Monday, April 17, 2006

On the Road to Japan #3: Mmm, Junk-in-the-Trunk


Again, I’m doing my take on a great dish I had at Musha’s: Braised Pork Belly. Although it tasted nothing like Musha’s, it was still tasty. I went to 99 Ranch Market this past weekend and checked out the meat section. The pork belly was waaaaaaayyyyy too fatty and I just wasn’t in the mood to eat bacon, so I asked the butcher what he thought about pork shoulder vs. pork butt.

Me: (in Cantonese) “What’s the best piece of meat for braising?”
Butcher: (in Cantonese) “I like the butt. Butt is really goohr! Numma one!”


I kinda wish I heard him say that out loud in English. Most people wouldn’t have known that we were talking about a part of the pig. Anyway, I bought 1.5 lbs of this junk-in-the-trunk for like $4.

Party time:

(1) When braising any kind of meat, it’s always good to start off by searing/browning as much of the meat as possible. You’ll want to render out some of the flavorful fat and seal in the rest of the juices. Tie the pork piece with twine so that it stays intact during the braising process. If you don’t, the meat will fall apart and you’ll get a thumbs down for presentation. Salt and pepper the meat and sear on high heat till you get a nice brown color.
(2) Add 3-4 cloves of smashed garlic and two thumb-sized knobs of ginger (sliced) and sauté for a minute. Add 1 cup of Sake or Mirin and 1 cup of Chinese Shao Xing rice wine. Once the alcohol has evaporated, add about 7-8 drops of dark soy sauce to give the meat a nice color and about 1-2 cups of regular soy sauce for flavoring. Add water into the pot until the pork is submerged in the braising liquid. Use sugar to balance out the salinity, and add more for sweetness. You might even want to try some honey. This dish is typically sweet and the addition of one piece of Star Anise gives the pork a nice cinnamon-like taste.
(3) Bring this all to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer for about 2-3 hours with the pot almost completely covered by the lid. You can also do this in a Dutch oven and throw it in the oven for about 1.5 hours. Just make sure that you baste the meat with the liquid every 20 minutes to prevent the meat from burning.
(4) This dish was served with a marinated egg. To do this, just boil as many eggs as you like in a separate pot for about 10 minutes. Take them out and put them under running water to stop the cooking process. The eggs will think they’re under a nice waterfall in Maui. Remove the shells and throw them in the pot for at least 45 minutes.
(5) Serve the pork radish sprouts, red ginger and braising liquid. Mustard goes well with this dish. Just buy some mustard powder and mix it with water until you get a nice thick consistency. Enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

9 comments:

s'kat said...

Well, I'd say you get an 'A' for presentation here.

BoLA said...

I'm still jealous that you all are going to Japan without MS and me. muhahah... there's this really good Tonkatsu place just around the corner from the Ebisu train station exit. A must try...the pork just melts in your mouth! ;)

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Wowza- you're really on this Musha kick. Everything looks oishii yo- especially that kara age. How I love Japanese deep fried food. Are you taking requests for your "On the Road to Japan" series? That's right- now you have to keep going coz this is fun. I'd like to request that you make a really good kani kureemu koroke. That's crab cream coroquette in J talk. The we'll call a messenger and I can have it delivered to me for lunch tomorrow. Looking forward to it;)

j/k.

Daily Gluttony said...

I'm having a total brain fart about how to completely translate your convo with the butcher in Canto. Crap, what's happened to me??? Ai-yahh, yau mo gow tsoh??

Good job on the braised pork!

Jeni said...

Mmm...pork bootie! Oishii-so (looks yummy)!

yoony said...

hi dylan,

that looks and sounds yummy! hey i was wondering if you wanted to split a hotel bar of black truffle butter from surfas. that's the only size they have but it's way too much for me to use alone.?

Yuzu said...

Butt is #1, eh? I'll take your word for it. ;P Err...the butcher's word, rather.

The dish looks great, dude. Excellent job. :D

eatdrinknbmerry said...

S'kat, thank you.

Bolita, i know i'm sorry. i didn't plan the trip!!! trust me, all i'm gonna be looking for is quality tonkatsu ramen and takoyaki.

TAG, thank you and you gotta try Musha's - it's yum. I'm going to be doing the kabocha korokke next. I know the Japanese are big on croquettes.

DG, haha. pork butt is not a commonly discussed subject.

Jeni, thank you. Try the one at Musha's and know that mine tastes nothing like theirs haha.

Yoony, i emailed you concerning the black truffle butter. that stuff sounds amazing. truffle anything, is amazing.

Yuzu, thank you. I'll be looking for your bento box. if you're lucky, maybe a pork butt lunch will be already packed in there for you to bring into work. haha.

Passionate Eater said...

I agree with the other commenters, your presentation is equal to or exceeds the presentation that I see in fancy SF restaurants. Fabulous job again!

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