Chashu チャーシュー

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Chashu #ramen | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

What is your favorite topping in your ramen?  For me it is the perfectly cooked soft-boiled marinated egg (Ajitsuke Tamago), however for most people including Mr. JOC, it is the melt-in-your-mouth juicy, tender, and flavorful slices of braised pork belly known as Chāshū (チャーシュー, 焼豚).

Chashu #ramen | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

The origins of chashu came from Chinese barbecued pork called Char Siu (叉燒).  Traditionally Chinese char siu is marinated in soy sauce, honey, hoisin sauce, rice wine, five spice powder and red food coloring, and then roasted in a covered oven or barbecued over a fire.  You have probably seen the slabs of barbecued pork hanging in Chinese deli shop windows.

On the other hand, Japanese chashu served with bowls of ramen are actually braised in soy sauce, sake and sugar at low temperature.  Then it’s kept marinated in the sauce till serving.  Chashu is sometimes called “nibuta” (煮豚) in Japanese, literally meaning “simmered/braised pork”.

Chashu #ramen | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Typically, chashu is prepared by rolling the pork belly into a log with butcher’s twine for the shape as well as keeping the pork moist.  As the pork belly block I buy from the local Japanese supermarket is a little too short for making into a log, I don’t do this step in my recipe.  However, if your pork belly piece is long enough, you could cut it into halves or roll into a log (in that case, use a smaller pot or increase the sauce portion so the sauce will cover the meat).

Speaking of pork belly, that’s actually my favorite pork cut for chashu.  There are other pork cuts that are used for chashu, such as pork shoulder and pork loin.  So if you can’t get pork belly (be sure to ask the butcher – sometimes it’s in their freezer), you can also make this recipe with other pork parts.

Chashu #ramen | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

First we sear the meat over high heat to caramelize the surface of the meat.  A cast iron pan is my go-to choice for browning meat.  With cast iron, you can really turn up the heat and food comes in direct contact with an evenly heated surface.  This step definitely makes a difference with the finished dish enhancing it with complex layers of flavors.

After browning the meat, it is then braised in soy sauce based seasoning at a low temperature for about 1 hour.  The pork will slowly soak up all the flavors in the pot.  Ginger and Tokyo negi helps remove the unwanted meat taste and adds more depth to the sauce.

When the sauce is reduced, it’s ready to serve.  Slice the chashu thinly but thick enough for the texture.  If you really want to take it a step further, use a propane torch to sear the slices to add smoky charred flavor.

Chashu #ramen | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Besides enjoying chashu with ramen or by itself, you can also use chashu as topping for other noodle dishes including Hiyashi Chuka and Tsukemen, make sandwich with buns, or use it for fried rice, which is my favorite way to use up the broken pieces or edges of chashu.

I’ve been cooking this quick chashu recipe for over 10 years and my family loves it.  Chashu served at ramen shops braise the meat for several hours and then marinate the meat in the refrigerator overnight to intensify the flavors.  This recipe is a shortcut version for those who want a quick and easy chashu recipe.  It takes less time to prepare and it’s much simpler, yet the final result is pretty phenomenal.

I originally shared this recipe back in 2011.  Since then many readers have tried this recipe and given me great feedback.  So this time I came back with a video and new sets of photography.

If you make ramen at home but don’t want to spend hours for chashu, I hope you try this recipe!

Chashu #ramen | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Here’s the video on How To Make Chashu on my YouTube Channel!  Enjoy!

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Chashu
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 3-4 as ramen topping
Ingredients
  • ¾ lb. pork belly block
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ Tbsp. oil
  • 2 inch ginger, sliced
  • 1 Tokyo negi (or leaks/green onions)
Seasonings
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ⅓ cup sake
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
    Chashu Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cut negi into 2 inch lengths and separate the green parts and white parts. For white parts, make an incision lengthwise and remove the soft green core. Keep it with the green part, which will be used later on for cooking.
    Chashu 1
  2. Stack up the white part of negi and slice thinly. Soak in cold water for 10 minutes and drain well. Put it in an air-tight container or cover with plastic wrap. We will use this for garnishing chashu later.
    Chashu 2
  3. Peel and slice ginger.
    Chashu 3
  4. Sprinkle and rub the salt on the pork belly. If your pork belly block is big, you have two options. Cut into smaller pieces or roll it into a log with butcher’s twine, keeping the thick fat on the outside. Start tying from the center of the log toward left and right.
    Chashu 4
  5. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet (or regular frying pan) over high heat and brown the fat side first, then flip over to brown the other side. It’ll take about 10 minutes.
    Chashu 5
  6. While browning, put all the ingredients for seasonings in a heavy-bottom pot (or regular pot).
    Chashu 6
  7. Place the pork belly in the pot and add ginger and negi and bring it to a boil.
    Chashu 7
  8. Place an otoshibuta (drop lid) on top of the meat. If you don’t have one, make one out of aluminum foil (and here’s how). Do not use a regular lid. To learn more about what Otoshibuta does, click here.
    Chashu 8
  9. Lower the heat to medium low and simmer, occasionally turning, for about one hour or until there is ¼ inch liquid left in the pot.
    Chashu 10
  10. Remove the otoshibuta and reduce the sauce until you can see the bottom of the pot when you scrape the sauce. Stay in the kitchen as the meat can easily get burnt if there is no liquid left. After 15-20 minutes or so, bubbles start to appear. You are getting close to the end. Turn off the heat when you see the bottom of the pot when you slide the meat around. The sauce is now thickened and meat is shiny.
    Chashu 11
  11. Take out the meat and cut into thin slices.
    Chashu 12
  12. This is an optional step, but use a propane torch or broiler to sear each slice of pork belly to enhance the flavor.
    Chashu 13
  13. Transfer to a serving plate and top with Shiraga Negi and Shichimi Togarashi. Or serve with ramen.
    Chashu 14
  14. If you don’t use the chashu right away, pack the chashu and the sauce in an air-tight plastic bag to give it more flavor all around. You can store it in the refrigerator up to 5 days and 3 weeks in the freezer.
Notes
If your pork belly still has rind and want to remove it, check this video for directions.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally shared in May 2011.  New video and photos are added in September 2014.  Recipe is slightly adjusted.

