Pork Belly Kakuni
On the new fall menu at Nama Ko, a modern Japanese-inspired restaurant by chef and restaurateur Michael Schlow, executive chef Derek Watson prepares his own interpretation of kakuni, a dish of pork belly braised in a sweet dashi broth with brown sugar and served with rice porridge and Japanese mustard.
He starts by curing the belly in shio koji for two days, and then braising it in dashi sweetened with mirin instead of brown sugar, plus “a lot of” ginger, garlic, and scallion.
He also adds ginger and lemon grass hearts to the rice that he cooks into porridge. Watson says the addition of the aromatics lightens the dish.
On the pickup he bathes the braised belly in a yuzu hoisin sauce. “The yuzu especially adds a light acidity, but more importantly a delicate floral note specific to this Japanese citrus that really lifts the flavors and brings everything together.”
He finishes the dish with a chili crunch along with fried onion, sliced scallion, and a soft-poached egg.
It’s also garnished with broccoli raab that has been blanched in dashi.