Recipes - Entrees/Side Dishes
Pork belly "kakuni" on steamed tatsoi with wasabi
Serves 4 as main course, 8 as an appetizer
"Kakuni" means "square stew", a reference to the cubes-shaped pieces of meat. If pork belly sounds a little intimidating, just remember, that's what bacon is. Like bacon, pork belly has a lot of fat, not all of which cooks away. But that's what gives this dish its incredible flavour-and why the portions are small. Pork belly can be hard to find; if your butcher doesn't carry it, try a Chinese market. Serve this dish with steamed rice.
- 1 (2-1/2 pounds) piece of pork belly, about 5 by 6-inches and 1-1/4-inches thick
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 4 cups water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 tablespoon sliced fresh ginger
- 1 star anise pod
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1-1/2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup julienned leek (white part only)
- 4 large tatsoi or small bok choy, about 5-inches long, halved lengthwise
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh wasabi, wasabi powder mixed with water, or prepared wasabi in a tube
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
- Cut the piece of pork belly lengthwise into 2 pieces, each 5-inches by 3-inches and 1-1/4-inches thick. Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan or skillet over high heat until hot. Add the pork belly, skin side down, and cook, 3 to 4 minutes per side until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, in an ovenproof saucepan or Dutch oven just large enough to hold both pieces of pork belly in a single layer, combine all the braising liquid ingredients and bring to a boil. Add the browned pork belly, making sure both pieces are covered with braising liquid, and return to a boil. Skim off any foam that develops, decrease the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 2 hours, or until tender. Gently transfer the pork belly to a baking dish. Strain the liquid, discarding the solids, and pour it over the pork belly. Let cool completely, then refrigerate for a least 3 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, cut the pork belly into 1/2-inch squares, then combine them with 2 cups of the braising liquid, the shiitake mushrooms, and leek in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to a simmer, and cook until the pork belly is heated through, about 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, blanch the tatsoi
- To serve, place 2 halves of the tatsoi in the centre of each of 4 warmed shallow bowls. Divide the pork belly squares among the bowls, arranging them on top of the tatsoi. Spoon the sauce over the tatsoi and pork belly, then top each serving with a 1/2-teaspoon ball of wasabi. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Recipe courtesy of chef Hiro Sone, Terra restaurant, California and Ten Speed Press, publishers of “Terra, Cooking from the Heart of Napa Valley.”