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    • Thanks Kat! I envy you for living in Japan where you find authentic ramen place everywhere. Here… some place have good quality, but even in the ay Area I would say we can only find 5 stores that are pretty good. So we end up going to the same place all the time and then get used to the taste…. You have to take me to a good ramen place when we visit Osaka next time! 😉

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    • Thank you Manu! My kids are into different kinds of noodles. I mean they eat ramen, but my son prefers Pho (Vietnamese noodle) and my daughter prefers Udon. Tough customers. But I only cook one kind of noodles at a time and I wish I can make Pho. We usually eat out. :-)

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    • Hi Kath! Yeah… Kombucha is totally different thing. It’s funny how both sounds similar though. Konbu is a type of seaweed and we use to make dashi (Japanese soup stock). So it has a lot of umami in there. I love this seasoning a lot although it’s a bit pricy. :-(

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  1. Your pork looks so lovely! I have never had the courage even to try making “step-by-step” photos. Your every stage looks perfect and beautiful. I am impressed.
    I love pork and the fatter it is the better (unfortunately). I have never heard about chashu, a new Japanese cooking term to learn :-) I am hungry (still haven’t had my breakfast!).
    I also try to post on the same days as you!
    By the way I have bought suribachi last weekend and am ready to make your shira ae this week! (I checked of course before-I can grind the sesame seeds very well in a regular mortar, but why lose the chance to buy a beautiful and new kitchen gadget? 😉 ) I am wondering now… how do you wash it? Doesn’t it change the colour if you try to grind some fresh herbs for example?
    (Is the kombucha you use simply the granulated kombucha drink?)

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    • Hi Sissi! Thanks for noticing the difficulty of “step-by-step” pictures. I used to cook faster, but now it slows me down… plus I forget what is actual cooking time because of distraction. Well, but I really wanted to show how easy it is to cook Japanese food, so I’m doing this. I don’t bake, so if anyone who’s doing step-by-step I really appreciate it. What is common sense may not be common sense to me, you know. Plus this will be my kids’ cookbook, so I won’t let them say “I don’t know how to cook”! 😉 Good to know your post day, so I expect to go that particular day. :-) Yay! You bought Suribachi. Washing – just rinse with hot water and use brush to clean. Just no dish washer. I don’t think it change color as long as you wash it after. It’s not natural stone so it won’t absorb the pigments, I think. Konbucha – please read the post? :-)

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      • Nami, thank you for the suribachi washing advice. I would love so much to post step-by-step photos, but my steps are so messy it would be awful to look at. One more important thing: my kitchen is quite big, but very dark :-(
        Sorry, I must have missed the konbucha explanation.

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        • Sissi, I added the explanation after you and other person asked. :-) My kitchen has no window and light is ALWAYS on. I wish I have a window here… Next to kitchen, we have a breakfast nook, where there is a window to the backyard. But so dark… I use flash to take step-by-step. :-)

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  2. Chashu sounds like char siew but its not, I’ve never seen this in any Japanese restaurant, except on ‘Just One Cookbook’ e-restaurant where we can only eat with our eyes:)

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    • Hi Three-Cookies! Yes I’m sure it comes from Chinese cuisine (Japanese have lots food that originated from China and other Asian countries but we completely or slightly change the original food, like char siew). Have you had Japanese ramen? Some of Japanese restaurants here offer ramen along with other Japanese food. Maybe you know it next time you visit Japanese restaurant. :-)

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  3. This is definitely yum yum! But can we do w/o the Konbucha if we don’t have it/can’t find in store? what’s the difference between using the pot lid and the drop lid? This is interesting! 😀
    I love coming to your blog coz I’m always learning new things! 😀

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    • Hi Lyn! If you don’t have Konbucha, you can use salt instead. Konbucha gives nice Umami from the seaweed… You must use drop lid for this recipe. You see, the liquid is not covering the meat? With drop lid, liquid will go all the way to the top and go down… like circulate so you can cook with small amount of soup and cook faster. Thank you for your compliment Lyn! :-)

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  4. Em.. Like “Three-Cookie” at 1st glance i also tot your Chashu is our asian “Char Siew” which look pretty similar but we used pork fillet instead of pork belly.

    Your version is indeed very special but i must go find “Konbucha” 1st. Must go the Japanese department store and take a look :)

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    • Hi Ellena! Usually Japanese chashu is pork shoulder rolled into a log (that’s why it’s round). But the way I cook chashu is much easier than the log and stew…I only cook for 20 minutes or so. Very quick chashu. :-) Yes, department store should have it. It might says Kobucha too. Both same thing. 昆布茶. So it could be in tea section. :-)

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    • Hi Gourmantine! If you say that…then I have double amount of food that I want to cook from your blog. And I think I can only make your dressing…LOL. Seriously!

