Shio Kakuni (Salt Braised Pork Stomach)

Shio Kakuni (Salt Braised Pork Stomach)

With cubes of pork braised with ginger, garlic and scallions until melt-in-your-mouth tender, this Kakuni recipe is Japanese favorite that makes for a delicious topping for ramen.

What is Kakuni?

Kakuni(角煮) virtually implies “simmered cubes,” and is a dish hailing from the island of Kyushu in southern Japan. It’s made by simmering cubes of pork stomach with aromatics such as ginger, garlic, and scallions until the meat is drop-aside tender.

Most Kakuni is seasoned with a good deal of soy sauce and sugar, which provides it a shiny mahogany patina. Whilst this gives it some visual influence, this style tends to be really sweet, and the soy sauce becomes the star of the demonstrate.

For this edition, I’ve utilised salt as the principal seasoning, which is why I’m calling itShio Kakuni(塩角煮 Salt Kakuni.) Although it may not be really as visually attractive, the milder seasoning permits all the other flavors to shine via. The a lot more well balanced flavor also makes it much better suited as a topping for ramen than a much more classic Kakuni.

How to Decide on Pork Stomach for Kakuni

The first point to look for in pork tummy is getting a very good equilibrium of meat and fat. I like making use of pork stomach that has about a sixty:40 ratio of meat to body fat. The meat and excess fat ought to be distributed in 3 even layers, which is why pork stomach is often referred to assanmainiku(三枚肉 – three-layer-meat,) in Japanese.

As the pork cooks, a lot of the body fat will render out, and the remaining body fat and collagen preserve the meat lubricated, creating it drop-aside tender. If there is as well a lot meat, relative to the fat, the meat will get dry and stringy, and if there’s too much unwanted fat, it will be oily and cloyingly rich.

The second issue I appear for is marbling within the meat layers. You’ll see this as white veins spidering by means of the pink meat. Pork belly is a little bit like a layered cake. Even if you have a great ratio of cake to frosting, it does not mean a lot if the cake by itself is hard and dry. That is why the excellent piece of pork stomach will have layers of nicely-marbled meat among reasonably skinny layers of fat.

Ultimately, you want to attempt and get parts of pork stomach that are roughly the identical thickness all through. This is critical due to the fact thicker pieces of Kakuni will take lengthier to tenderize, throughout which time the thinner elements will turn into overcooked. Owing to the anatomy of a pig, a whole facet of pork tummy will inevitably be thinner on 1 conclude than the other, but when you purchase it in a shop, it is normally been reduce into pieces, so you can choose parts that are approximately the very same thickness throughout.

One final thing I considered I should point out is that most pork stomach in the US is offered pores and skin-on. Presented the lengthy cooking time, you can leave the skin on, and it will switch into a layer of melt-in-your-mouth collagen. I personally adore this, but Kakuni in Japan is generally manufactured with out the pores and skin. In fact, it is up coming to not possible to locate skin-on pork stomach in Japan.

Kakuni is a Japanese classic made by braising pork belly in aromatics until fall-apart tender. The braising liquid can then be used to make marinated ramen eggs.

Ingredients for Kakuni

Apart from the pork tummy, the other elements for Kakuni can be damaged down into 3 types.


In Japan, pork is deemed to be a gamey meat. To go over up the scent, dishes like Kakuni are often cooked with aromatics. I like using a ginger heavy blend that also includes garlic and scallions.


To braise something, you require to insert some liquid, and the most frequent liquids for generating Kakuni are sake, shochu, and dashi. Due to the fact Kyushu is the birthplace of shochu, this is usually the selection of liquid alongside with some dashi. Because it’s a distilled spirit, it does not contain the abundance of umami creating amino acids that sake does. Shochu is also about twenty five% alcohol, so you need to have to boil it a whole lot for a longer time to get rid of the alcohol. This is why I prefer making use of sake.

As for the dashi, you can undoubtedly use it in location of the h2o if you have it on hand, but instead than include an extra phase, I opt to make the dashi straight in the pot with the Kakuni. By including h2o and niboshi (dried baby anchovies) in with the pork, it produces an umami-wealthy stock that’s the ideal compliment to the meaty flavor of the pork.


As I described before, most Kakuni is seasoned mainly with soy sauce and sugar, but for my Shio Kakuni, I minimize back again on both, opting for salt as my main seasoning. This generates a milder broth that doesn’t steamroll in excess of the flavors of the other substances.

Kakuni is a Japanese dish that's made with cubes of pork belly that are braised with aromatics until fall-apart tender. As a bonus, you can make ramen eggs by soaking soft-boiled eggs in the braising liquid.

How to Make Kakuni

Brown vs. Boil

From a flavor standpoint, there is no concern that browning the pork stomach first will generate greater flavor thanks to the Maillard Response. The thing is, Kakuni is as much about the melt-in-your-mouth texture and cubed shape, as it is about the taste. On this account, I’ve found a greater way to cook this dish.

Most methods of making Kakuni have you lower the pork stomach up into chunks and then either have you brown each aspect in a pan, or they have you deep fry the meat. This renders out extra body fat and produces a layer of browned fond on the outdoors of the pork that gives the braising liquid a ton of taste. The trouble with this approach is that the high cooking temperature leads to the outermost meat layers to seize up, forcing out their dampness and generating them a little bit stringy. Also, simply because unwanted fat and meat shrink at diverse charges, slicing the pork belly just before cooking it via will result in the pieces to lose their cubed condition as they simmer.

This is in which I decided to attempt and use a par-boiling technique utilized in the Chinese dish 2 times Cooked Pork. The approach includes simmering the pork stomach in drinking water until finally it’s cooked by means of, then the meat is sliced and cooked once more. Making use of this technique has several advantages.

