Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Buta No Kakuni (Japanese Braised Pork Belly)

The kids love eating chinese soy-braised pork belly with their rice for dinner. Sometimes I cook the Japanese version with sake and mirin, and add thickly-sliced daikon in the stew. The daikon has enzymes that work really well in tenderising the meat, and the fat turns so soft and silky it cuts like butter. The daikon is a perfect complement to the pork, and this dish makes a perfect meal when eaten with rice or congee, doused with that delicious sweet and salty gravy.

Buta No Kakuni (Japanese Braised Pork Belly) Recipe


700g pork belly, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
~500g daikon (radish), cut into 1 1/2 inch thick slices
5-6 slices ginger
3 cloves garlic
Half a star anise (~ 3 petals)
2 inch cinnamon stick
4-5 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
1/3 cup sake
3 tbsp mirin
1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp sugar
Dash of pepper
1 stalk spring onion, chopped finely


  1. Heat up 1 tbsp oil in a pot and fry ginger, garlic, star anise and cinnamon stick until fragrant. Add pork and brown on all sides.
  2. Add soy, sake, mirin, water and sugar. Bring to a boil, lower heat and gently simmer for 1 hour. Add the daikon and submerge them in the sauce together with the pork. Simmer for another hour or so until pork is tender. Season with pepper. Dish out, garnish with chopped spring onions and serve with steamed rice or congee.
* Note: Different brands of soy sauce have different levels of saltiness or intensity. You can start with less soy first and add more to taste as you go along.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for posting your wonderful recipes. I have a query with regards to the Japanese braised pork belly.

How do you braise the skin of the pork belly so nicely? I mean it's a dark rich caramel colour. The skin on mine is still a pasty pale colour despite simmering for so long.

Look forward to your guidance.

Thank you.

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

Thanks for your comments. The skin should change colour after braising for 2 hours, if you ensure the skin is submerged face down in the sauce. Otherwise, if you want it a darker colour, you could rub a little dark soy on the skin before searing it in the pan/pot.