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  5. I love this post, Nami. Chinese char siu is my absolute favourite. I’m so happy to know that there is a Japanese version and belly pork (fave cut of pork) could be used. Will search high and low for konbucha. This will surely be a family favourite.

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    • Hi Adora! I feel like all the Japanese food is a different version of some other country’s food (like curry, yakisoba, yakiniku… endless). Hope you can find Konbucha in tea section (konbu-cha). It gives really nice savoriness from konbu seaweed. Thank you Adora!

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  6. Nami, that is soooo beautiful! I absolutely adore pork belly! I used to eat so much of it when we lived in Singapore for a while… I haven’t had any since we moved back in 2007! I am going to go on a pork belly hunt soon :) Thanks for the inspiration!

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    • Hi Marsha! Me too, I love pork belly more and more after I start cooking it. If we don’t eat too much it should be okay… right? 😀

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  7. How sweet of your husband to keep you updated on statistics of your blog, facebook, and food gawker! It is so smart of you to improve upon an already delicious recipe!

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    • Hi Allie! I think he really enjoys that we have a blog. I have to say he’s more serious than me in fact. I’m just focusing on making good food, taking good pictures, making my blog very organized… and that’s it. 😀 It’s good that we are using our strength in different parts of blogging.

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  8. OMG, this is such a scrumptious sinful and tempting way to make this pork. I would never have come up with a recipe, other than dicing them in little squares, to deep fry them for crispy little nuggets that I can add to biscuits, and cornbread.
    Love the creative idea, and beautiful photos…thanks for sharing the yummy recipe, as well:DDD

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  9. Nami, this pork dish looks incredibly delicious and simple! I would love to make this some night for my husband… I can already tell he would love it so much. Thank you for sharing this recipe and your kind comments on my blog… They make my day! You have a very inviting blog and vibrant photos, too. It’s always a pleasure to visit and see what’s new!

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    • Hi Georgia! We always think this kind of “meaty” dish is for husband. 😉 I in fact eat 2 slices at most when I put them as a topping for ramen. Thanks for visiting! :-)

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    • Hi Sandra! Your kids love ramen, so I hope you will give this a try and add to the ramen – then it will be very authentic. 😉 My husband will be happy hearing your compliments but not too much please. He’s already a confident man. HAHAHA.

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  10. That looks amazing! I am going to have to go to the Asian Market and see if I can find the ingredients to make this dish. I love your site. I am learning all kinds of new things.

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    • Hi Melissa! I’m glad you enjoy my blog. I sometimes feel bad that everyone has to go find a new ingredient (that may sit in the cabinet for the rest of life). I use Konbucha for several recipes, so if you have one, that will be great! Thank you for visiting my site Melissa!

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  11. Aww my best friends mom used to make chashu for my friend and I when we lived together. Thanks to you Nami now I can make my own! (Though I will still gladly take hers) Do you think I can use Umami paste instead of konbucha? I think so huh? I can’t wait for the Ramen recipe, do you use milk in your broth? LOL I will eagerly await till Wednesday!

    17
    • Oh Lindsey you were lucky to taste your friend’s mom’s cooking! 😀 I Googled Umami paste and found it. Wow I didn’t know about this product. I guess it’s another “fancy” product of MSG. Konbucha has MSG too in fact. I just checked and it says so. I guess once in a while is okay… I’m not a big fan of MSG and I rather not to use it. Milk in the broth! To make it milder?? Hmmm more depth in Ramen soup making… How come milk? Did you hear about it from a ramen restaurant?

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  12. This looks kind of charred kind of meat even though it cooked in a liquid.Your pictures are beautiful.You always take so much effort to take pictures of each step..I lack in that kind of patience :) I think a trip to japanese store is due now!Have a nice week ahead!

    19
    • Hi Tanvi! I know… step-by-step is definitely not easy…but I do it because I want to show how easy it is. Plus, my English is not good enough to explain something in words…. Pictures can tell everything… I hope? Thank you so much for your compliment but I learn a lot about photography from you, Tanvi. 😉

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  13. Nami, it looks delicious! I’ve never even heard of using Konbucha, I’m going to have to look into it…thank you for sharing your secret;o) When I make chashu, very rarely, I’ve been using Pork Loin, It looks much better with the Belly like you used! I look forward to your Ramen recipe. You give me such inspiration :o)

    21
    • Thank you Kay! You might have heard Kobucha (昆布茶). I use for cooking, but some use for drinking… It’s not cheap (usually like $6-8 per can, but forgot). Yes, your way is traditional method Kay. Mine is cooked only for 20 minutes. Very fast… but it tastes pretty good. It’s perfect for preparing homemade ramen in a short time! 😉

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    • Thank you Dee! I am actually too busy to care small things behind the scene (maybe not “small” things?). So I’m glad my husband is taking care of it. At least he’s having fun. Haha a cell phone pick? I put some pictures (Ramen and Crepes) via iPhone on my facebook page and I thought the quality is not that bad. But I know what you mean.. facebook and food blog is different level.. :-)

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  14. the pork belly you had choosen look so good and fresh. This is also a popular Chinese dish, we have it roast or cook similar like your way. I have yet to try to cook at home, must try soon. Yours also look so yummy!

