One of the delicious types of meals, yet easy to cook recipes in Japanese food are “Nimono” (煮物) which means, boiled meals. Out of it, the braised kakuni pork nimono is an all-time favorite dish in every household. It is such a common menu, that I bet each household has their own kind of traditional recipe from their ancestors. The sauce has a sweet taste, made by soy sauce and sugar, and a hint of honey. By boiling the pork blocks, radish, and boiled eggs in this delicious soup, the meat and vegetables become tender, and the it allows the umami to penetrate into the ingredients, making them juicy and tasty. This looks difficult to cook, but in fact it is so easy, by putting the ingredients to the pot, and waiting for it boil to cook it self. Now let’s see how this is done!
How is it cooked?
For this meal, we always use a pork-block meat. “Kaku” means block in Japanese, so cut the meat into sizes large enough to call it a block (4-5cm). Cut any excess fats to make it a healthier menu. Also, cut the radish into large circled pieces. First, cook the meat with some oil in a pot, until all sides look brown. Then, add water until the meat is covered and boil for 30 min. If you put spring onions & ginger at this timing, it will give you a nice refreshing scent that also penetrates to your pork. Once finished boiling, take out the meat into a separate bowl. Go back to the pot, and scoop out any excess oil that generated from the cooking. Put back the meat, add sake, sugar, and soy sauce. I recommend you also add some honey at this timing, to extract the extra natural sweetness. Put the radish & boiled eggs in the pot, and wait for it to boil. Turn the heat to low, and boil in low heat for 40 min.
You’re going to be surprised how easy this menu is, as the meat & vegetables cook themselves. All you have to do, is relax, sit down, and wait for dinner to cook itself. The more you leave it cooking, the more tender the pork & vegetables get, and the soup taste transfers to your ingredients. So although easy to cook, I recommend that you have enough time to have the low heat boil continue.
Recommended cooking utensils?
I personally recommend using the LeCreuset pots for these kinds of “Nimono” dishes. The LeCreuset pot generates high heat with low power, and with the lid on, it maintains the temperature inside the pot. So if you have children you need to keep an eye on, or want to watch TV, if you use this pot, you can simply turn off the heat after a boil, and keep it cooking with the leftover temperature with the lid on.
One of a kind taste…
Once experiencing this fine soup and tender pork, you’ll never stop thinking about it. You could actually break the pork with your chopsticks with very less power. You’ll literally see it fall apart. Definitely try this delicious easy cooking meal, and experience the home-made taste of a Japanese household.
Braised Pork Kakuni
- 800 g Pork Block Meat
- 4 Boiled eggs
- 1/4 Radish (Daikon)
- 1 Spring Onion
- 3 sliced Ginger
- 400 cc Water
- 1 tsp Oil
- 100 cc Sake
- 3 tbsp Sugar
- 80 cc Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp Honey
- Cut the pork into 4~5cm blocks. Cut the green part of the spring onions off, and the white parts into large 2-3 cm chunks. Cut the radish into large circles with 1-2cm width.
- Make hard boiled eggs.
2. First boiling (To take off excess fat)
- Pre-heat the pot with medium heat and add oil. Place the pork in, and turn them inside the pot to make all sides turn brown.
- Add water until it covers the meat. Place the ginger & the green part of the spring onion. Once it starts to bubble, turn down the heat to low and cook for 30 min.
3. Second boiling (To penetrate the soup)
- Take out the pork from the pot. Once the water in the pot cools down, catch and discard the excess fat generated on the surface of the liquid. This will help the soup taste stick well to the meat & vegetables.
- Re-place the meat inside the pot. Add the white parts of the spring onions, and radish into the pot.
- Add the soup ingredients +400cc of water into the pot. Make sure the radish is completely covered with the soup, because this takes a lot of time to soften. If not covered, add water, and soup ingredients to make sure they are covered. Mix and heat with medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, lower the heat and cook for 40 minutes.
- If the soup seems to be evaporating, add water + soup ingredients to keep the water level.
- Finally, add the boiled eggs and pour the soup on top of them. Leave the pot to cook for another 20 minutes. (At this time, you can cook with only the leftover heat. It's ok to turn off the heat)