Japanese Braised Pork Belly, Buta no Kakuni
Serves: 2-4
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ pounds Pork Belly (without skin)
  • 1 2-inch piece of fresh Ginger cut in half (skin on)
  • Green tops of one bunch of scallions
  • ½ cup sake
  • 5 Tablespoons sugar (I use superfine)
  • ½ cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Mirin
Instructions
  1. Fill a large pot of water (large enough to submerge the pork belly and one that has a lid, you will need it later) bring to a boil and add the pork belly.
  2. When the outside of the pork belly turns white, about 1-2 minutes, remove the pork & dump out the water.
  3. Rinse the pork belly under lukewarm water, pat dry.
  4. Heat a large skillet and sear the pork belly, starting with the fat side down. Sear all the sides evenly until brown.
  5. In the same large pot you used earlier, add pork belly, ginger and green onion tops, cover with water, turn heat on high. When water reaches a boil, turn heat down to low and skim the scum from the surface.
  6. Add a kamibuta, or paper lid (I made one out of aluminum foil, note photo) and simmer for an hour and a half. Remove pot from the heat and leave the meat to cool in the liquid in the pot, about 30-40 minutes. Set the aluminum foil lid on the side, you will use it again.
  7. Remove the pork belly from liquid and cut in 1½ inch pieces (you can discard the liquid or save it to use for soup later).
  8. Put the pork belly back into the pot and cover with enough water so it reaches one inch above the meat. Add the sake, turn heat on high. When the liquid boils, put on the aluminum foil lid again and simmer 15 minutes.
  9. Move aluminum foil lid a little to the side so you can add the sugar and soy sauce, put aluminum foil lid back on and add the regular lid to the pot with a 2-inch opening and simmer 20 minutes longer.
  10. Remove both the aluminum foil lid & regular lid and continue cooking until liquid is reduced by half, about 40 minutes. Turn meat over once halfway through.
  11. Add the mirin and simmer 2-3 minutes. Serve the Buta no Kakuni with Karashi (Japanese hot mustard) on the side. The spicy mustard compliments the sweetness of this dish very well. I like serving it with Japanese rice and a green vegetable on the side. Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.
Recipe by Lovely Lanvin at http://www.lovelylanvin.com/2011/05/31/japanese-braised-pork-belly-buta-no-kakuni/