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    • Thank you Sonia! Yes I think they are organic (pretty sure…but not 100% sure). This pork belly came from a Japanese organic market. It tastes very good. :-) I like Chinese version too! :-)

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  15. Wow, homemade chashu…the meat sure look beautiful and very tasty…but honestly I will not even try to make it…so many steps, your husband and kids are lucky :-) The pictures are awesome…thank you so much for this nice post and have a wonderful week Nami :-)

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    • Hi Juliana! Maybe I put too many step-by-step pictures that you think it’s too difficult? This is very easy Juliana. :-) We only cook the meat in sauce for 20 minutes or so. You brown meat, cook for 20 minutes, and that’s it! 😉 Thank you for your compliments Juliana!

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  16. Another great one Nami. There’s always so much eye candy here and alway some new and helpful information. Kudos to your husband to for taking away some of the stress so you can just cook and take pictures.

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    • Thank you Sandra! I hope you liked my another “pork” entry! 😉 Yes… he takes away some of my stress…but I’m still stressed! 😀 I’m a stress bug (not sure if there is such term…).

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    • Thank you Mandy! Haha not really a feast… Just the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I can’t bake and I’m always envious in your home when you bake. :-)

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  17. Hee heee, so the point is you don’t have to be good at technology, you just need a husband to be good at it. My hb is in the technology field but so far off from IT-related work….so no one to help me with the analysis. Your chashu looks really good – as good or even better than some of the ramen stores that serve chashu ramen.

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    • Hi Tigerfish! You are the funniest! I think my husband knows that I know nothing, and he wants this blog to be successful way more than me. He’s more like a business person and I’m just a housewife! 😀 Thanks Tigerfish. :-)

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  18. I’m always delighted to visit and find a new and scrumptious recipe! Especially fun to find a Japanese dish that I’m unfamiliar with…and every single one has looked delicious! This is something I’d love to try :)

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    • Hi Liz! Thank you so much for your kind words. :-) There will be a lot more unfamiliar dishes… I hope you will enjoy. Then you will realize Japanese restaurants in the US don’t serve most of stuff we eat at home. :-)

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    • Hi Manu! Awwwww you are so sweet….and this “Sisters” mean a lot to me, Manu… thank you so much. I wish I can express better but over the Internet only way is to write it. And I’m not so good at different kind of expressions in English… I hope you know how much this special “sister” award means to me. Thank you!

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    • Thank you Tiffany! Yes it is. We used to watch TV together after kids go to sleep, but now we work on the blog – well he still watches TV shows while working on computer. We have learned a lot since we started this blog. :-)

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    • Hi Tina! Thank you for the egg rolls recipe – I already copied into Word and it’s in my future cooking folder. 😀 It’s so great that I don’t have to buy a cookbook anymore….and it’s multi-cultural too. The best ever! 😉

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  19. Japanese chashu is different but Chinese char siew but it is delicious. I tasted in in San francisco once and again in Osaka and really like it. That chashu ramen in Osaka was so good I would love to make it at home. Thanks for sharing this recipe and I can’t wait for your ramen soup recipe.

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    • Hi Biren! I wonder if Japanese restaurants in your area has Ramen… I realized most Japanese restaurants don’t have ramen… here in SF we have “ramen” restaurants. I guess we have enough Japanese (Asian population) here that usually they are all crowded. With long line waiting outside…before the restaurant opens! Thanks for your comment and I hope you like my miso ramen recipe. :-)

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      • I don’t think there is a restaurant here in the Twin Cities making their own ramen. I remember there is one in Nihon Machi, SF with a restaurant making their own noodles and it was delicious! There is yet another restaurant that served Sapporo ramen which I really enjoyed. :)

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        • Yeah after reading everyone’s comments, that’s what I realized. I know which one you are talking about. I wish I could see you back then. Next time you have a trip to SF, please do let me know. I’d love to meet you in person!

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  20. This really looks picture perfect and your recipe sounds delicious. Your pork would be a big hit with my family. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

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    • Thank you Rebecca! I’ve been telling my husband about everyone’s comments about him too. :-) He was very happy to hear. I LOVE traveling with you! :-)

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  21. Hi Jill! Thank you for such a kind comment Jill. Do I explain well? I’m glad… My English is pretty basic and not fancy, so maybe it’s good thing. It can be simple. :-) I hope everyone starts to think we eat more than Sushi at home! Thank you so much!

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  22. Hi Lin Ann! Haha…my husband is not like a programmer or anything. He just likes to figure things out by himself (which character is not in me at all). We are both slowly learning too. :-) I guess not all Japanese restaurants have ramen… If you had one before, always chashu is on top. :-) Thanks for visiting my site Lin Ann!

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  23. Hi Kristen! Yes… I’m very thankful that my husband is helping me out, especially the technical part of the blog. But I am building my blog and it’s been really fun. I like organizing stuff, so it fits my liking. 😀 Thank you so much for visiting me!

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  24. My husband also is the behind the scenes guy on my blog! Each day he loves looking at all the stats and tells me where everything is coming from! This looks so yummy! and the photos are wonderful!!

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    • Hi Beth! Oh I didn’t know your husband helps out too. We are very lucky to have such a knowledgeable husband. :-) Thanks for the compliment!

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  25. Thanks Maria! Yes, it’s very easy. You just need to remember you stick around in the kitchen for the last part. But this is done in less than 60 minutes. I mean just browning the meat and cook in the pot for 20 minutes. Not bad at all. :-)

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  26. Hi Nami-

    I’m new to your site and I love it! I grew up with Japanese home cooking, and I love to see your recipes! I made your chashu tonight and made the chicken shiso (one of my favorite herbs!) gyoza the other night. Both were very delicious! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes!

