I’ve cooked pork belly a handful of times before, one time in a South Indian spicy masala, a couple of times in this slightly Asian style and once trying to replicate the PB & J (pork belly and miso jam) at Fatty Bao, Bangalore. Two of them were successful experiments. The rest, average fair. But this pork belly chashu is absolutely out of this world! Total melt in your mouth stuff!!
I’ve used the recipe from Ivan Orkin’s book titled Ivan Ramen (it’s also the name of his Ramen ya (shop, in Japanese)). I did tweak the procedure a teeny wee bit based on some of the other stuff I’d read on the interweb, and it tasted absolutely delicious!
The meat is usually brined in a soy-based marinade, called a chashu tare.
2 tbsp sake
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
7-8 tbsp dark soy sauce
3-4 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 kg piece of pork belly
water, to cook the belly in
- Heat the sake and mirin in a sauce pan and cook for a couple of minutes, to burn the alcohol off.
- Add the ginger, garlic, soy sauces and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and allow this mixture to sit for at least 30-45 minutes to allow the flavours to develop. This is the chashu tare.
- You can use this mixture for ajitsuke tamago (boiled eggs) and menma (bamboo shoots) too, but make sure you make it in double the quantity, in that case.
- Roll the belly up and tie it with some twine.
- Place the belly in a large pot and pour the chashu tare in. Top it up with water, until the pork is cover upto about 1 cm with water.
- Cook the belly on low to medium heat, removing any scum that may develop. Cook covered for 2 1/2 to 4 hours until the meat is tender and nearly falls apart.
- The cooking liquid can be refrigerated for a week or kept in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- Ivan Ramen suggests chilling the belly for a couple of hours before slicing it, else it might fall apart. I ran into this problem when I served the pork belly with tonkotsu ramen. But I’d also cooked the belly for a full four hours. With my miso ramen, I’d cooked the belly three hours and kept it immersed in the cooking liquid, until it was time to serve.
- At the time of serving, heat a pan extremely hot. Cut a slice of the belly and braise it on the pan, only a few seconds on each side.
- Place on top of the noodles and the broth, along with other toppings.
- Serve hot & eat immediately. Enjoy!