buta no kakuni, morimoto-style.

buta no kakuni

probably not the most auspicious post to ring in the new year of food blogging, considering i'm trying to lose weight/eat healthier, but cheeeese, look at it. 'tis beaaaaauuuuutiful, no? buta no kakuni, pork belly braised in sake and a little bit of soy sauce, flavoured with just a tiny bit of sugar and star anise, served on brown rice congee infused with spring onion oil and flavoured with a bit of dried scallop. this was modified from a recipe by masaharu morimoto from his book, "morimoto: the new art of japanese cooking." someone rather kindly mailed a copy of the book to me and like, a whole lot of other bloggers. i generally say no to the freebies because i know i'll never review them, but i heart the morimoto-san, and at the time i was broke and thought i was saving up for something, so why not? but now i'm not saving, still broke, still no review. sorry dk books person! i officially cannot be trusted with your merchandise. however, the book is lovely and i've cooked a bunch of deelish things from it.

n. e. how.

this was actually one of the last recipes i thought i'd cook from the book, but when i saw maki's lovely more traditional version of the pork dish, i really wanted to try it. she and kirk both explain there are chinese cuisine connections to the dish, as does humba, the filipino version of this dish. i haven't had humba in awhile, but i always remembered my family's version to be flavoured with star anise and ginger; morimoto-san's recipe calls for neither, but the thing i love the most about the pork is that hint of spiciness, especially from the anise, so i added two whole star anise to the final braising liquid. also, i used brown rice in morimoto-san's congee recipe instead of the usual white; the result was more texture and flavour to play against the dried scallop and spring onion oil.

this recipe is not difficult at all, but some of the ingredients can be tricky to find, and it requires a good amount of time and patience. there is an initial eight hour simmer which renders out the majority of fat from the pork, then an overnight chilling before returning it to simmer in braising liquids for an additional 2 hours. if you do the first part in a slow cooker, then chuck it in the fridge whilst at work or asleep, it's actually quite uncomplicated. the melt-in-your mouth texture and exquisite flavours make it worth the work.

funnily enough, this was the first recipe that aun and s from the wonderful chubby hubby decided to try. they've already proclaimed the recipe a favourite, so maybe you will too.


That is one beautiful hunk of pork belly!!!!! I was wondering when this post was going to be done.

I have never seen a more beautiful piece of braised pork. It glistens, it gleams, it sparkles with delectable globules of porkness.

You're quite right; braised pork *needs* star anise. But I'm prejudiced by my SE Asian take on pork.

Would this be the inaugural dish lovingly prepared in your new kitchen?

hey kirk, it took longer to cook the pork than write the post :)

hallooo bramble, we *definitely* need to have a dinner party with lots of cocktails next time i'm in la. i actually cooked this when i was housesitting for someone; sadly, the only things created in the new kitchen were coffee and toast. although, i gotta say, i lurrrrve 220v appliances--it only took 60 seconds to get my bread supertoasty!

Braised pork belly is one of my favorite things! I fell in love with buta no kakuni at a local Japanese place, and yes, I do like humba too!

I am floored by that picture...so good I just may eat my laptop :)

I never knew pork belly could be so beautiful! Looks yummy, too!

That is a beautiful photograph. And now I am hungry again despite the fact that I have already eaten dinner.

chichajo, acornbud, and robert, the problem with this blog is that friends will see an entry and say "why didn't *i* get a piece of that?!" which is why i now have a piece of pork belly defrosting in my fridge, yet again....

its looks magnificent, i just want to slice it and place it in a piece of Mantou bread

this looks delicious! somehow it reminds me of sth my gran used to make...pork belly is just amazingly flavourful but terribly unhelpful in terms of reducing muffin-tops. sigh! dont we all have problems with our love for food!


I bought this book several week ago and haven't even opened it. I'm still going through my copy of Dona Tomas!

I have heard that the recipes are interesting and I really can't wait to sample them.

omg that is a beautiful piece of pork. wouldn't be great if a hunk of braised pork belly would make it into a holiday gift pack instead of sweets? someday..

doc chef, ah, what a tasty idea.

miss diva, muffin-tops!! ha! :)

reid, ooh,dona tomas, what a beautiful book, how are the recipes? i like the morimoto book. the recipes are very intimidating if you can get the ingredients.

miss susan, ah, now that would be a beautiful holiday package...we have to figure out how to make that happen.

So, let me know when you are coming to Honolulu so I can thaw out the pork belly (wink)

yep...that's one oishi looking piece of buta...that hotate dashi is a nice touch...the pork umame + the scallop umame = major umame...might want to try throwing a piece of konbu in while it's simmering to kick up the umame action even more and also add to the texture of the broth ....and substituting mirin (w/ the alcohol burned off) for the sugar should lighten the sweetness but still preserve the depth of flavor...aaaah, onaka ga suita ne

acornbud, i will!

muzzy, i like the way you think. thanks for the kombu tip, i will definitely try that next time around.