Buta Kakuni (Japanese Braised Porkbelly)

Ingredients:
  • dried sardines (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 5 1/4″ thick rounds of ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic smashed
  • 1 C water
  • 1/4 C mirin
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 2 Tbs sake
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • pork belly cut into 2″ strips
Method:
  1. Wrap the dried baby sardines in a cheese cloth and tie with some kitchen twine to make a “bouquet garni” of fish.
  2. Select a heavy based pot with a fitting lid, large enough to just hold the pork uncreased. 
  3. Combine all ingredients except the pork belly in the pot, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes to release stock from fish.
  4. Remove the bouquet garni and discard. 
  5. Add the pork belly (make sure there is enough broth to cover the meat), cover and cook over low heat for 2 to 3 hours or until the meat falls apart and the fat is silky smooth.
  6. Allow to cool and place in the fridge over-night.
  7. Remove the fat from the liquid and filter through muslin to remove remainder of the solidified fat. 
  8. Gently reheat, slice and serve with some of the braising liquid and some steamed bok choy.
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