Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni)

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: kakuni, simmered pork
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Nami
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.
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Ingredients

For Seasoning

  • 2 ½ cup dashi (600 ml)
  • 4 Tbsp sake (60 ml)
  • 3 Tbsp mirin (45 ml)
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce (60 ml)
  • 1 dried red chili pepper

For Optional Toppings

Instructions

  1. Gather all the ingredients.

    Braised Pork Belly (Kakuni) Ingredients
  2. Pound the pork on both sides with a meat pounder (or the back of the knife).

    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 the green part of Tokyo Negi into 2-inch pieces. Save two slices for later.

    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 seared pork belly, green part of the Negi, half of the sliced ginger (save the half 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 (How To Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs).

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  11. After cooking for 2 hours, drain and take out the meat and wipe off excess oil with paper towel.
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  12. In another large pot (I use a cast iron pot), add the pork belly, dashi, 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.).
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  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) and do not need to put a regular lid. We’ll be cooking for 1 hour on simmer/low heat.

    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. Occasionally 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 a 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. Let cool 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.