February 07, 2008

Buta no Kakuni

pork belly 2

The year of the pig is over, and we gave it a proper send-off with Morimoto's recipe for Buta no Kakuni - slowly braised pork belly. Actually assembling the dish was a bit of an adventure - I was missing two ingredients: burdock root (used as a garnish) and conpoy (dried scallops, 江瑤柱).

I started it on Saturday, braising the pork belly for 7 hours in water and brown rice.  On Sunday, I started soaking the rice in a homemade scallion oil.

On Monday, I walked through Chinatown looking for conpoy. I found one place, but they only had a 1lb bag for $39 - I didn't want that much and thought they were taking advantage of me, so I passed it up. When I got back to work, I looked it up and found that it was a reasonable price.

I'd planned on finding a place off of Grant street on Tuesday, to buy bulk conpoy. But on the way back from dropping Emily off at her show, I found a place in the Richmond that sold conpoy.

The dish was tasty, but night quite what I expected.  I think after three days in the making, my expectations were pretty high, and I was a little rushed because I wanted to feed Emily at a somewhat reasonable hour.  In retrospect I would have liked the congee to be a little more watery and a little more broken down, like Carmen's jook. The sauce should have been a bit thicker (more reduced). And I would have liked the meat to be a bit more tender.  Next time I'll use lower temperature, a bit less brown rice, and reduce the sauce a bit more.

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