Chashu (Japanese braised pork belly)


Ramen2

DSC_0309.JPG

After posting recipes for the Soft Boiled Eggs and Tonkotsu Ramen Broth, I must post this recipe since Chashu pork is by far the most popular ramen topping.  These Chashu slices are braised pork belly, they are so tender and flavorful and they just melt in your mouth. Cooking time could be long, but the whole process is very easy.

There were two main reasons I wanted to make this myself: (i) at most of the ramen restaurants, each bowl only comes with 2 slices of meat.  If you are a meat eater like me, you will need to order extra meat for an additional cost; (ii) I had two fatty slices one time (90% of fat and 10% of lean meat) and was very disappointed.  Although I was able to exchange for two leaner pieces, I felt embarrassed and was not sure if the restaurant would do something to my meat (you know what I mean!).  Anyways, when making the Chashu myself, I can pick a nice piece that has less fat and I can serve my ramen with 4-5 slices of meat.

Ingredients:

3 pieces
1 cup
1.5 cup
1.5 cup
1 cup
2 tsp
6 Tbsp
2 two-inch knob
2 Whole
2
6 stalks
Pork belly (about 2 pounds each)
Light soy sauce
Mirin
Water
Cooking Wine
Lemon juice
Brown sugar
Ginger
Shallot (cut in half)
Whole garlic (about 12 cloves)
Green onions

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 F.
  2. Lay the pork belly on a chopping board, roll it into a cylindrical tube with skin facing out, and then use butchers’ string to tie the joint tightly. (pictures 1 and 2)
  3. In a large pot, place the pork belly and add water to cover the pork.  Once boiled, drain and remove the scum by rinsing the pork under cold running water.  (picture 3)
  4. Prepare all ingredients, cut shallots, ginger, green onions and peel garlic.  (picture 4)
  5. In a large pot, heat all ingredients over high heat until boiling, then add pork belly (it won’t be submerged). (pictures 5 and 6)
  6. Once boiled, transfer the pot to the oven and cook for 5 hours. Turn pork occasionally.
  7. Let it cool. Once completely cook, chill the pork in the refrigerator. This makes it easier to slice.
  8. When ready to serve, reheat pork belly slices (chashu) in hot ramen soup.
  9. Keep the chashu sauce, you can use the sauce to marinate the soft boiled eggs.

chashu collage

cooked chashu

Advertisements

Tonkotsu Ramen Broth


Tonkatsu Ramen

I bought a 32-Quart stainless steel stock pot recently, thinking that one day I may deep fry a turkey in this pot. To get good use out of it, I decided to make broth for Tonkotsu ramen. This pot itself weighs 13 pounds, if I fill it with water and ingredients, it’s impossible for me to lift it.  If you have a 24-quart stock pot, it will suffice.

All Tonkotsu broth recipes require 12-18 hour cooking time (the longer the time, the more gelatin develops in the soup), but it doesn’t mean you are stuck in the house for the whole day. I cooked my broth for 6 hours the first day, let cool it and put it in the fridge, then continued to cook it the second day until the broth became thick and milky. One thing I have to mention is the pig fat “fatback”. Fatback will add nice and rich flavors to your broth, but for health concerns, I omitted it.

Ingredients:

7 pounds
5 pounds (about 6 pieces)
1
12
1 thumb size
12
1 pound
Pig trotters (cut crosswise)
Chicken carcasses (small)
Onion
Garlic cloves
Ginger (sliced)
Green onions (white parts only)
Fatback (optional)

Toppings and Garnish for ramen:

Soft boiled eggs
Chashu
Fish cake
Nori (seaweed)
Green onions
Enoki mushrooms

Directions:

