Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 角煮

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  • Braised Pork Belly, Kakuni in a plate.

    Kakuni (角煮) is Japanese braised pork belly, and it literary means “square simmered” referring to the shape of this dish. I’m not usually into fatty meat but there is something about this dish that I cannot resist. Slow cooking method turns the meat into a delicious creation.

    Braised Pork Belly, Kakuni in a bowl with egg and negi.

    For my day-to-day cooking, I enjoy experimenting with existing recipes to see if I can improve them. I had been cooking this Kakuni recipe until one day my husband asked if the meat can be softer after I made it. I kept experimenting different methods and changing the ingredients’ portions, and I think I finally got the recipe that will melt in your mouth.

    The key for good Kakuni recipe is the initial simmering. For this recipe, I spent 2-3 hours of simmering the meat, but you could spend additional hours doing so if you have the time. This important process renders out the majority of fat from the pork belly and makes the meat and the fat have that melt-in-your-mouth texture.

    Although it takes hours of preparation (unless you have a pressure cooker), the result is really worth it. If you plan to cook this for your family, I would recommend you to make double portion. Since you have to spend hours in the kitchen anyway, you might want to make extra for a second meal. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.

    Braised Pork Belly, Kakuni in a bowl with negi and egg.

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    3 from 2 votes
    Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni)
    Prep Time
    15 mins
    Cook Time
    3 hrs
    Total Time
    3 hrs 15 mins
    Course: Appetizer, Main Course
    Servings: 4
    Author: Nami
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) Ingredients
    2. Pound the pork on both sides with a meat pounder (or edge of knife (not the sharp side)).
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 1
    3. Then mold the meat back into the original shape with your hands, and then cut into 2 inch pieces.
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 2
    4. Heat oil on the heavy skillet over medium high heat and put the fattiest part on the bottom. Cook the meat until all sides are nicely browned. To prevent from oil splatter, you can use a splatter screen.
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 3
    5. When the meat is nicely browned, transfer it to paper towel and wipe off excess fat.
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 4
    6. Slice the ginger and cut green part of Tokyo Negi into 2 inche pieces.
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 5
    7. With the white part of Tokyo Negi, make Shiraga Negi for garnish (See How To Make Shiraga Negi).
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 6
    8. In a large pot, put the browned pork belly, green part of Tokyo Negi, half of sliced ginger (save some for later), and pour water to cover the meat.
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 7
    9. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered (so unwanted smell goes away) for 2-3 hours, turning occasionally (if you want really tender meat, cook for at least 3 hours). When the liquid is running low, keep adding water (or hot water) to cover the meat.
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 8
    10. Meanwhile make 3 hard boiled eggs (Check How To Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs).
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 9
    11. After cooking for 2 hours, drain and take out the meat and wipe off excess oil with paper towel.
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 10
    12. In another large pot (I use a cast iron pot), put the pork belly, dashi stock, sake, and mirin. Start cooking on medium high heat.
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 11
    13. Add sugar, soy sauce, the rest of ginger slices, and the red chili pepper (I remove the seeds for my kids.).
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 12
    14. When boiling, lower the heat but keep simmering. Place Otoshibuta on top (If you don't have an Otoshibuta, make one! See How To Make Otoshibuta). We’ll be cooking for 1 hour.
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 13
    15. After cooking for 30 minutes, add the hard boiled eggs. Remove otoshibuta and continue simmering.
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 14
    16. Simmer for another 30 minutes. Once in a while pour the sauce on top of the meat and rotate the meat and eggs. Make sure you have enough liquid so they won’t get burnt. When the sauce gets reduced and the meat has nice glaze, it’s ready to serve. Serve the pork belly and eggs with Shiraga Negi on top.
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 15
    17. If you prefer this dish to be less oily and have more flavor, wait for another day. Cool down the pot completely and store it in the refrigerator overnight. Next day take out the pot from the refrigerator and remove the solidified fat before heating up. Heat thoroughly and serve the pork belly and eggs with Shiraga Negi on top.
      Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) 16
    Recipe Notes

    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.


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