This is the third of a series of recipes for preparing Kakuni.
This particular recipe can be considered as the basic “professional” one, altough it is open to variations as far as spices and presentations are concerned!
-Large raw pork belly lumps: 1 kg
-Fresh ginger, finely chopped, 1~2 tablespoons
-Japanese sake: 2 cups
-Soy sauce: 2 cups
-Sugar: 2 large tablespoons
-Salt: 2 pinches
One can and ought (according to prefences) to add mirin/sweet sake, star anise, lemon zest, green parts of leeks and so on!
-Get everything prepared first!
-Cut the pork into about 6cm wide slices.
-Fry pork on both sides first. This will help the meat suck in the “juices”!
-Fry until the colour above is reached.
-Scoop out the excess fat, taking care not to run it over the meat.
The picture above shows how much fat can scooped out!
If you use a non-stick frypan, there is no need to add oil before frying the pork, meaning less fat to scoop out!
-In a large and deep pan, drop in the meat. Add water just to cover meat. Switch on the fire. You can add water later litle by little to keep it above the meat.
Add ginger, leeks (green part), lemon zest (whole or minced) and star anise.
If you want to make it sweet, add a whole sliced onion!
-Make sure that all ingredients are clean. Check that the lemons are not waxed (in that case clean it out!)!
-Once brought to a boil, add soy sauce, Japanese sake, mirin/sweet sake and sugar.
Last, add salt (important!).
-Lower fire to low and continue scooping out any scum.
-When no more scum appears, cover with lid or a large piece of foil paper and simmer for a whole hour.
Check from time to time if there is enough soup in the pan. If the soup level goes under that of top of the meat, the taste will become too strong. Add water and Japanese sake until the soup reaches the meat level.
-Above picture shows starting point of the simmering process.
-Above picture shows the finished product inside the deep pan!
Check if the meat is well cooked. A pointed (Japanese-style) chopstick should easily go through the meat all the way.
But this does not mean you can eat it at once.
It is best to switch off the fire, let the cover on, and let it cool completely. Only then, the meat will be fully impregnated with the taste!
It will taste a lot better re-heated before serving it!
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