Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Buta no Kakuni

Buta no Kakuni (Day 1)

Sorry I forgot to tell you this earlier… My bronchitis is completely cured now! My cough was almost gone on Sunday and I posted about it on my another blog, but I forgot to officially announce it here and thank all the readers who cared about me. So, dear readers, thank you for your kind concern. * HUG *

Now, back to the buta no kakuni I made at the end of the Golden Week...
BTW, I wonder what the best English translation of “buta no kakuni” would be. The dish was called “braised pork belly” on a couple of Japanese websites, but I’m not sure if that is the best translation. Tell me -- what’s the difference between braising and simmering? When you heat pork cubes like these over and over in the soup that is just enough to cover them even for a couple of days until the meat becomes really tender, is it braising or simmering?

Anyway, here's a recipe that seems to be one of the common ways to make buta no kakuni. Though I did not follow this recipe exactly, I guess it would give you the general idea of how this dish is made, if you are interested. What I did differently was that I browned the pork cubes AFTER pre-boiling them with green onion and ginger because I read on a Japanese site that it would help removing the fat more effectively. Then I rinsed the meat thoroughly with water, and put it in the slow-cooker with all the liquid seasonings and 2 boiled eggs. About the amount of the liquid seasonings... I kept tasting the soup and adding a little of this and that, so it must have been quite different from the recipe.

On the day one, the pork tasted OK but was not amazingly tender or anything. But in the evening of day 2, after repeated heating and cooling, it was sooooooo soft… I was able to cut the meat with only a gentle touch with chopsticks. MMmmmmm… Fatty, greasy … but oh so good … A guilty pleasure, indeed. ;P



Pim said...

Ok, I know this post isn't done yet, but that photo looks plenty delicious already. Pork belly...yummm

Anonymous said...

Wow, that looks rich!

Valentina said...

What a great shot. Whatever you are making, well I would like some as well.

Unknown said...

dear obachan , saw your post about your sickness and Bouillabaisse , reminded me that i promessed you a recipe , the fact is that i am waiting to go to the fish market in Marseille and to have my relatives to make one so i let you know by a post when it's time , i think in May the 27 ....
about the coughing and sore throat , it seems like people all over the world (i was one of them) got really sick this winter and describe the same , it looks like the virus Influenza A is getting bad and i hear that it may be a hudge epidemy this winter so i am taking Vit C (acerola ) magnesium salt (chlorate) and massage with essential oil of THYME every morning or night after shower or bath....
take care
Garance in Provence !

JW said...

I cooked buta no kakuni for the first time about a week ago. Since it takes a little more effort, and my website focuses more on the easy recipes, I'll probably wait for a while before I post it.

But my wife (she's American) calls kakuni, "2 day pork". In one of the restaurants we frequently went when we lived in Yokohama, the description for the kakuni said, how it was cooked for two days to make it tender. So, we've been calling it "2 day pork". But I don't know if that sounds appetizing... I think for my recipe site, I'll probably call it something like "tender pork".

K and S said...

I'm glad to hear you're feeling better.

Your kakuni looks great! We call it "shoyu pork" in Hawaii.

Take care.


obachan said...

Thanks. It was not bad for a first try.

Actually the meat was a bit more expensive than I had thought. I don’t think I can make this dish very often…, which is probably good because it would save me from taking too much fat.

I really wish you were living close to my apartment. ;)

Oh, it’s so nice of you. OK. I’m looking forward to your post. “Fish market in Marseille” almost sounds dream-like to me. (I don’t know exactly why.)
Also thanks for the health tips. Massage with Thyme oil sounds especially tempting.

Oh, 2 day pork! I love the name! It sounds appetizing to me…unless it’s something like “a week” or “a month” pork. Mine turned out to be “3 day pork” at the end. : )

That’s how you call it in Hawaii? Interesting! Thanks for the info.

JMom said...

Hi Obachan, I'm glad to hear you are feeling better :)

A guilty pleasure indeed! it made me hungry!

lance-s said...

Although, my heart skipped a couple beats just looking at it, that looks so juicy, tender and flavorful. I'll take a couple of those. I read that "braising" is when you brown the meat before "simmering/stewing" in a pan/pot. How true, I'm not really sure.

Anonymous said...

ah! my husband is making this tonight! will let u know how it turns out! :)

obachan said...

Thanks, Jmom.
I like your profile image, BTW ;)

Yeah, the kakuni was pretty tender at the end of day 2. Thanks for the info. about braising. It sounds like a nice rule of thumb, but I, too, wonder how true it is...

Wow, what a nice husband! Good luck. :D

FooDcrazEE said...

thats is braising alright. Simmering is more to slow and genlt boiling for a short while...u can even called that stew but it wont be accurate.

Anonymous said...

So glad that you're feeling better now, Obachan! ^^ The photo of the braised pork belly looks wonderful, and reminds me of a very similar dish we have in Chinese recipes. Except we don't use sake nor mirin, but add rice wine, five spice powder and star anise pods. Looking delicious!

obachan said...

Oh, really? I didn’t know simmering was for a short while. Thanks for the info.

I heard that our buta no kakuni came from the Chinese dish you are talking about. That’s東坡肉, right?

Anonymous said...

I think it could well be! I've heard of that, but I'm never really sure about the origins of food. *bad me!* :P

Anonymous said...

Hi, I found your blog googling for pictures of Japanese food. So beautiful!
I'm Japanese too and your blog is so helpful to introducing Japanese life to the world. Ganbatte Kudasai.

obachan said...

Oh, you are not bad. I don't think anyone can be 100% sure about that kind of thing.

Arigato gozaimasu. My blog might be actually misleading the whole world about Japanese cooking, but fortunately there are other excellent blogs about Japan and Japanese cooking, so I always count on them. ;)

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