A simple pork sauté that’s full of flavor
Pork ginger is Japanese comfort food, pure and simple. It’s often featured in bento lunches, as it can be prepared in advance and tastes equally good served hot or at room temperature. Best of all, its dead easy to prepare. Serve with a handful of shredded cabbage (kyabetsu no sen-giri).
Ingredients (serves 2 people)
- 200 – 250 g pork (sliced between 1 and 1.5 mm)
- 150 g cabbage
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 20 g (1 clove) of ginger
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of sake
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 100 g chopped onion
Wash the cabbage leaves and remove the core. Pile the leaves together and then roll and cut into 1 mm slices. Place them in cold water for 10 minutes, and drain.
Place a frying pan on the gas table and add one tablespoon of oil. Warm on a low heat.
While heating the pan, take the slices of pork and coat them in a thin layer of flour. Now increase the heat to medium and sauté the pork until brown. Be sure that the pork strips are cooked evenly. When they are ready, take them from the pan and on a plate.
Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan and warm it on a low heat. Slice the onion into pieces 5 mm thick – cut against the grain. Sauté the onion until it softens and becomes translucent.
Now pour the sake, sugar, and soy into the pan. Turn up the heat to medium. Put the pork back into the pan and add the ginger. Mix and cover the pork and ginger with the sauce. Serve with sliced cabbage and a generous helping of the sauce.
Niku jaga is a dish made with beef or pork, potato, onion and carrots cooked in soy sauce, sake and mirin. In addition to being a winter staple in Japanese homes, niku jaga can sometimes be found on menus in izakaya or tachinomiya.
This recipe uses beef, however the pork version is just as tasty – simply replace the beef in the following recipe with roughly the same amount of thinly sliced pork belly (butabara).
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 3 potatoes (equivalent to 400g).
- 250g of thinly sliced beef
- 1 onion
- 100 to 150g carrot
- Shirataki (stringy ‘devil’s tongue’)
- Haricot beans
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
Boil a saucepan of water. Drop the shirataki in and boil for one minute. Strain the water and cut the shirataki into bite-sized lengths.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into pieces slightly larger than bite-sized. Bevel the edges and then place them into the bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.
Next, cut the onion into crescents and the beef into strips 3cm wide.
Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into a pan and heat it. Once it’s hot, put the beef into the pan. Take the pan off the gas table. And put it onto a wet towel. This is so the beef will not stick to the pan.
Put the pan back onto the gas table and cook the beef. Once the color of the beef changes, put shirataki, carrot, onion and potato then cook with the beef.
Pour the water so that it doesn’t quite cover the vegetables. Once they are cooked, turn the gas down and remove any scum from the top of the mixture.
Put the sugar, sake and soy sauce, into the pan and heat them for about 20 minutes with the middle flame and place a drop lid (otoshibuta) on the ingredients.
Add the haricot beans, turn the gas up and cook the ingredients as you evaporate the soup.
Serve the stew in a reasonably deep dish.
- While you’re cooking niku jaga, don’t mix the ingredients too much.
- Japanese supermarkets usually offer two kinds of potatoes: Danshaku are a round shape and break apart easily when cooked. Mayqueen potatoes are an oval shape and don’t fall apart when cooked. I prefer danshaku potatoes, but its really up to you which you use.