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    • Hi Tiffany! Thank you for your kind comment. :-) I guess you are Japanese? Wow you made Chashu and Chicken Shiso Gyoza! It is the greatest reward to me when someone cooked my recipe and liked it. Thank you so much for taking your time to let me know. You totally made my day (well it’s time to sleep, but I hope I can sleep with this good news!). :-)

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  27. Tiffany

    Yes, I am Japanese. My parents both are good cooks, but I don’t get to cook with them very often, so it’s great to have your site as a resource! I made fried rice tonight with my leftover chashu, and it was oishii!! Can’t wait to try more recipes. :)

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    • Your dad cooks too! How wonderful. Most Japanese men don’t cook in Japan unfortunately and I only know few (male) friends who cook occasionally on weekends etc. Oh!!! The fried rice with chashu was awesome right? I should cook it for my kids soon. They love it! Thanks for following me! :-)

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  28. Dennis

    Really glad to find this website. I’m a guy and I enjoyed cooking on occasion. In this case, I’m interested in trying out your chashu recipe. I was curious, however, about cooking sake vs. mirin? I have a bottle of mirin at home and, if it’s an acceptable substitute for cooking sake, it’ll save me a trip to the Japanese grocery store. And, if I can use mirin, what amount would you recommend for this recipe? Thanks so much!

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    • Hi Dennis! I’m so happy to hear you like my site! Thank you. :-) As for cooking sake vs. Mirin, they are completely different. Cooking sake or sake is pretty similar. I’m not a sake drinker, but you can buy a cheep small sake bottle and that works just fine too. Or you can use any kind of Asian cooking wine (Chinese rice wine etc). Mirin is sweet and we use it as substitute of sugar since Mirin has very mild sweetness. I hope you will like this recipe!

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      • Dennis

        Nami,
        I went to the local Japanese market and looked for konbucha. I didn’t realize that konbu-cha is basically seaweed tea until the lady working there pointed me to the tea section. I asked her if the konbucha that she showed was used for seasoning food and she said “no”. But the characters were as you described. Did I get the wrong thing? Thanks!

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        • Hahaha! Thank you Dennis for writing. Yes you did buy the right kind! A lot of Japanese use Konbucha as seasonings because it has good Umami (use as salt). You are fine! :-) I can’t wait for you to make Chashu! I hope you will like it! Good luck.

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          • Dennis

            Ah, I see now, upon reading the comments section more carefully, that you had already mentioned that konbucha might be in the tea section. To your credit, there are so many comments that I just missed it the first time. I will try recipe tonight…thanks for the good luck wishes, I’ll probably need it. :)

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              • Dennis

                Nami,
                The chashu turned out pretty well, considering the fact that I’m not an especially good cook. The flavor was definitely a highlight…I’m not sure to what extent the flavor was due to konbucha (vs. regular salt), but my wife and I liked it a lot.

                The hardest part, believe it or not, was finding a cut of pork belly that I liked. The Asian markets locally only had frozen pork belly in stock last weekend, so I actually purchased the meat at a Mexican meat market. In addition, the cut of pork belly that I go had that tough, outer skin on it that was very difficult to cut off. I decided to cook the meat first and try to remove it after it’d been cooked. Still, it was an extra hassle.

                The drop lid worked pretty well, too, I think. Thanks for the great recipe, tips, and responses in the comments section!

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                • Hi Dennis! I’m glad you liked it. Konbucha has konbu dashi which salt doesn’t have. We use konbu to make dashi too, so you can imagine some umami from konbu is added.

                  For Chashu, I always buy pork belly from Nijiya supermarket. The meat quality is pretty good there. I always buy meat from good store because you take time to cook so I really want the quality rather than quantity. I’m unfortunately unfamiliar with cut of the meat…but I saw nice pork berry in Lundardie’s (I think this is Bay Area only). This supermarket has everything that I can’t find in regular supermarket…so more of high end. but their pork belly was pretty beautiful. Does Mitsuwa have pork belly? I know they should have sliced pork belly…but not sure about block. Mine is very soft and it’s almost hard to cut (because the meat is tender). We didn’t waste any of the meat as my husband likes fat part too… Sorry the meat gives you a little hassle. Hope you can find a better meat somewhere. Drop lid is necessity in Japanese cooking. You only need a little bit of liquid yet it goes around to the top and cook so well without flipping too often. Thanks again for giving me feedback!

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    • Hi Nate! Ohhh I love your Braised Char Siu! Chashu is a Japanese version of Char Siu…(name became more like Japanese). We have so many food that we adapted from China, Korea, and all the Asian/Western countries. Well, but I know that happens in any country… Chashu became necessary topping for Ramen, and agian, Ramen came from China, I think. But now when we say “Ramen”, it’s Japanese food… We have many many traditional Japanese food, but Ramen, Curry Rice (India), Yakisoba (Chinese chow mein), and other popular foreign-origin dishes have been around for more than 100 years.

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  29. Cecilia

    Nami!

    I was looking for Chshu ramen recipes and came across your website!

    You have such nice pictures and good layout and I love to read your looking steps! Really well, written simply and gentle (like a true Japanese lady Hehee).

    I followed your steps in this chashu recipe and my meats came out really nice. Perhaps a little too salty coz I may have been too generous w the soy suace and salt. But the meat is tender n delicious! Thank you!

    I also love your Otoshibuta foil method. Such a genius!

    Will be checking out the rest of your recipes. You have a new FAN here! Keep up the good job!

