Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Donabe rice with home-cured pork belly and satsuma yam

I got a special gift from my friend, Ms. Wendy Yu, who is a serious foodie and wonderful person.

It was slices of Chinese-style home-cured pork belly, which Wendy's mom made. She said her mom marinated the pork belly slices in Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine), salt, and other secret ingredients. and they were air-dried for some days. We decided to use a piece to cook with the rice. Mmm...it was a serious looking pork belly.

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I removed the skin part of the belly and cut it into small pieces. In the double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san", the rice was assembled with the broth (dashi stock, Chinese wine, and light soy sauce), pork, and satsuma yam (Japanese sweet yam), and cooked for 15 minutes over medium-high heat over stove-top.

Voila. The special pork rice was ready with such an easy preparation. I could smell the intensely rich aroma of the pork once the donabe lids were removed. The flavor was really fantastic, and I couldn't believe just a slice of the cured pork belly made such a difference. With the sweet dense flavor of the satsuma imo, this pork rice became a rich complete dish.

Here's the recipe. I know, it won't be the same, but to substitute the homemade Chinese-style pork belly, you can make a quick marinade of the pork (with 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine and 1/2 teaspoon salt), or use Chinese sausage.

Cured Pork Belly and Satsuma Yam Rice

1.5 rice cups (270 ml) short grain white rice
1/2 rice cup (90 ml) sweet (mochi) rice
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
1 tablespoon usukuchi shoyu (light soy sauce)
350 ml dashi stock
1 large slice Wendy's mom's Chinese-style cured pork belly
1/2 pound satsuma yam, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

1. Slice of the skin from the pork belly. Cut the pork belly into small pieces.
2. Rinse both kinds of the rice together and drain.
3. In the donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san", combine the rice, dashi stock, Chinese rice wine, and usukuchi shoyu. Top the rice with the pork and satsuma yam.
4. Soak the rice for 20 minutes.
5. Cover the donabe with both lids. Cook over medium-high heat for 15 minutes.
6. Turn off th eheat and let it rest (with the lids on) for 20 minutes.
7. Toss all the ingredients gently. Serve with chopped mixed herbs.