November 05, 2002
Iron Chef's Pork Belly
5 hour pork belly

This is the latest attempt at recreating restaurant food. I originally had this dish at Morimoto where it was called "10 Hour Pork Belly" and tasted quite delicious. In the supermarket recently, a square slab of pork belly (actually salt pork) was calling out to be given the Iron Chef treatment so I put the $2 piece of meat in the cart. Having already tried the rice porridge, I felt confident that I could cook it again, thereby completing the mimicry of the original dish.

I didn't feel like starting dinner at 9 in the morning, so this turned out to be only a five hour pork belly. Not knowing exactly how the pork belly was treated for the ten hours of cooking, I played it safe and simple. I browned the two large faces of the meat and then braised it in water, starting on the stove and then moving into the oven for the long haul. By the end of the five hours, the water have been transformed into a deliciously porky broth which Nadia then used as the base for a sauce. The large slab of fat in the middle had shrunk a little after the cooking, but did not melt as much as I would have liked. Perhaps cooking it for another five hours would have done the trick. The sauce that Nadia made turned into a syrup that was a bit too salty. However, when paired with the unsalted rice porridge, the syrup was just right. The bits of bacon and sliced scallion were added in an effort recreate every detail of the original but they really bring some needed variety to an otherwise one dimensional dish. The pork itself was also a bit salty and had a taste very reminiscent of Virginia ham. If I make this again, I will definitely choose a piece of regular pork belly, not salt pork.