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    • Hi Cecilia! Thank you for stopping by my website. I’m happy you found my site and liked it. I’m glad step-by-step pictures are helping. I’ll keep working hard! Otoshibuta method is great, right? It’s genius invention I believe! I’m glad you became a fan and thank you so much for leaving the kind message here. I’m so happy~~~. :-)

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  30. Sandrine

    Nami,
    For the Tokyo Negi, can I substitute is with green onions? as it is easy available.

    BTW, I gave your teba shio recipe a try, I loved it! Thanks for posting such a great recipe. I kinda set my oven on fire from the wings’ grease.

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    • Hi Sandrine, I’m sorry I shouldn’t have laughed but when you said you set your oven on fire I just imagined the scene of chaos and had to laugh… I hope everything was okay though and I’m sorry I should have mentioned that everyone must be careful when broiling. I’m glad you liked the recipe. Wasn’t it easy? 😉

      As for the Tokyo Negi, yes you can substitute with green onions. :-) Hope you will like it!

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  31. Patrick

    Hey Nami,
    Can I subsitute cooking sake with Chinese Rice Cooking Wine? At this rate I am subsituting: Konbucha, Tokyo Negi and then sake.
    Also, I read your first comment about your children enjoying Pho. I should be getting a Pho recipe from one of my Vietnamese friends, want me to pass it to you when I get it?

    Thanks,
    P

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    • Hi Patrick! Yes you can use that. :-)

      The Pho recipe sounds nice! Yes, if it’s not troublesome, would you email me with the recipe? Thank you Patrick!

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  32. iLaShonda

    I don’t know if you check this but my boyfriend took a stab at making shio ramen for me tonight. I told him I wanted meat (chashu) in it but that I didn’t know how it was made. I looked up some recipes and yours looked the most aesthetically pleasing (^-^) and he was like ok, I’ll make it (mind you he’s American, never lived in Japan (I did for 5 years that’s why I was asking him to make ramen) and that’s what he did. うまかったよ!本当に! It was so delicious….I wished that I had some white rice to just eat the chashu (he put daikon, ginger, garlic, some other stuff I’m not even sure but it was GOOOD!). Yep, this was the first time he had Japanese ramen, first time tasting chashu and he even said he would use the sauce in other dishes. Thank you thank you for such a lovely recipe! ごちそうさまでした!

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    • Hi iLaShonda!

      Thank you so much for your feedback! I’m so happy to hear that you and your BF enjoyed homemade chashu! :) Ramen shop takes a long time to make chashu, but this recipe is pretty good for the amount of time you spend to cook. It’s easy and delicious. メッセージどうもありがとう!とても嬉しかったです!

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  33. matt

    Nami, thanks for this wonderful recipe. I lived in Japan for two years a couple years ago and I was starting to crave chashu and this was delicious. My wife who doesn’t usually like beef or pork loved it and I wished I would have made more. Thanks! -Matt

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    • Hi Matt! Thank you so much for your feedback! I’m so happy you and your wife enjoyed this recipe. Next year I’m planning to improve my chashu recipe. This recipe is very easy, but I really want to make it even softer… Thank you again for writing! :)

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  34. Ta ng

    Hi Nami, my first time visit your blog, I googled California rolls and saw a very details instructions including pictures on your blog, I really like it,
    thank you for a very nice and descriptive recipe,

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  35. Hi, just want to let you know that I really like this recipe. The chashu tasted great and so easy to make! The best part is, I used the leftover several times to make more ramen, fried rice and steamed rice, and they all taste much better with chashu in it. Flavor was still delicious after frozen.
    Looking forward to more delicious recipes. :)

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    • Hi Maggie! I’m very happy to hear you liked the recipe. I especially love to put the leftover in fried rice too. So good! I sometimes think I look forward to fired rice more than eating with ramen. Thank you for trying the recipe and writing feedback. xoxo :)

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  36. Alana

    Nami – I made this yesterday and I love the flavour of the chashu!

    But I found my meat a little too tough as compared to chashu from ramen restaurants.. I was cooking the meat under the otoshibuta for about half hour till the sauce thickened. Any advice on how I can make the meat more tender?

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    • Hi Alana! This is a very quick method and hard to compare with the softness of meat when it’s cooked for hours. However, I’ll try to find a way to make it better. :) I’ve been meaning to make different version, but have been busy with other recipes…

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  37. Les Saito

    Thank you again, very very useful information. My family is so happy when they see me on your website looking for something to cook. great Chashu recipe. Thank you again

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  38. Constantine Aperio

    Could you please explain the difference between pork belly kakuni and chashu. They would appear to be the same although chashu is often rolled up. Thank you for your excellent work in helping us enjoy and understand Japanese cuisine.

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    • Hi Constantine! You have a good question! The cooking method for homemade quick chashu is sort of similar to one for Kakuni. Some home and restaurant ramen includes “Simmered Chashu (煮豚チャーシュー)” and mine is the same. So “simmered chashu” is more like a short cut version. 😉

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  39. donna mikasa

    Oh my! I think my family (hubby) would just gobble up the chashu and it wouldn’t make it to the ramen!
    Thank you for sharing this recipe!

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    • Hi Donna! Haha it’s highly possible. I usually make two blocks together so that I can save one for ramen and one for by itself and chashu fried rice. Thank you for checking this post! :) xo

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  40. I’m a big fan of the Chinese way of preparing this dish but I’ve never tasted the Japanese version. I’m sure it’s just as good and without that bright red colour.

