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Learn how to make this amazing melt in your mouth Japanese Braised pork belly (kakuni)!
This post contains affiliate links.
Good god to I love pork belly. Tender pieces of fatty, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. I just can’t get enough.
Ok, well maybe I can get enough….the stuff is pretty damn rich.
So seeing we’re smack dab in the middle of Japanese food month, we are making make Japanese braised pork belly (kakuni).
You’re going to love this. The delicious umami flavor if the Japanese seasonings paired together with the oh so tender pork belly makes for a damn good dish.
You know when you get that bowl of ramen and it has that one delicious piece of pork belly? It melts in your mouth and makes you feel all happy inside? Well we’re about that have that in the comfort of our own home.
And you’ll be surprised at how easy this is. Slow cooked for hours, this stuff is AH-MA-ZING.
Japanese braised pork belly is called kakuni. So if you’re at a Japanese restaurant and see kakuni on the menu, order it.
Now I have a really hard time finding a big slab of pork belly. So I buy thick sliced pork belly from the grocery and cut it into 2″ pieces. If you find a big slab, that great. Just cut it in 2″ pieces.
I used the following ingredients to prepare this dish. Note these are affiliate links and I earn a small commission if you buy through these links. But guys, It helps me run this blog.
If you want to learn a little more about the Japanese ingredients I use in my cooking, check out this post about the essential Japanese pantry items.
The pork belly is first simmered on low for about 3 hours to get nice and super tender. Then we drain it and simmer it in a bath of soy sauce, dashi stock and sweet mirin for about 30 minutes to give it that nice umami flavor and sticky goodness.
Once your pork belly is done braising, if you want those delicious caramelized edges, use a torch just to sear the edges, or throw it under the broiler for a minute or two.
Beware the broiler though…the sauce contains a lot of sugar which will burn very easily. Set off smoke alarms. Cause whole building evacuations. This happened to a “friend” of mine…ahem. Ok, ok, it was me.
Hopefully no one else in the building knew it was me…
Anyways, just be careful. It will burn. I wish I had a kitchen torch.
And that’s that guys. This Japanese Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) is the epitome of melt-in-your-mouth umami goodness. Serve it with some basic fried rice, use it in stir fry or ramen, or just eat it.
If you’re looking for some more Japanese dishes, check these guys out:
Kakuni (Japanese Pork Belly)
- Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat and brown the pork belly on all sides.
- Add enough water to cover the pork belly and add the ginger and green onions. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 2 hours. Pork belly should be tender.
- Drain the pork belly. I highly recommend saving the cooking liquid for future use.
- Put remaining ingredients in a pot with pork belly and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes, uncovered. Sauce should be reduced.
- Drain and place pork belly pieces on a lined baking sheet. Broil each side for 3-5 minutes, until lightly crisped and caramelized.
- Place the pork belly under the broiler for 5-10 minutes to crisp up the fat. Be careful not to let it burn! It will burn quickly due to the sugar in the braising liquid.
- Buy the pork belly with the least amount of fat you can find. It will still have plenty of fat to be nice and tender.
- If you don't have sake, you can substitute a dry white wine;
- You can substitute chicken stock for the dashi, but the flavor of the dish will not be as good.