  1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil, then put trotters and chicken carcasses in (should have enough water to cover all bones), cook for 5-10 minutes. (picture 1)
  2. Drain the bones and use a knife or chopstick to take out the dark marrow and rinse with cold water. (pictures 2 and 3)
  3. Wash any coagulated blood off from the chicken carcasses with cold water. (picture 4)
  4. Chop onion and peel garlic, then brown them in a pan, the browner the better.  (pictures 5 and 6)
  5. Add all ingredients into a stock pot and fill the pot with water.   Bring it to a boil, then simmer over low heat.  (picture 7)
  6. You may want to skim off the scum that appears on the top with a stainless steel skimmer. (picture 8)
  7. The pot I used is 32-quart, it is big enough to double this recipe.  After cooking the broth for 16 hours over low heat, the broth is opaque with the texture of light cream.  (pictures 9 and 10)
  8. Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot, discard solids.  (picture 11)
  9. Season broth with salt, taste it and adjust as needed.  (picture 12)
  10. (Optional):  If you want your broth to have a rich flavor, add pork fatback directly to your pot as the bones cook.  After an hour, take the fatback out and finely chop it, then whisk some into the soup just before serving.
Tonkatsu broth
  • I found this soy sauce at the supermarket.  Season the broth with a couple tablespoons of soy sauce can enhance the flavor.

DSC_0205

  • Also found this type of fresh ramen, cook noodles according to package directions.

ramen

Japanese Soft Boiled Eggs


Japanese soft boiled eggs

I have made these eggs many times.  They are known as the perfect boiled eggs for Japanese ramen.  It seems hard to get the desired texture but as long as you get the right cooking time, you will have these beautiful and delicious eggs on your plate.

Ingredients for marinate:

1 cup water
1/2 cup sake
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1 or 2 tbsp sugar

Directions:

  1. Cook the marinate ahead of time and let it cool.  You can store this in a jar and put it in the refrigerator.
  2. Wash eggs, take a thumb tack and pierce a tiny hole in the round end of each egg (I used an oven thermometer). This prevents the egg from cracking. (pictures 1 and 2)
  3. Bring a 2 quart of water to a boil and carefully lower eggs into the boiling water with a stainless steel wire mesh ladle (picture 3) and set the timer to 6 minutes (picture 4).
  4. While the eggs are being boiled, fill a bowl with cold water and add ice cubes.
  5. Once 6 minutes is up, take out the eggs and run under cold water.  Place eggs into iced water for at least 5 minutes.  (picture 5)
  6. Crack the eggs and peel of the shell.  Put eggs into bowl with marinade and refrigerate at least four hours, it is better if you use spoons to weight down the eggs to keep entire eggs submerged under, otherwise turn eggs once or twice.

Sof Boiled Eggs steps

Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura


Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura

Father’s day celebration, we had shrimp and vegetable tempura, Japanese salad and chicken teriyaki on the menu.  These are my husband’s favorite Japanese dishes.  Our favorite Japanese retaurant is Sushi Komasa in Little Tokyo, but we sometimes go to a place called Gin Sushi in Pasadena.  Tonight my kids told me we didn’t need to go to Gin Sushi anymore as we had Gin’s Kitchen!  🙂

I learnt how to make a good tempura batter – You must add very cold water to the batter.  Placing cold batter into hot oil is the trick that makes for fluffy and tasty tempura.  The salad dressing is amazing too, please refer to my “Japanese Salad Dressing” for the recipe.  It’s a keeper!

Ingredients:

1
1
1
8 slices
8
8
Yam
Zucchini
Eggplant
Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin)
String bean
Shrimp

Ingredients for Batter:

100g
2 Tablespoons
1 teaspoon
1
1 Cup
All purpose flour
Cornstarch
Baking soda
Egg
very cold water

Directions:

  1. Thinly cut the vegetables.  Set aside.
  2. Take off the head and shell of the shrimp but keep the tail and devein.  Set aside.
  3. Mix and sift all purpose flour, baking soda and cornstarch.
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat an egg and then add the cold water and mix.
  5. Pour ½ of the mixed flour into egg mixture and gently mix.  Then add the remaining flour and mix.  A few lumps in the batter are fine, do not overmix.
  6. Put oil into a frying pan.  When oil has preheated, dip a wooden chopstick into the oil. If the oil starts steadily bubbling, then the oil is hot enough for frying.
  7. Dip vegetable into the tempura batter bowl to coat them with tempura batter then carefully put them to the oil.  Fry one side and then turn over and fry the other side.  Make sure you won’t overcrowd the frying pan as the temperature may drop.
  8. It should take about 2-3 minutes to cook the vegetables, shrimp will take about 30 seconds.

