Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pressure Cooker Pork Belly with Japanese Flavors

I've fallen back in love with my Pressure Cooker and have been cooking a number of dishes in it these last few days.  I forgot how incredibly fast it is for braising. I've had my trusty Kuhn Rikon for nearly 20 years but somehow I left it sitting on the shelf a lot until recently. I pull it out whenever I want to cook Pinto Beans for Refried Beans but otherwise, I don't think of it much. But since I recently cooked Chicken in it (previous post), I decided to try it with another favorite meat - Pork Belly. I picked up a piece at Uwajimaya, but I was there late in the afternoon and I wanted to eat it long before the 3 hours it usually takes to braise. So, I tossed it into my trusty Pressure Cooker with some Japanese seasonings - Mirin (a sweet Japanese Rice Wine), Tamari instead of Soy Sauce to keep it Gluten Free, Water, Green Onions and Ginger. I also added a sprinkling of Togarashi - a Japanese Pepper blend but if you don't have it, a few Chili Flakes would work as well. And I added a bit of Sugar as that makes it taste even more Japanese. Then I cooked the Pork Belly for only 45 minutes, cut it up and then browned the pieces in a small bit of oil. It was fantastic!  I then thickened the sauce just a little with a bit of cornstarch so I could pour the sauce over the crispy pieces of pork belly.  I served it with sticky rice and some sautéed greens and I was in Pork Belly Heaven! You could make this with Chicken Thighs instead and I'm sure you will love that too!  

Pressure Cooker Pork Belly with Japanese Flavors

1 piece of Pork Belly  - about 1 - 1.5 pounds
3 Green Onions
3 slices of fresh Ginger, ends trimmed and cut in thirds
1/4 cup Mirin
1/4 cup Tamari
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
1 cup Water
1 - 2 teaspoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Togarashi or Red Chili Flakes

2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch mixed with 2 Tablespoons of Water

Mix the Mirin, Chicken Broth and Tamari and Sugar together - taste and adjust Sugar if desired.  Place the Pork Belly in the Pressure Cooker with the sauce mixture and the Green Onions, Ginger, Cover and bring to the point where the steam starts being released. Turn down to medium low and cook for 45 minutes.  Run the pressure cooker under cold running water to release the steam before opening.  

Remove the Pork Belly and cut into bite-sized pieces. Heat the 2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil in a frying pan and add Pork Belly pieces and cook for a few minutes, tossing to brown them. Remove to a plate. 

Strain the cooking liquid in the Pressure Cooker and return to the pot. Add in the Cornstarch Mixture and cook over medium heat until thickened. Pour over the Pork Belly to serve.

Five Element Analysis

Pork Belly is a Water food and the Tamari adds even more of the Water Element so this is primarily a Water dish. The Chicken Broth brings in the Wood Element. The Fire Element is represented by the Togarashi and the Mirin although it is so sweet that it adds a bit of the Earth Element as does the Sugar and Cornstarch.  The Metal Element is brought in by the Green Onions and Ginger.  This then, is a nearly balanced Five Element food and serving it with Rice and Sauteed Greens makes a pretty balanced meal!

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