Japanese Pork Stew (Kakuni)


It was very cold again today.  It started to rain around lunchtime and  it changed to snow for a short time soon after that.  The current temperature is -1.  Our neighbour sent us (the group of the neighbours) that we should be very careful as the roads are very icy, she fell down in our close.  I’m going to be in Arundel tomorrow and Arundel is quite steep so I’m going to have to be extra careful.


We bought some pork belly from the butcher in Petworth and it’s been sitting in the freezer for a while so I’ve been wanting to use it for something.  I must’ve bought it thinking of using it for something but I just cannot remember what!  Japanese pork stew (Kakuni) was the only thing I could think of so I cooked it today, but I didn’t read the recipe properly before starting to cook.  Soon after I started cooking it I realised it was going to take longer than I thought and ended up not having time to let it cool down before warming it up again before eating as you are supposed to. Things like this absorb the cooking liquid taste while it cools down.


The recipe tells you to cook the pork for 30 minutes using the water you get when you wash rice, turn the heat off and leave it for 30 minutes, throw away the liquid and add fresh water, let it come to boil and cook it for 30 minutes, turn the heat off and leave it for 30 minutes, then throw away the liquid again, add water, let it come to boil and cook it for 30 minutes, turn the heat off and leave it for 30 minutes.  Then you cook the pork in a mixture of seasonings and water for 20 minutes, add boiled eggs, cook them for a few minutes, turn the heat off and let it cool.  Then warm it up before eating.  So it takes longer than 4 hours.


So, naturally, the pork stew hadn’t absorbed enough seasonings.  My husband said it was very nice but I didn’t think it was, so I had just a couple of pieces.  We’ll have the rest in a few days, by which time I’m sure the pork will have absorbed enough seasoning.


I made this dish many years ago in Singapore and I remember it came out really well but I cannot remember which recipe I used.  I don’t think it took me that many hours.  Also the pork belly here doesn’t have as much fat as in Asia – I think the butcher takes some off – so that could be another reason why it wasn’t as tender.


I also made miso soup with lots of vegetables – carrots, onion, cabbage, potato, mini tomatoes, and sugar snap peas then added some toasted sesame.   Japanese miso soup typically has only a couple of vegetables in it but I quite like it with lots.  As it’s been so cold, the hot miso soup was really lovely.  I also made Chinese style marinaded cucumber, which is salty, sour and spicy, I enjoyed it very much.










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