While serving ramen with char siu (Chinese barbecued pork) was tasty, I wanted to go all-Japanese the second time around when I made shichimenchou (Japanese turkey) ramen. I remembered Kirk of Mmm-yoso's recipe for buta no kakuni (Japanese braised pork). It's apparently based on the Chinese version, and looked amazingly similar to thit kho (Vietnamese braised pork). Even down to the hard-boiled egg.
So I decided I would largely cook the buta no kakuni the same way I would the Vietnamese version, subbing out such Vietnamese ingredients as the caramel sauce and fish sauce for Kikkoman soy sauce and grated daikon. Kirk's use of the grated daikon was ingenious. The meat was so incredibly tender.
I prefer using a leg or shoulder portion of pork with skin on to cut down on the fattiness. Use pork belly if you wish, but after a few bites, it may become a bit too much.
Buta No Kakuni (Japanese Braised Pork)
Adapted from Kirk of Mmm-yoso's buta no kakuni
For 1 1/2 lbs, you'll need:
1 1/2 lb pork, leg or shoulder portion with skin on
3-inch length of daikon, finely grated
1/4 cup soy sauce, Kikkoman brand
2 tblsp sugar
1/4 cup rice wine or mirin, if you have it
2 cups water
Finely grate half of a daikon, about 3 inches. Set aside.
I like to use my cast iron pot for braises since it retains heat better, thus reducing the cooking time. On high heat, quickly sear the pork on both sides. Then add the grated daikon, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice wine, 2 tblsp sugar, and 2 cups water.
Then turn the heat down to medium-low, partially cover the pot, and let the pork cook for at least 45 minutes to an hour, flipping it half-way through. If the marinade looks too dry, you can add a bit more water.
Serve with rice or ramen or make into fried rice.
My other braised pork recipes:
Suon Kho Xa Gung Toi Ot (Vietnamese Braised Pork Chops with Lemongrass, Ginger, Garlic, and Chilies)
Thit Heo Kho Voi Dau Hu (Vietnamese Braised Pork with Tofu)
Thit Heo Kho Voi Trung Hoac Gai Chua (Vietnamese Braised Pork with Eggs or Pickled Mustard Greens)
Xiu Mai (Vietnamese Meatballs)