The most evident is that the pork belly is preshrunk, so when you lower it into cubes and braise it, the condition stays intact. Due to the fact the meat isn’t straight uncovered to substantial temperatures, the ensuing Kakuni is also far more tender. Lastly, since the pork was precooked, there is no scum to skim off of the braising liquid, which will save a little bit of active operate. The only downside of this strategy is that you really do not getreallyas much complexity in the braising liquid. That is not to say this is flavorless, really to the contrary. All the aromatics, as nicely as the meat and dried anchovies, lead a ton of umami and taste, which is why I consider the rewards outweigh the drawbacks.

That being explained, if you desire browning the meat very first, here’s my unique Kakuni recipe which employs the browning method.

Year and Simmer Kakuni

When the pork-belly has been par-boiled, you want to rinse off any coagulated proteins on the exterior of the pork that could lend an off flavor to the completed Kakuni. This will also speedily great the pork tummy off so you can reduce it into cubes.

Then the pork goes back again into a clean pot with the aromatics and seasonings and gets simmered until finally the meat is tender enough to reduce with a fork. The amount of time will differ relying on the meat that you utilized, but one more one and a fifty percent hrs ought to be sufficient.


As soon as it is tender, you can consume pork belly right absent, but like most stews, Kakuni is best after the meat has experienced a opportunity to soak in the braising liquid overnight. This also enables you to remove most of the rendered oil as it will float to the leading and solidify in the refrigerator. Once you have taken out the excessive oil, this is a great time to fall in a couple of gentle-boiled eggs together with the pork. This makes for a scrumptious ajitsuke tamago, or ramen egg that you can serve with the pork.

Reheating Kakuni

Microwave ovens are likely to reheat massive chunks of meat erratically, to the position that areas of the meat can conclude up hard, whilst other elements are still cold. That is why I like to slowly and gradually reheat Kakuni in a pot together with the original braising liquid more than reduced warmth.

Serving Kakuni

As delightful as Kakuni is, it can be a bit rich on its very own, this is why I like to serve it with someshiraganegi(白髪ねぎ), which actually signifies “white hair scallions.” It’s not the most appetizing identify, but a nest of these slender strands of scallions provides a wonderful texture and taste distinction to Kakuni. It’s generally created with Japanese Negi, which is a kind of Welsh onion however, you can nevertheless make it utilizing the white component of regular scallions. I have included my approach for making shiraganegi in my Kakuni video underneath so verify that out for a lot more information.

One more condiment frequently served with Kakuni is Japanese very hot mustard. It provides a spicy bite that cuts through the richness of the pork.

Bento lunch box with braised pork belly kakuni

5 Ways to Try to eat Kakuni

While the most frequent way to eat Kakuni is on its possess, there are a bunch of other mouthwatering employs for this flexible dish, so do not be shy about creating a massive pot of it.

  • Donburi– Kakuni can make an remarkable rice bowl. Just add some of the braising liquid to a pan and boil right up until lowered by about 50 %. Then you can slice the cubes of chilly pork up into thirds and reheat it in the decreased broth. To provide, layer the pork belly on a bowl of very hot rice and drizzle on some of the sauce. Garnish withshiraganegiandshichimi togarashi.
  • Udon– The braising liquid you are left with will be a bit salty, but it ought to be reasonably distinct and is loaded with umami. You can dilute it with water or dashi, and then use it as a soup for udon, topping the bowl of noodles with sliced Kakuni.
  • Sandwich– Whether you slice it up and provide it among two slices of sandwich bread, or pull it and include it in a banh mi,
  • Bento– If you like packing bentos, Kakuni (and the ajitsuke tamago you produced) can make for a delightful addition to a bento box lunch.
  • Fried Rice– Last but not least if it’s been a handful of times and you still have some leftovers, chopped up Kakuni makes for a delicious addition to fried rice.

Shio Kakuni



Produce: 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Prepare dinner Time: 2 hrs

Complete Time: 2 several hours 10 minutes

Print Diet


  • 1400 grams

    pork tummy

  • a hundred and forty grams

    scallions (lower into 4-inch lengths)

  • 100 grams

    new ginger (~1 1/two-inch size, sliced into coins)

  • 24 grams

    garlic (~4 big cloves)

  • ten grams
  • 3 cups

    drinking water

  • three/4 cups


  • three tablespoons


  • two tablespoons

    soy sauce

  • two teaspoons



  1. Deliver a massive pot of drinking water to a boil and incorporate the pork stomach. Turn down the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

    Parboiling pork belly.
  2. Drain the pork tummy, rinse out the pot, and gently scrub any coagulated proteins off the surface area of the pork.

    Rinsing pork belly with cold water.
  3. Lower the pork tummy into two-inch cubes and return them to the pot, alongside with the scallions, ginger, garlic, niboshi, drinking water, sake, sugar, soy sauce, and salt.

    Cutting par-boiled pork belly for Kakuni.
  4. Deliver this to a boil, flip down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and partially go over with a lid.

    Pork belly, scallions, ginger, and niboshi braising.
  5. Simmer until finally the Kakuni can be lower in half with a fork (about 1 1/2 several hours).

    Braised pork belly with ginger, and scallions in a dutch oven.

Nutrition Details

Shio Kakuni

Sum For each Serving

Calories1302 Calories from Excess fat 1107

% Day-to-day Worth*

Complete Excess fat123g 189%

Saturated Fat 45g 225%

Cholesterol168mg 56%

Sodium1198mg fifty%

Potassium601mg seventeen%

Complete Carbs13g four%

Dietary Fiber 1g 4%

Sugars 6g

Protein23g 46%

Vitamin A

Vitamin C eight.7%

Calcium four.2%

Iron 10.4%


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