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  41. Mr JOC is right, it looks melt-in-your-mouth indeed and perhaps will be my favourite topping for ramen, too! Or…maybe both your tamago and this one, lol! I can have both, right?!

    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

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  42. Beautiful piece of pork belly, I love how you prepared it…it sure looks delicious. Unfortunately my husband does not like fatty meat…so I just eat when going out with my friends…I love the step-by-step pictures.
    Hope you are having a great week Nami 😀

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  43. Pork belly is definitely one of my most favourite cuts of meat. I love how you’ve been cooking this recipe for your family for 10 years and it’s still a winner. I think your pork looks amazing and it’s so beautifully presented xx

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  44. 味付けの卵は一番大好きです。。。しかし、なみさんの写真は素敵ですね。肉あまり食べませんが、この写真と作り方のご説明を読むとこれから肉をもっと食べるかもしりません。=)

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  45. Hi Nami, I don’t really fancy pork belly but this melt-in-your-mouth juicy, tender, and flavorful slices of Chāshū is my hubby’s favourite too! I will show him your recipe and get him to try it one day. Thanks for your sharing.

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  46. The recipe looks serious easy and delicious! I always enjoy a nice piece of chashu on top of the ramen. Although we have chashu in China, but I prefer the Japanese one more. The sweetness is not overwhelming and the pork is so tender!

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      • Steve Salloom

        Dear Nami,

        I am in luck. The two pieces that I bought last month are skinless and virtually fat free. I making the one that weighs 34 ounces. It is already thawing in the fridge.

        (P.S. I did not like the recipe for Chinese Pork Belly that I used last time. So your recipe is like something delivered from heaven…)

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        • Great! I think having fat is necessary for moist and tender chashu though. I hope your “fat-free” pieces will come out juicy and tender. Good luck!! :)

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  47. Nami, your braised pork belly looks sooo good! I’ve got to try this!! Koreans eat really thin, small pieces of pork belly cooked on the grill and then we eat it with lettuce or perilla leaves, with gochujang or what we call, ssamjang. Anyway, I love how you can eat pork belly in so many different ways . . your recipe looks so flavorful and delicious!!! Pinning!

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  48. Seriously, Nami…it’s amazing your family is ever willing to eat out given all the amazing dishes you can make at home! You are ready for your own ramen house, my friend! This chashu looks incredible. Thank you for showing us how all these wonders are made! I’m glad you re-showcased this recipe! :)

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  49. TheKitchenLioness

    Dear Nami, absolutely outstanding recipe! Not only do I adore all the pictures, your step-by-step-instructions and the recipe but also your detailed explanations on the difference and the origin of the Chinese Char Siu and the Japanese chashu – I always learn so much when I come for a visit to your lovely blog and now I am so hungry for this…
    Thank you for a wonderful post and sharing all your knowledge, dear friend!

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  50. lovely cashu, actually ni love to add this when i visit ramen shop, not once but over and over again, lol
    i lovin it even more when it’s skin on and usually the cashu is rolled
    gread meaty chashu Nami!!!

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  51. Even though I love bacon, I’m still not convinced about pork belly. I’ve tried it a couple of times and was not impressed, but neither of those pork bellies looked like your. I love the crispy exterior which would be a necessity for me. Your recipe looks quite tempting Nami.

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  52. Actually I’m always too lazy to try making chashu… I always put grilled chicken breast or pork on top of my ramen (or just an egg and vegetables), but your chashu looks so amazingly good, I think I’ll try the real thing one day.
    I love pork belly and I’m sure we’ll both enjoy it with my husband.

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  53. Oh Nami, you are an angel! A Japanese food sharing angel more specifically! This is making my mouth water as I love pork and I’ve been meaning to try my hand at japanese ramen. Thank you for always working so hard on your recipes and production of it all!

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  54. Stefan

    Hello Nami,

    first of all thank you very much for this detailed recipe! I lived in Japan for one year and Sapporo Miso-Ramen became my favourite dish there. Sadly I could no find any Ramen Restaurants here in Germany – at least near me – so now I am very happy to have found your website and his recipe on it :-)

    But now here is my problem. My girlfriend is strictly opposed to alcohol (even if the heat reduces it by cooking for a long time). Is there any way to substitute the sake (in your Chashu recipe) and the Mirin (in the Ramen egg Recipe) which still creates a similar flavour?

    Thank you!
    Ps.: Can’t wait to try your kare risu next :)

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    • Hi Stefan! Thank you so much for your kind comment. I hope my ramen recipe will be something similar to what you had in Hokkaido…but frankly, many hours or days vs my 20 minute broth may not be comparison, but I hope you get to cook more frequently because it’s easy and delicious! :)

      Don’t worry – you can skip sake… result may be a bit different because sake is important to remove the unnecessary smell from the pork and tender meat etc… but it should not give a big impact at the end. And for ramen egg, yes you can omit mirin, but make sure to add enough sugar so it adds some sweetness to it, not just salty soy sauce flavor. Hope this helps!

      Kare Raisu! Yay, that’s a good one. 😀 Hope you enjoy!

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  55. Ray Tokumoto

    I made chashu today. It came out perfect! Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to serve this with Ramen. I am also going to use the leftover to make fried rice and pan fried noodles. Waa oishii da yo! Sugoi!

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    • Hi Ray! I’m so glad your chashu came out well! Yay! I personally love the chashu fried rice or chashu donburi with soft boiled egg… oh soooo good! Enjoy! Arigato for your kind feedback. :)

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  56. I love Cha Shiu the Japanese Style even though I grew up eating the Chinese style. I will definitely be trying this for my family one of these days. It’s a perfect potluck party dish. Oh yeah, I gotta buy myself one of those otoshibuta. I’m going to Japanese store later after work! Thanks for sharing!

