March 7, 2011

True dedication...

is waking up at 5AM to turn off the stove after 8 hours of stewing and tenderizing 2 pounds of pork belly for a buta kakuni meal. It's my own fault for not starting earlier, but some sleep deprivation is perfectly fine when pork belly ends up as good as this!

I always feared touching any fatty meats as a child, and by touching I mean ingesting. Mostly because my mother loves her family and only wants us to eat for our health. But, when you're exposed to a world of food the way I am, there's just no turning back.

Back to the cooking, the process was actually adopted from Morimoto's recipe. I love the simpleness and purity of this recipe. That's generally how I like to cook--no fussy ingredients, just tasting and using your cooking intuition. Paired with buta kakuni, CC & I prepared some soy sauce eggs and quick pickled cucumbers. I love my egg yolks a little runny, so I do a medium boil and steep my eggs in a soy sauce mixture. Here goes!

Searing pork belly skin.

Plating with some scallions and pickled cucumber.

Buta Kakuni, Soy Sauce Eggs, Pickled Cucumber
Serves 4

1 tbs vegetable oil

2 lbs boneless pork belly

1 1/2 cups rice

1 nob ginger

5 cloves garlic
3/4 cups mirin

1/4 Japanese soy sauce

4 T sugar

Heat the oil in a large casserole dish over high heat. Sear the pork belly, skin side down, until golden brown and crispy. Turn over and sear the other side. Remove and pour away the fat in the casserole.
Return the pork belly to the casserole. Sprinkle the rice around the meat. Add ginger, garlic and enough water to cover the pork by an inch and bring to a simmer over high heat. Braise gently until the pork is tender about 6 hours. Discard the rice and cooking liquid. Cover and refrigerate the pork belly for at least 8 hours. Cut the pork crosswise into 1 inch cubes. In a heavy medium saucepan, mix the mirin soy sauce, and sugar with 4 cups of water and bring the the mixture to a boil over high heat. Add the pieces of pork belly and reduce the heat. Partially cover the pan and simmer until the pork is very tender. Carefully transfer the pieces of pork onto a plate. Strain the cooking liquid and reduce it down to 1 cup.


2 eggs

½ cup soy sauce

1 T rice vinegar

1 t chili sesame oil

2 t sugar

Let eggs come to room temperature. Cook eggs in boiling water for exactly 7 minutes. Remove eggs and place in ice bath. Peels eggs and steep in soy sauce mixture for 15-20 minutes. Slice eggs and serve with sesame or scallion garnish.