Braised Pork Belly

This Braised Pork Belly recipe, also known as Kakuni in Japanese, is packed with the rich flavors of Japanese tradition. This Japanese dish features slow-cooked pork belly in a sweet and savory soy sauce broth, resulting in irresistibly tender and flavorful bites. If you crave an authentic taste of Japan that is simple to cook, this recipe is perfect for you!

Japanese braised pork belly served in a bowl topped with sliced ginger and green onions.

Why I Love This Recipe

My Braised Pork Belly recipe, or Kakuni as it’s called in Japan, is a delightful representation of Japanese cuisine at its finest! Just like my Chashu and Boiled Pork Belly recipes, this dish showcases the art of slow cooking, allowing the pork belly to achieve unparalleled tenderness while absorbing the complex flavors of the soy sauce and sake-infused broth. It’s a balance of sweet and savory, making each bite an absolute delight that I promise once you taste, will become one of your favorite dishes!

Whether you’re looking for the perfect main course to impress guests or a flavorful side dish to elevate your meal, this recipe offers versatility that suits any occasion. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to create this authentic Japanese-style Kakuni right in your own kitchen!

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • Pork Belly – skinless and sliced into 1 inch thick slices, can be found at most Asian grocery stores.
  • Ginger – one inch of ginger sliced and the remaining ginger cut julienne.
  • Dashi fish broth made from steeping kombu and bonito flakes with boiling water. Can also use Hondashi mixed in water for instant dashi.
  • Eggs – hard boiled.
  • Sweetener – use your preferred sweetener.
  • Soy Sauce – low-sodium Soy Sauce preferred. Can also use tamari for gluten-free.
  • Japanese Sake – typically will come in a large bottle labeled junmai sake. Can also substitute with dry sherry wine, Chinese cooking wine or vodka, found at local grocery stores or Asian markets. 

🥢 Dashi Pro Tip

For easier preparation of the dashi, use Hondashi mixed with water. This quick tip simplifies the process and ensures a flavorful base for your dish.

Pork belly used to make a braised pork belly recipe on a cutting board.

Directions

Step 1 Start by filling a stovetop pot with water and sliced ginger, bringing it to a soft boil. Add the pork belly, cover, and let it simmer under medium-low heat for an hour. Once done, remove the pork belly and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Pork belly in pot.

Step 2 Next, in a new pot, craft the flavorful braising liquid by combining Dashi, sweetener, Japanese sake, the previously cut pork belly, hard-boiled eggs, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Stir this mixture thoroughly, cover the pot, and let it cook for another hour.

Boiled pork belly in Japanese braise sauce.

Step 3 After an hour has passed, enhance the flavors by adding an additional 2 tablespoons of soy sauce to the mixture. Cover the pot and continue cooking for 30 more minutes.

Boiled pork belly in Japanese braise sauce.

🍲 Cooking Pro Tip

If you notice that the cooking liquid is Evaporating Too Quickly while slow-cooking, simply Add Water to maintain the desired level of liquid in the pot.

Step 4 Finally, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and cover the pot for an additional 15 minutes.

Boiled pork belly in Japanese braise sauce.

Step 5 Once the dish has finished cooking, transfer it to a serving plate and garnish it with sliced ginger and green onions.

Braised pork belly served in a bowl.

📄 Soy Sauce Recipe Notes

We don’t add all the soy sauce at once to give the pork belly time to absorb flavors without the soy sauce getting too concentrated.

Paring Recommendations

Braised pork belly pairs perfectly with steamed rice or Garlic Butter Vegetable Fried Rice. For veggies, try creamy Garlic Butter Enoki Mushrooms or opt for a lighter choice with Asian Steamed Vegetables. And for soup, indulge in rich, creamy Japanese Corn Soup. These dishes complement the savory goodness of this slow cooked pork belly.

Japanese braised pork belly served in a bowl topped with sliced ginger and green onions being picked up with a pair of chopsticks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this dish in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker for a faster cooking time?

Certainly! You can use an Instant Pot or pressure cooker to speed up the cooking process. Just remember that the color of the dish may be slightly lighter since there is no reduction when using an Instant Pot. Approximately, 1 hour of stovetop cooking is equivalent to about 20 minutes on high pressure in an Instant Pot, 30 minutes on the stove is similar to 10 minutes on high pressure in the Instant Pot, and 15 minutes on the stove corresponds to around 5 minutes on high pressure in the Instant Pot.

Do I need to use fresh ginger, or can I use ground ginger as a substitute?

Fresh ginger is essential for this recipe.

Storage Tips

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, where they will remain fresh for 5-7 days. When ready to enjoy, simply reheat them in the microwave.

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Watch How To Make It

Japanese braised pork belly served in a bowl topped with sliced ginger and green onions.

Braised Pork Belly

Experience the rich flavors of my Braised Pork Belly recipe, also known as Kakuni. This traditional Japanese dish offers sweet and savory umami goodness, with tender pork belly simmered to perfection. Try this exquisite braised pork belly recipe today!
4.89 from 17 votes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: braised pork belly recipe, how to make braised pork belly, Japanese braised pork belly
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 8 pieces
Print Recipe
Calories: 557kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb Slice Pork Belly
  • 2 Inch Ginger
  • 4 Cups Dashi
  • 2-4 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Sweetener use your preferred sweetener
  • 5 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Cup Japanese Sake can substitute with dry sherry wine, Chinese cooking wine, or vodka

Instructions

  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for braised pork belly.
  • Fill stove top pot with enough water to completely submerge entire pork belly and bring to boil.
    Water in pot.
  • Cut 1 inch of ginger into thick slices.
    Sliced ginger.
  • Once the water is boiling, add pork belly and reduce to low/simmer heat. Add sliced ginger from step 3), cover and cook for 1 hour.
    Pork belly in pot.
  • In the meantime, make 4 cups of Dashi and set aside.
    Dashi in pot.
  • Take the remaining 1 inch ginger and cut julienne.
    Julienne ginger.
  • Make 2-4 hard boiled eggs.
    Hard boiled eggs.
  • After 1 hour has passed, transfer pork belly to a cutting board and cut into 1/2 inch bite size width. Discard liquid.
    Cut pork belly.
  • Bring Dashi from step 5) back to boil. Once boiling, reduce to low-simmer, add cut pork belly, sake, sweetener, hard-boiled eggs and ONLY 2 TBSP of Soy Sauce. Mix well, cover and cook for an additional 1 hour. Check water level periodically and add water to keep pork and eggs covered.
    Boiled pork belly in Japanese braise sauce.
  • After an hour has passed, add another 2 tbsp of Soy Sauce and cover. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
    Boiled pork belly in Japanese braise sauce.
  • After 30 minutes have passed, add the last tbsp of Soy Sauce and cook for 15 additional minutes.
    Boiled pork belly in Japanese braise sauce.
  • After 15 minutes, pork should have a nice soft glaze. Pull from stove top pot and transfer to plate. Top with a couple of pieces of julienned ginger.
    Braised pork belly served in a bowl.

Nutrition

Calories: 557kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 1060mg | Potassium: 309mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 74IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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2 Comments

  1. What and how do you make Dashi? Never heard of it . Thank you for sharing

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