During my primary school days, my mom, who walks us to school everyday, would buy a snack for us either enroute to school or home. Some times it would be a curry puff from the Indian shop a few blocks away from my place or a sugar coated doughnut fresh from the bakery next to it. When I was feeling really hungry, I would ask for a steamed cha shao bun or a bun with a piece of braised pork belly stuffed inside it.
I'm referring to the less glam version of this ...
(picture taken from this website)
Over the years, I have been brain-washed by all the media about how unhealthy it is to eat meat laced with fats, especially cuts such as the pork belly. I can't ever recalling I had even cooking pork belly before. Oh, how maligned the pork belly must have felt when being passed over at the supermarket shelves for its leaner counterparts.
Think I have gone gaga? Well, it is possible, but hold your judgement until you read this:
"Animal fats have lots of good fatty acids that fights disease, help absorb vitamins and lower cholesterol. Your body burns the short-chained fatty acids found in animal fats and stores the long-chained ones found in polyunsaturated fat. It is a myth that eating animal fat makes you fat. Animal fats also has a good ratio of essential fatty acids. Many of us have a skew ratio thanks to too much vegetable oil. When this ratio is out of balance, it results in illness an depression."
If you have a few minutes to spare, check out the full article which I have extracted the above from.
While on talking about fats, I just remembered how disgusted my best friend would get when I happily tucked in fatty pieces of meat during lunch breaks back in our secondary school. Haha ... Not that she is on some diet but that she just can't abide the chewy globs.
Now, back to my pork belly.
This dish is really simple to make and all you need is just a little self restraint to wait for the meat to be simmered until tender. It is really easy and delicious. I'm glad that I decided to give this recipe a try. A lighter alternative to the Chinese braised version.
豚の角煮 (ぶたのかくに) - buta no kakuni; stewed cubed pork