Even though it’s already mid Spring, sometimes it still feels like we haven’t yet left winter. The Melbourne weather is as unpredictable and unforgiving as ever and I felt the full force of it about a week ago in Tasmania where it rained like the world was about to end but we still had to stick to sightseeing plans. That was not a fun experience. Wet, cold, dirty and a lot of walking does not go down well in my books.
My wardrobe is as confused as I am. When I thought it was getting warm with consecutive mid 20C weather and I finally take out all the summer gear, the temperature suddenly drops to mid 10s. The only good thing to come out of this is that I can still enjoy my wintery dishes that little bit longer.
I’m very much a summer animal where I prefer to hibernate when it’s cold. When it’s cold, I also tend to crave for stews or hot noodles with lots of meat. Yuye made this beautiful dish just before I went on my epic trip around Australia and as it’s quite cold right now, my craving metre has gone through the roof. However, I no longer have pork belly in the fridge! I hope some of you might, or be willing to go out and get some as this dish was so delicious I had it again the very next day and again a few days later.
Yuye is a bit of a genius in this way, if only he was willing to enter Masterchef…he wouldn’t budge no matter how much I ask.
This dish is kind of like a fusion between Japanese and Chinese food. The pork is marinated in Chinese spices whereas the soup has classic Japanese flavours. If you like your soup a bit more Chinese, feel free to add some of the marinating sauce and a bit less miso paste. I had it both ways and both were just as lovely.
Also the pork was boiled and completely cooked through beforehand so the step for boiling the pork can be done a day or even days before it’s required. Just remember to keep it refrigerated or even frozen until you make the noodles.
I realised I had left out the eggs in the ingredients photos. Oops.
Stewed pork belly with udon
• 2 serves of udon noodles (roughly 300g)
• 4 cups dashi stock (by mixing dashi powder with hot water according to instructions)
• 5 tbsp light soy sauce
• 4 tbsp mirin
• 1 tbsp white miso (more to taste)
• 2 eggs, at room temperature
• sliced spring onions for garnish
For the pork and marinade
• 200g pork belly
• 2 tbsp light soy sauce
• 2 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine for cooking)
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 1 star anise
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and squashed
• 1 tbsp water
Making the pork
1. Heat a small to medium pot with water until boiling. Boil the pork belly for roughly 10 minutes then change the water and remove all the scum. Boil for a further 30 minutes, remove from water and pat dry with a paper towel.
2. Cut pork belly into slightly less than 1cm thick slices.
3. Place all marinade ingredients including the garlic into a small pot. Simmer until sugar is dissolved (roughly 5 minutes). Stirring occasionally.
4. Add pork belly, coating the surfaces evenly and simmer until most of the liquid has disappeared. Turn the pork over every 2-3 minutes for an even cook. This takes roughly 15-20 minutes.
5. Strain the remaining liquid, discarding star anise and garlic and set aside with the pork.
Half boiled eggs
1. Boil a small pot of water. Place eggs in gently and boil for 6 minutes. Prepare an iced water bath in the mean time.
2. As soon as the eggs are done, quickly but gently place the eggs in the iced water. Keep it there for roughly 10 minutes and testing the surface to make sure it’s completely cooled and feels chilled.
3. Carefully peel the shell off and cut eggs into halves.
Making the noodles and soup
1. Cook udon according to packet instructions (normally takes around 10-15 minutes).*
2. Heat dashi stock, soy sauce, mirin and remaining pork marinade in a medium pot until boiling, then remove from heat.
3. Mix miso paste with some of the soup in a small bowl to dissolve it, making sure there are no large lumps. Add miso back into the pot and stir through.
4. Place udon in a bowl, pour on hot soup and add eggs. Top with chopped spring onions to serve.
* After udon is cooked, make sure to drain and rinse well for a smooth final texture.
Question time:Is the weather hectic where you live or is your weather goddess not as temperamental?