Sunday, November 1, 2009

My favorite pork belly dish...Buta No Kakuni with Donabe

Buta No Kakuni (braised "square" pork) is a popular rustic Japanese dish and it's been my favorite pork belly dish since my childhood. So, I cook it myself sometimes, and I think I've posted pictures of my Buta No Kakuni more than a few times in my last blog site. Well, here it is again.

My soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe", is the best cooking tool for this dish, as the pork becomes so tender and the broth builds the deep complex flavors when cooked with this donabe.

I've tried different methods of making Buta No Kakuni before, but I've concluded that I prefer when the meat is directly braised, instead of searing the outside before braising. In this way, the meat becomes so jiggly tender without having the crusty (foreign) texture outside.

I first boil the cubed pork belly for about 5 minutes and drain, so that the excess fat and particles can be removed.

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In the soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe", I combine sliced onion, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 600 ml of water, and 100 ml of sake. Then, I placed about 2 pounds of boiled and drained pork belly cubes on top. Line the top with otoshi-buta (inner lid, or a piece of parchment paper), and close with the top lid. Bring it to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 2 hours.

Add 100 ml of soy sauce and tofu shirataki (optional). Simmer for additional 30 minutes.

That's it! The aroma is so wonderful, and the taste is even better. Serve with karashi mustard.