Originated in Hokkaido, Japan, Butadon is a rice bowl dish featuring grilled pork slices with caramelized soy sauce. The sweet and savory flavor is a major win! Easy to make and ready in 15 minutes.
Make sure 4 Tbsp of boiling water is ready before you start. In a heavy-bottom, high-sided saucepan, combine 3 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp water. Turn the burner on to medium heat. Cook, stirring at the beginning with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, until sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is beginning to bubble, stop stirring. Let the sugar and water cook together. As the water continues to evaporate and the heat of the sugar rises, the sugar begins to caramelize. You can gently swirl the pan to achieve even caramelization. Watch the pan closely as the process moves quickly.
When your caramelized sugar has reached its amber color, turn off the heat. Add 4 Tbsp boiling water with one hand (wear a kitchen mitten) and hold a lid with the other hand to protect yourself from splattering as you pour boiling water. Once splatter stops, turn the stove back on and mix well. If there is crystallized sugar, it will melt again.
Add 3 Tbsp soy sauce and 2 Tbsp sake and bring it to simmer, then turn off the heat.
If you can get negi (long green onion) from a Japanese grocery store, you can garnish the donburi with “Shiraganegi”. Cut the negi into 4 inches, and make an incision lengthwise to remove the green core. We only use the white outer layers. Cut them to julienned pieces and soak in water to get rid of the bitterness. Soaking in water also curls up the julienned pieces.
Make several slits on the connective tissue between the meat and fat. The reason why you do this is that red meat and fat have different elasticity, and when they are cooked they will shrink and expand at different rates. This will allow the meat to stay nice and flat and prevent it from curling up.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the pork slices in a single layer. Because the frying pan won’t fit all the meat, we need to pan-fry the pork in batches.
Flip the meat only after the bottom side is nicely brown. We only flip once. When both sides are nicely brown, remove the meat to a plate. DO NOT overcook the meat, as you will cook in the sauce later again. Here you only need to sear the meat.
Add the new slices of pork.
Pour the sauce to the pan, reserving some for drizzling over the steamed rice and the meat.
Coat both sides of the meat with the sauce.
Serve the steamed rice in a large bowl (donburi bowl) and drizzle some sauce. Place the meat on top, layering the slices.
Drizzle more sauce (if you prefer), and season with freshly ground black pepper on top.
You can store the grilled pork loins in the airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to a month.
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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