately many Ramen shops in Japan don’t use pork belly or roll their pork and slice it very thin. There’s nothing wrong with this type of Chashu but unless it’s cooked correctly it can end up very dry and flavorless.

This recipe is really much easier than you think.

Yes it does take almost 3 hours to prepare but believe me it is so worth it. This is cooked very low and slow so once you get everything in the pot you can go off and do other things around the house. You can turn this one piece of pork belly and the sauce into at least three different meals like a Donburi Rice Bowl, Fried Rice or Lettuce Wraps! It’s the pork belly recipe that keeps on giving! I hope you love it as much as we do.

3 1/2 – 4 Pound Pork Belly
2 Cups Soy Sauce
2 Cups of Water
1 Cup of Sake
1 Cup of Mirin
1/2 Cup of Sugar
4 cloves of Garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife
1 3-inch piece of fresh Ginger, peeled & chopped in half
Green tops of 3-4 Scallions or one Tokyo Negi (save the white portion to chop as a topping for Ramen or the Chashu)

Heat a large cast iron skillet on high heat (or I use my large Le Creuset Dutch Oven so I only have to use one pot) and sear the pork belly front, back and each side so it has a nice golden brown color all over (no need to use any oil). This will take about 7-8 minutes. Remove the pork and set aside. If using the same pot wipe the pot clean with paper towels to get all of the fat left from the pork belly.

Now add the soy sauce, water, sake, mirin, sugar, garlic, ginger and scallion tops to the same pot and mix together over a medium heat and bring to a low boil. Add the the pork belly to the mixture.

If you have a Japanese wooden drop-lid place it on top, otherwise place a lid a bit smaller than your pot (or a double layer of aluminum foil shaped in a circle so it fits inside the pot with a little bit of room around it) on top. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. I turn the pork belly over every hour.

At around 2 1/2 hours poke your pork belly with a bamboo skewer or a thin chopstick. If the skewer comes out easily and there is no resistance your pork belly is finished. Shut off the heat and set the pot aside letting the pork belly cool in the marinade. You can remove it from the marinade when it is still a little warm to slice and eat right away or let it cool completely and wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

I like to strain the marinade and let it cool completely so the fat separates then you can remove the layer of fat from the top. I use the marinade as a sauce to drizzle on the Chashu when eating alone or as a Donburi (rice bowl) or add it to flavor my Chashu fried rice. You can slice the Chashu when cold then sear on each side in a skillet before eating to give it a nice crust.

Chashu ~ Japanese Braised Pork チャーシュー 煮豚
 
Ingredients
  • 3½ - 4 Pound Pork Belly
  • 2 Cups Soy Sauce
  • 2 Cups of Water
  • 1 Cup of Sake
  • 1 Cup of Mirin
  • ½ Cup of Sugar
  • 4 cloves of Garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife
  • 1 3-inch piece of fresh Ginger, peeled & chopped in half
  • Green tops of 3-4 Scallions or one Tokyo Negi (save the white portion to chop as a topping for Ramen or the Chashu)
Instructions
  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet on high heat (or I use my large Le Creuset Dutch Oven so I only have to use one pot) and sear the pork belly front, back and each side so it has a nice golden brown color all over (no need to use any oil). This will take about 7-8 minutes. Remove the pork and set aside. If using the same pot wipe the pot clean with paper towels to get all of the fat left from the pork belly.
  2. Now add the soy sauce, water, sake, mirin, sugar, garlic, ginger and scallion tops to the same pot and mix together over a medium heat and bring to a low boil. Add the the pork belly to the mixture.
  3. If you have a Japanese wooden drop-lid place it on top, otherwise place a lid a bit smaller than your pot (or a double layer of aluminium foil shaped in a circle so it fits inside the pot with a little bit of room around it) on top. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 2½ to 3 hours. I turn the pork belly over every hour.
  4. At around 2½ hours poke your pork belly with a bamboo skewer or a thin chopstick. If the skewer comes out easily and there is no resistance your pork belly is finished. Shut off the heat and set the pot aside letting the pork belly cool in the marinade. You can remove it from the marinade when it is still a little warm to slice and eat right away or let it cool completely and wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  5. I like to strain the marinade and let it cool completely so the fat separates then you can remove the layer of fat from the top. I use the marinade as a sauce to drizzle on the Chashu when eating alone or as a Donburi (rice bowl) or add it to flavor my Chashu fried rice. You can slice the Chashu when cold then sear on each side in a skillet before eating to give it a nice crust.

 

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