Kakuni Braised Pork Belly Recipes

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KAKUNI (BRAISED PORK BELLY)



Kakuni (Braised Pork Belly) image

Kakuni - "square-simmered" in Japanese - is a dish of pork belly cubes that are tender and savory after simmering slowly in a base of soy sauce, sugar and sake. The dish is eaten all over Japan, but its origins are in China. The dish most likely stemmed from dongpo pork: a Chinese braised pork belly dish believed to have been created in the Song dynasty. Because of a strong Chinese presence on Japan's island of Kyushu, Japanese-Chinese style dishes emerged over time, becoming more distinctly local with each passing century. Now, kakuni remains popular in hubs like Nagasaki - but it's cooked in homes and izakayas all over. By blending basic Japanese ingredients and allowing ample patience while cooking, a deeply flavorful and rich dish that embodies comfort results.

Provided by Bryan Washington

Categories     dinner, meat, main course

Time 2h

Yield 2 to 4 servings

Number Of Ingredients 7

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork belly, cut into 2 1/2-inch squares
1 knob ginger (1 1/2 inches), scrubbed and sliced
1 1/2 cups sake
Soft-boiled eggs (optional)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Karashi (Japanese mustard paste), for serving (optional)

Steps:

  • Heat a frying pan over medium (you don't need to oil the pan) and sear the pork pieces on all sides until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. At the same time, bring a medium pot of water to a boil.
  • Remove the pork from the frying pan and wipe off the excess fat with paper towels. Place the pork and ginger in the boiling water, cover with a Japanese drop lid (see Tip) or make your own by shaping a sheet of aluminum foil into a round slightly smaller than the diameter of your pot, cutting large holes all through the foil for ventilation and setting it over the pork. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Drain pork and rinse under running water. Discard ginger. Place pork in a bowl, cover with cold water and allow meat to cool for 5 minutes, changing the water twice.
  • Lay the pork pieces in a single layer in the same pot (no need to wash), and add the sake and enough water so the liquids just cover the meat (about 4 cups). Bring to a boil over medium heat, skimming the scum as needed, then reduce the heat to low. Cover with the drop lid or foil with holes. Simmer for 1 hour, replenishing with water if needed. If you want to serve this dish with soft-boiled eggs, start preparing them now and then peel them.
  • After the pork has simmered for an hour, add the sugar to the pot. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then check meat for tenderness. A skewer should slide through easily. Continue simmering if needed.
  • Add the soy sauce to the pot, along with the peeled soft-boiled eggs, if using. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, and allow the dish to cool.
  • When ready to serve, pour 1/4 cup broth from the pot into a frying pan, and allow it to reduce for 5 minutes to create a sauce. To serve, place kakuni pork pieces and eggs, if serving, in dishes, and top with the sauce. Serve with karashi to taste, if using.

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Top Asked Questions

How to cook Kakuni pork belly?
Cut the pork belly into 2-inch cubes and return them to the pot, along with the scallions, ginger, garlic, niboshi, water, sake, sugar, soy sauce, and salt. Bring this to a boil, turn down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and partially cover with a lid. Simmer until the Kakuni can be cut in half with a fork (about 1 1/2 hours).
What is Japanese braised pork belly?
Pork belly is the cut where bacon originates and is quite heavy in fat. But the extended time that this Japanese-style braised pork belly is simmered with ginger and scallions reduces the fat in the finished dish. The pork then simmered again in a fresh pot of water and sauce ingredients to season it.
How to cook Kakuni?
Then poke the foil with a knife or a chopstick to make holes in several places. Though using a drop lid is the traditional way of cooking Kakuni, you could just put a lid on the pot though this may affect how evenly the pork is braised. 6. Transfer the liquid in which the pork was boiled into a container through a sieve and leave it in the fridge.
How to cook pork belly for sushi?
Cut the pork belly into 2-inch cubes and return them to the pot, along with the scallions, ginger, garlic, niboshi, water, sake, sugar, soy sauce, and salt. Bring this to a boil, turn down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and partially cover with a lid.

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