Japanese Braised Pork Belly

Tender and juicy braised pork belly slow cooked in a sweet and savory soy sauce based stock takes this pork belly to a whole new level. This braised pork belly recipe, or Kakuni as it is known in Japan, is so melt-in-your-mouth good!

If you’re looking for an Asian recipe with pork belly then you’ve come to the right place. Japanese braised pork belly has got to be on the top of the list because there is nothing like the savory, and sweet layers of pork belly braised until soft and tender.

This recipe can be customized to your specific dietary needs with directions on how to make this dish low carb, and sugar-free and keto friendly.

Now, if you’re someone who’s usually short on time or prefer to make set it and forget type of recipes, this braised pork belly dish can easily be made in a pressure cooker or instant pot as well.  See below for instructions.

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

What is Japanese braised pork belly?

This Japanese braised pork belly recipe, or kakuni as it’s known in Japan, is sliced or cubed pork belly slow simmered in a soy sauce based stock until it is very tender and the fat is rendered.  It has a slight sweetness to it adding an extra element of umami to the pork belly.

This Japanese recipe uses very few ingredients compared to a Chinese braised pork belly dish that uses star anise, dark soy sauce, and rice wine.

Traditionally, this dish is enjoyed with a side of rice or cooked veggies.

What ingredients do I need to make this braised pork belly recipe?

  • Pork Belly – skinless and sliced into thick cubes.  Pork belly is widely available in many supermarkets, especially Asian markets.
  • Ginger – one inch of ginger sliced and the remaining ginger cut julienne.
  • Dashi – a soup base broth made from boiling bonito flakes.  This is the base responsible for giving Japanese cuisine it’s signature umami flavor.
  • Eggs – hard boiled and peeled.  It is very common to find braised boiled eggs along with the pork belly.
  • Sweetener – to keep this recipe sugar-free, we use a monkfruit erythritol blend.  It is low carb, keto friendly and has 0 calories. Feel free to use your preferred sweetener or regular cane sugar.
  • Soy Sauce – low sodium is preferred. For gluten free you can use tamari or coconut aminos.
  • Vodka – takes the gaminess out of the pork belly. Can sub with Japanese sake, dry sherry or Chinese cooking wine.

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

What kind of pork belly works best for this recipe?

I recommend  2 inch thick skinless pork belly strips cut into cubes. The ones we use are from Costco.

How do you cook braised pork belly?

Boil pork belly in water and sliced ginger over low medium heat for one hour. Drain and add pork belly to dashi broth mixture (braising liquid) with boiled eggs cover with a lid and cook for an additional hour. No need to stir.

Add 2 tbsp of soy sauce and cook for additional 30 minutes. Then pour the remaining soy sauce and cook for an additional hour or until desired tenderness.

How long does it take to cook belly pork?

To make tender pork belly, you need to cook it follow these suggestions:

  • Instant pot for about 30-40 minutes.
  • Slow cook for 2-3 hours.

Pork belly used to make a braised pork belly recipe inside a instapot with sliced ginger and water.

Can I make this pork belly recipe in an instapot?

Yes absolutely! Follow the cooking times below. Just note that the color will be a little lighter since there is no reduction in an instapot.

  • 1 Hour = 20 Minutes High Pressure
  • 30 Minutes = 10 Minutes High Pressure
  • 15 Minutes = 5 Minutes High Pressure

What is the nutrition information for this Japanese kakuni recipe?

  • 557 Calories
  • 2g Carbohydrates
  • 1g Fiber
  • 13g Protein
  • 47g Fat
  • 108mg Cholesterol
  • 1060mg Sodium
  • 309mg Potassium
  • 49mg Calcium
  • 1mg Iron
  • 74ui Vitamin A
  • 1mg Vitamin C

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

Do you have any other pork belly recipes I can try?

Now, let’s get making the Japanese style Braised Pork Belly recipe!

  • Prepping Time 15M
  • Cook Time 2H45M
  • Total Time 3H
  • Net Carb/Piece ~0.5g
  • Servings 8-10 pieces

Ingredients

Directions

1) Gather all the ingredients.

Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (3)

2) Fill stove top pot with enough water to completely submerge entire pork belly and bring to boil.

3) Cut 1 inch of ginger into thick slices.

Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (5)

4) 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.

Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (20)

5) In the meantime, make 4 cups of Dashi and set aside.

6) Take the remaining 1 inch ginger and cut julienne.  Set aside.

Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (7)

7) Make 2-4 hard boiled eggs.  Here are the directions if you are interested.

Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (1)

8) After 1 hour has passed, transfer pork belly to a cutting board and cut into 1/2 inch bite size width.  Discard liquid.

Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (8)

9) Bring Dashi from step 5) back to boil.  Once boiling, reduce to low-simmer, add vodka, sweetener, cut pork belly, hard-boiled eggs and ONLY 2 TBSP of Soy Sauce (if you do not add Soy Sauce in increments, it will be overly salty).  Mix well, cover and cook for an additional 1 hour.  Check water level periodically and add water to keep pork and eggs covered.

Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (21)

Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (23)

Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (15)

10) After an hour has passed, add another 2 tbsp of Soy Sauce and cover.  Cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (16)

11) After 30 minutes have passed, add the last tbsp of Soy Sauce and cook for 15 additional minutes.

Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (17)

12) After 15 minutes, pork should have a nice soft glaze.  Pull from stove top pot and transfer to plate.  Top with sliced ginger.

Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (35)

Hope you enjoy your Braised Pork Belly recipe!

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More Recipes

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

Japanese Braised Pork Belly

Tender and juicy braised pork belly slow cooked in a sweet and savory soy sauce based stock takes this pork belly to a whole new level. This braised pork belly recipe, or Kakuni as it is known in Japan, is so melt-in-your-mouth good!
4.86 from 14 votes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Asian recipe with pork belly, braised pork belly recipe, Japanese braised pork belly, kakuni
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 link on how to make easy peel hard boiled eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Sweetener monkfruit erythritol blend, sugar or sweetener of choice
  • 5 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Cup Vodka

Instructions

  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (3)
  • Fill stove top pot with enough water to completely submerge entire pork belly and bring to boil.
    Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (4)
  • Cut 1 inch of ginger into thick slices.
    Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (5)
  • 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.
    Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (20)
  • In the meantime, make 4 cups of Dashi and set aside.
    Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (2)
  • Take the remaining 1 inch ginger and cut julienne. Set aside.
    Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (7)
  • Make 2-4 hard boiled eggs. Here are the directions if you are interested.
    Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (1)
  • After 1 hour has passed, transfer pork belly to a cutting board and cut into 1/2 inch bite size width. Discard liquid.
    Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (8)
  • Bring Dashi from step 5) back to boil. Once boiling, reduce to low-simmer, add cut pork belly, vodka, sweetener, hard-boiled eggs and ONLY 2 TBSP of Soy Sauce (if you do not add Soy Sauce in increments, it will be overly salty). Mix well, cover and cook for an additional 1 hour. Check water level periodically and add water to keep pork and eggs covered.
    Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (23)
  • After an hour has passed, add another 2 tbsp of Soy Sauce and cover. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes have passed, add the last tbsp of Soy Sauce and cook for 15 additional minutes.
    Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (17)
  • 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.
    Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (35)

Video

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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