twice-cooked pork belly yakitori skewers with nori jam
4 cloves garlic
1 cup (250ml) mirin (Japanese rice wine)
½ cup (125ml) soy sauce
1.5kg piece boneless pork belly
4 green onions (scallions), cut into 3cm lengths micro (baby) purple shiso leaves and shichimi togarashi+,
to serve steamed Japanese rice, to serve (optional)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
¹⁄³ cup (75g) caster (superfine) sugar ¹⁄³ cup (80ml) rice wine vinegar ¼ cup (60ml) water
2 onions, grated
4 sheets nori, cut into 2cm strips
Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF). Place the garlic, mirin and soy sauce in a roasting dish and mix to combine. Add the pork, skin-side up, cover with aluminium foil and roast for 2 hours or until the pork is tender.
Remove the pork from the oven. Reserving the cooking liquid, transfer the pork, skin-side down, to an oven tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Cover the pork with a second piece of non-stick baking paper and top with an oven tray. Weigh down with 2–3 cans or a heavy saucepan and refrigerate for 1 hour or until cold++.
While the pork is cooling, make the nori jam. Place the soy, sesame oil, sugar, vinegar, water, onion and nori in a small saucepan over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring, or until reduced and sticky. Set aside to cool.
Place the reserved cooking liquid in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes or until reduced slightly. Remove the rind from the pork and discard. Cut the pork into 4cm pieces and thread 2 pieces each onto 16 small bamboo skewers, alternating with a length of green onion. Brush each skewer with the marinade.
Preheat a chargrill pan over high heat. Cook the skewers, in batches, for 4–6 minutes, turning and brushing with the marinade, until charred and sticky. Serve with the nori jam, shiso, shichimi togarashi, any remaining marinade and the rice, if using. SERVES 4–6.
+ Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese spice mix, available from Asian supermarkets.
++ The pork can be cooked up to a day in advance – just refrigerate and weigh down overnight.