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Photo: Kikkoman Sales USA

Soy & Five-Spice Pork Belly Buns

From: Chef Jet Tila, The Charleston, Santa Monica, Calif.; and Modern Asian Kitchen, Compass Group

Soy-Braised Pork Belly

7 c. cold water
1 c. rock candy or ¼ lb. dark brown sugar
2/3 c. soy sauce
½ c. shaoxing wine
1-in. piece ginger, smashed
6 scallions, trimmed and cut into 3-in. segments
3 lb. skin-on pork belly, preferably including ribs
1 clamshell bao bun

Pickled Cucumbers

2-3 Japanese cucumbers (2 c. sliced)
as needed, kosher salt
1 c. rice vinegar
1/3 c. water
1/3 white sugar
to taste, salt and pepper

Spicy Mayo

2 qt. mayonnaise
17 oz. Sriracha sauce
10 Tbs. Shichimi Togarashi
1-1/2 oz. yuzu kosho

For Soy-Braised Pork Belly: In a pan wide enough to hold the pork belly in one layer, combine water, sugar, soy sauce, wine, ginger and scallions. Add pork belly, skin side down, and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover pan and braise for 30 minutes. Turn pork belly skin side up, cover and braise for 3 more hours. (The pork should be immersed in liquid about halfway.) The liquid should be reduced by about half by the end of cooking time. Cool pork belly in liquid overnight and cut into 4-by-6-inch pieces. Before serving, simmer pork belly in cooking liquid to reheat.

For Pickled Cucumbers: Slice cucumbers on a mandolin. Cover generously with salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse and drain well. In a nonreactive saucepan, bring vinegar, water and sugar to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Cool. Place cucumbers in a bowl and pour vinegar mixture over. Allow to stand at least 1 hour. Drain off excess vinegar mixture before using and season cucumbers with salt and pepper.

For Spicy Mayo: Whisk together all ingredients and transfer to a squeeze bottle.

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