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  57. I am definitely drooling over this Chashu! I usually make the Cantonese style one that bakes in the oven. But I’m totally love this one, especially it’s made with pork belly! Who can resist, right? This is comfort food to me for sure.

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  58. Jie

    Hi Nami

    I have tried several of your recipes (e.g. ramen egg), much to my family delight, however this cha shu came up rather tough & quite salty. I was expecting a melt-in-your-mouth texture. I didnt have the otoshibuta but i made an aluminium one which was just fine. can you suggest what might have gone wrong?

    appreciate your reply
    Jie

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    • Hi Jie! Thank you for trying this recipe! It melts in your mouth but it all depends on the meat too. It should have enough fat in between so that it is very tender. Depends on the meat/fat ratio, the tenderness changes and it happens to me too. Get a good piece of pork belly. :) Aluminum option is totally fine and that is not a reason for salty or less tender issue. Maybe try reducing the amount of soy sauce next time? I make this with same soy sauce and same ingredients all the time so I don’t notice any difference in brand of soy sauce etc. Well it also depends on personal preference when it comes to saltiness as well. Feel free to adjust to your liking and hope you enjoy it next time if you try again! :) Thank you once again!

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  59. Hi Nami, this looks so delectable (especially with the layer of melt in your mouth fat!) I’ll try this out soon. What brand of soy sauce do you use by the way? I find kikkoman pretty salty.13

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  60. Jan A

    I want to try this recipe but with one of the other cuts of pork you suggest. I’m curious (and I worry this is a really dumb question) when you serve it sliced as you do, do the Japanese eat it as is? Or do they cut the fat off once it’s served. If I served that to my husband he wouldn’t want to eat it at all. He doesn’t appreciate the way fat flavors meat!

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    • Hi Jan! We can eat it as it is, but we often use it as a topping over rice, noodles, etc, or mix in rice to make fried rice etc. Like you said, it’s quite fatty. I am like y our husband and I don’t like too much fat (even though it melts in your mouth). I even remove some fat, if it’s a thick cut and I feel like I’m about to eat a big chunk of fat (like butter). My husband doesn’t mind. But if it’s a big chunk, I only eat the meat part. At home, I slice it thin and use a torch to charr it and use it as a topping. For fried rice, I include fat part. Hope this helps? :)

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  61. Its looks so good. I always want to know how to make chasu, and i thoughit its very difficult, but no. Btw, can i exchange the sake with something else, cause very hard to find sake here, can i exchange it with chinese cooking wine??

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    • There are different ways to make chashu in Japan and this is considered a quick way. Yet it’s flavorful and delicious! Yes you can use Chinese rice wine but for really good chashu, try making it with sake one day!

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  62. Faith Williams-Terrell

    This recipe looks so tasty, but I cannot eat that much fat. I tried it at a restaurant lately and it made me very sick in the stomach. Can I cut most of the fat off the meat and make the recipe that way or would it be polite to make the recipe and then cut the fat off?

    I’m trying to learn how to make the noodles from scratch instead of buying them in a package that I don’t know whether it has preservatives or other chemicals, or even tastes good. My friend likes Yaki-Soba as he spent 3 years in Japan during the Vietnam War. His oldest son was a baby at the time and as he began to talk he always asked for YAHKEE SOBA. But he prefers the Ramen noodle. Can you tell me how to make the noodles myself?

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    • Hi Fiath! I’m like you – I’m not a huge fan of fatty part. I usually cook with it and remove some parts while I eat. You can cut off some parts before cooking, but you will need some fat so that the meat is nice and soft when you bite into it. I think you can remove moderately. After all, pork belly is pretty fatty, and you’ll end up throwing away most of it if you cut off too much. I make udon noodles from scratch once in a while but I never tried yakisoba or ramen noodles. Maybe one day! :)

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  63. Harumi Sharp

    今まで作ったチャーシューで一番美味しくできました。ありがとうございます!

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  64. Sammie

    It looks amazing and thanks for the step by step guide!

    The left over sauce seems to be too good to throw away! Just wondering if you have any recipe to make use of the left over sauce in the pan?

    many thanks!

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    • Hi Sammie! You can reduce the sauce even more, but I save that much amount so that I can soak the chashu for next day (for more flavoring – but optional). Hope that helps! :)

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  65. Nico

    Hey Nami! Thank you for this amazing recipe, me and my friends enjoyed it a lot (of times :D)
    I have a question regarding the leftover sauce after braising the meat: The sauce is SO delicious. What do you do with it or what can I do with it? All I could come up with so far was to slightly water it down again and eat it with plain rice, but surely you’ve already had some more ideas? Thanks a lot!

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    • Hi Nico! I’m so happy to hear you like this recipe! I usually pour the sauce over the meat and eat with rice, and I don’t really use the sauce for something else besides to keep the meat and some sauce in the container for the next day (for more flavor and to keep it moist). Oh! You can definitely add boiled eggs or soft boiled eggs in the marinade! It’s really good! :)

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    • Hi Veronica! First I’d defrost the frozen chashu in the fridge overnight, then place it in a pot to reheat or microwave it. If you don’t have time for overnight defrosting, then I’d microwave until it’s warm, then cook in a pot (I like to end in a pot so I can pour the sauce over while reheating, etc). Hope this helps!

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