Japanese Salad


Japanese Salad

I found this salad dressing recipe from Allrecipes.com.   It tasted exactly like the one we ate at the sushi restaurant.  The only change I made was to substitute olive oil for peanut oil.  I guarantee this will be a hit.

Ingredients:

3 head
1
Romaine Lettuce
Carrot

Ingredients for dressing:

1/2 Cup          Minced white onion

1/2 Cup          Olive oil

1/3 Cup          Rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp           Water

2 Tbsp           Minced fresh ginger

2 Tbsp           Minced celery

2 Tbsp           Ketchup

4 tsp              Light soy sauce

2 tsp              Granulated sugar

2 tsp              Fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp           Minced garlic

1/2 tsp           Salt

1/4 tsp           Black pepper

Directions:

  1. Wash, peel and julienne carrot; wash and cut lettuce.  Combine both vegetables and set aside.
  2. In a blender, combine all ingredients for the dressing and blend on high speed for about 30 seconds or until all of the ingredients are well-pureed.
  3. Serve the salad with a few tablespoons of dressing.

Dorayaki (Japanese Sweet Filled Pancakes) 叮噹餅


Dorayaki (Japanese adzuki beans pancakes)

Doraemon is a Japanese comic series and is the all time hit Japanese classic cartoon on TV.  It’s one of my fondest memories of my childhood.  If you also grew up reading it or watching it, you must know Doraemon’s favorite food is dorayaki.  These soft and fluffy dorayaki are traditionally stuffed with red bean paste, but you will find chocolate/cream/jam fillings nowadays.

Ingredients:

Bean Paste:

1 cup
¾ cup
¼ teaspoon
3 cups
Adzuki beans (red beans)
Light brown sugar
Salt
Water

Pancakes:

120g (1 cup)
95g
1  tablespoon
½ teaspoon
2
¼ – ½   cup
All purpose flour
Granulated sugar
Honey
Baking powder
Eggs
Water

Directions:

For the bean paste (makes 2 cups):

  1. Soak adzuki beans in water for 3 hours or overnight (some people said soaking helps minimizing gas as it helps to remove the indigestible complex sugars from the outer coating of the beans).  I do belive soaking will have a shorter cooking time.
  2. Heat adzuki beans in a pot with 3 cups of water. When they come to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer until the beans are soft.  If necessary, add water so that the beans are always covered.  Skim off any foam that appears on the surface.
  3. When the beans are soft enough to break between your fingers, drain them in a colander.
  4. Return the beans to the pot again and mix in the sugar.
  5. Mash the beans continuously over low heat until almost all the water has evaporated and a paste has formed.
  6. Add the salt and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes more.
  7. Remove from heat and let the paste cool.

For the pancakes:

  1. Whisk eggs with sugar and honey in a mixing bowl.
  2. Combine flour and baking powder and add sifted flour in the egg mixture gradually.
  3. Slowly add water while whisking until smooth (add water a little by little until the mixture is slightly runny).
  4. Drop small ladlesful on a lightly oiled fry pan to make pancakes that are about 3 inches in diameter. When bubbles start to appear, turn over the pancakes and cook briefly on the other side until brown.
  5. Spread about two tablespoons of adzuki bean paste on one pancake, then cover it with another to make a sandwich.  Slightly press the edges.

Note:

  • Put a few drops of cooking oil in a nonstick frying pan and use a paper towel to wipe off any excess oil (if there is too much oil, the pancakes will be crispy on the edge and color will not be even).
  • Make sure to cook the pancakes with medium low fire.  I used low fire and the pancakes were too dry, when I used high fire, the pancakes were burned.
  • You can boil beans in water for 3 minutes in a heavy pot, turn off fire, cover and let it sit for 2 hours.  At this point, beans are a lot softer, continue cooking and add sugar.