My Pork Belly Hot Pot Meal
Here is what we enjoyed tonight – pork belly hot pot. First prepare the sauce: In a food processor or juicer mixer add 1/4 cup white sesame seeds, 1/4 cup shoyu, 1/4 cup sake, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon toban jiang and 1 to 2 teaspoons ginger juice. Process the mixture until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a clean jar and cover with a plastic wrap. You can make the sauce 2 to 3 days in advance. The flavor gets better.
Hakata Tonton uses mung bean sprouts, but finding good quality bean sprouts is a difficult mission to accomplish, so I purchased hakusai cabbage (Napa cabbage; this cabbage has good amount of natural glutamate) for the replacement. You need 8 to 9 ounces shredded Napa cabbage and about equal weight of pork belly. This is for 2 servings. Ask your butcher to slice the pork belly (like a slice of bacon). Or, after purchasing freeze the meat in your freezer for 1 hour or so, and when the meat is firm, cut it into paper thin slices. Additionally you need 2 to 3 scallions, sliced thin crosswise and grated ginger (about 1 tablespoon).
In a shallow pot (10 to 12 inch in diameter) add 1 cup dashi stock (I have added some salt and shoyu) or chicken stock. Add the shredded cabbage and cover the bottom of the pot evenly. Arrange the sliced pork belly over the cabbage evenly. Add the sliced scallions and grated ginger in the center. Put the shallow pot over a stove top and loosely cover it with a paper lid. Turn the heat to medium and cook the vegetables and pork belly for 12 to 15 minutes. Be careful not to burn the paper lid! Remove the shallow pot from the heat and carefully bring it to the table. Transfer small portion of the vegetables and pork from the pot at one time into individual serving bowls. Pour the sauce (1 tablespoonful at a time) over the vegetables and pork and enjoy. Repeat the process until you finish all of the vegetables and pork in the pot. At the end you find the delicious left-over cooking liquid in the pot. I added 2 cups cooked faro to the pot with a tablespoon sauce and cooked the faro until all the liquid is almost absorbed. Then, I added lots of ground black sesame seeds to the faro. It was a delicious finish!