The key to this dish is having the pork sliced very finely. It’s a standard cut in Japan but thinly sliced pork belly can be a little hard to find here. It’s available frozen from Asian grocers, or fresh from Asian butchers. If you don’t have an Asian butcher nearby, your normal butcher may slice it for you by hand if you ask them very nicely.
- 1 tbsp sake
- 1 tsp salt
- 300 g pork belly, very thinly sliced (around 2mm thick) (see Note)
- 4 thick spring onions, finely shredded
- 2 cups mixed salad leaves
- 2 cups picked watercress
- 1 small Lebanese cucumber, cut into thin diagonal half moons
- 2 cups mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup Sesame Dressing
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
In a medium saucepan bring about 1 litre of water to a rolling boil and add the 1 tbsp sake and 1 tsp salt. Add half the pork to the water and separate the pieces with a pair of chopsticks. Remove from the water to a separate plate as soon as the pork turns white and is cooked through. This will take just a minute or two, depending on the thickness of the pork. Return the water to the boil and repeat for the remaining pork.
Mix the spring onions, salad leaves, watercress, cucumber and tomato together, and toss with half the dressing. Arrange on a plate and top with the pork. Spoon the remaining dressing over the pork and serve with a dollop of mayonnaise.
• If you can’t buy pork belly cut thinly, chill the pork in the freezer for an hour or so and use a very, very sharp knife to cut it yourself.
Recipe and image from The Zen Kitchen by Adam Liaw (Hachette Australia, $49.99 hbk).