Today, I want to share with you how to make ”Kakuni”, Japanese braised pork.
”Kakuni” is one of the most popular Chinese influenced dishes that Japanized for over the years. I added ginger and long green onion as aromatics instead of spices like Chinese star anise cinnamon. We tend to prefer mild and not too intense flavor, that’s why.
The pork cooked slowly in sweet soy sauce for long hours, that makes pork so tender. The recipe is easy, all you have to do is to be patient while cooking and resting.
The next day, I always make Kakuni Udon noodles to use up all the savory sauce.
My mouth is watery!
Let’s get started!
Pork shoulder or belly 800g~1kg (≒2 pounds)
Green part of long green onion
100ml l Sake
100~150ml water ※enough to cover the pork
50ml tablespoons Mirin
50ml Soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sugar
5 boiled eggs
2 packages Udon noodles (frozen)
1. Peel ginger and slice thinly. Keep the skin for later use.
2. Pat dry your pork shoulder. Cut into 5~6 cm cubes (2 inches). You can also use pork belly. I prefer the shoulder for it contains less fat.
Heat your frying pan on high, sear the pork on each side. This will prevent your pork releasing the Umami.
Add water enough to cover the pork, it boils right away. Add ginger skin and green part of the long green onion. These aromatics remove unpleasant smells and add refreshing aroma to pork.
Keep boiling for a couple of minutes to remove scum and unwanting smells. This step is called “Shitayude”, literally means pre-boiled. We do this often in Japanese cooking to make the clear taste.
3. Transfer the pork into a heavy bottom pot. Add sliced ginger, sugar, sake, the half amount of soy sauce and mirin. Add water to cover, put the lid on and cook on medium for 30 mins.
4. After 30 minutes, add the rest of the seasonings. The reason why we add the seasonings to two times is to prevent shrinking the meat. Moreover, if you add the seasonings all at once, the outside is seasoned well but the pork doesn’t absorb the sauce.
5. Cook another 60 minutes, if toothpick inserts easily, it’s done.
You can eat right away, however, one more step will make your braised pork next level.
Leave it until comes to room temperature, then chill in the fridge to solidify the fat.
I left it in a fridge overnight. Remove as much as you can, but leave a little bit for the flavor.
6. Add boiled egg and cook about 10 minutes flipping over half way.
7.Transfer to a serving bowl. Cut the egg in half, and put it on the side. And put blanched spinach next to egg. There you have Kakuni, the Japanese braised pork.
Kakuni goes very well with hot steamed rice! It is so tender and flavorful, the pork absorbs sweet soy sauce all the way through. So good!
The next day, to finish this delicious dish, I always add Udon noodles to the rest of the sauce.
Cook until well mixed and absorb all the sauce. “Kakuni” will end up in chunks but it is so good!
I would say I like this Udon more than Kakuni itself. Transfer to a dish and sprinkle chopped scallions, drizzle sesame oil if you like.
You can use other noodle or even rice is good, too.
Give it a try and let me know how you like it!