This is one of my favorite Japanese dishes. In English it roughly means “cubed porkbelly,” which is basically porkbelly cut into cubes (duh!) and braised in a flavorful soup. By the time it’s finished cooking, it is utterly tender, flavorful and some of the best food you’ll ever have. Oh, and it’s deceptively easy to make, without the need for a lot of hands-on time.
Note that this is a fatty and very rich dish, so you won’t need much to fill you up.
The recipe I used was based on one from justhungry.com.
What you’ll need:
- 1-1.5 lbs good quality pork belly
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 star anise
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 2 cups of water
What to do:
- Cut the porkbelly into cubes about 1-inch square. A little bigger is OK. If there is skin on the pork belly, you can either leave it on or trim it off.
- Heat a pot or high-sided fry pan with a heavy bottom and brown the porkbelly cubes.
- Move the meat to the edges of the pan and add the sugar. Stir a bit until caramelized and coat the meat by stirring it in the sugar.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and bring to a simmer. After it simmers, lower the heat to a very gentle simmer. Cover and let it cook for 3 or so hours. Put a lid on it and let it simmer gently for about 3 hours.
- If there is skin on the porkbelly you can trim it off before serving.
To serve, put a little bit of the cooking liquid into a small bowl, along with some cubes of the meat. You can put a bit of garnish on top, if you like, such as thinly-sliced scallions.
Alternatively, you can put some cubes of meat over a small bowl of rice and spoon some of the cooking liquid on top.