Thinly sliced Boiled Pork Belly with Vinegar-soy Sauce is a delicious dish. You can’t tell that it is just boiled pork. Chopped coriander/cilantro and green onion makes the dish so appetising, and it keeps well in the fridge and freezer.
You can find recipes for Boiled Pork Belly on many Asian recipe sites. But what distinguishes my version from the other recipes is the sauce that is poured over the sliced pork. It is salty and sour, but by adding dashi stock to the vinegar-soy mixture, the flavour becomes mild with a dash of Japanese flair.
The cut of the pork does not have to be pork belly. It can be pork shoulder, for example. But pork belly is by far the most popular cuts of meat for a boiled pork recipe, and I think it is the juiciest.
What’s in my Boiled Pork Belly with Vinegar-soy Sauce
- A block of pork belly without skin on
- Cooking Sake
- Sliced ginger
- Several pieces of green onion (green part only)
If you really have an issue with pork belly (some people do because of the bands of fat), you can use another cut of pork such as pork shoulder or pork neck/butt. But the boiled meat will not be as juicy as pork belly.
- Dashi stock
- Rice wine vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
Toppings and Serving
- Chopped green onions
- Chopped coriander/cilantro
- Wasabi paste (optional)
Although coriander/cilantro is not a traditional Japanese ingredient, it gives a refreshing touch to the dish, and I like it. But even if you just use green onions, the dish tastes great.
Wasabi is optional but you will be surprised to learn that it goes so well with the Vinegar-soy Sauce.
How to Make Boiled Pork Belly with Vinegar-soy Sauce
Thinking about how to slice the pork when serving, I halved a large block of pork belly lengthwise. This made it easy to pick up a slice of pork and to eat it.
- Coat the surface of the pork pieces with sugar and salt. Leave them in the fridge overnight.
- Rinse off the salt on the pork pieces, then boil the pork pieces with the rest of Boiling Pork ingredients.
- Remove the scum as much as possible.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook for 40-60 minutes, with a lid on, allowing for a little ventilation.
- Let it cool down with the pork in the broth.
- Mix the Vinegar-soy Sauce ingredients.
- Slice the pork into 5mm/3⁄16″ thick pieces.
- Plate the pork slices with coriander/cilantro and green onions scattered over the pork.
- Pour the sauce over.
Before boiling the pork belly, you need to marinate the pork with salt and sugar over night. This makes the pork tender and moist. It also injects the flavour into the flesh. You will see some liquid collected beneath the pork pieces (see the second photo in the step-by-step photo above).
Boiled Pork Belly keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days. It is best to store the pork in the broth and slice it at the time of serving. You can also freeze it for a few weeks, without the broth.
Boiled Pork Belly is Versatile
The boiled pork belly has a slight salty flavour from marinating it overnight. If you are very sensitive to the saltiness, you may even find that you can eat the pork without much sauce added to it. Since it was boiled with minimum flavouring, you can use it in many ways.
To name a few:
- Have it with Gomadare, instead of Vinegar-soy Sauce.
- On a fresh salad to convert it to a dinner salad.
- Make Kakuni (Simmered Pork Belly) – cut the block into cubes and cook in soy sauce, sugar, sake, and water.
- Stir-fry with vegetables.
- As a ramen topping (left photo below) – the broth is a perfect foundation for ramen soup such as Okinawa Soba (Sōki Soba).
- Make a soup with the broth, chopped Boiled Pork Belly, and vegetables (right photo below).
- Marinate a block of Boiled Pork Belly together with eggs when making Ramen Egg (Ajitsuke Tamago), then slice the pork to serve.
You can make so many different arrangements with just a piece of Boiled Pork Belly!
Watch How To Make It
Thinly sliced Boiled Pork Belly with Vinegar-soy Sauce is a delicious dish. You can’t tell that it is just boiled pork. Chopped coriander/cilantro and green onion make the dish so appetising. (Watch the video)
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 500-600g/1.1-1.3lb pork belly block without skin on (note 1)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 100ml/3.4 fl oz cooking sake
- 1 knob ginger (2.5cm/1” cube) thinly sliced
- 2 green onions (green parts only), broken into 10-15cm/4-6" long pieces
- Water to boil pork (note 2)
- 4 tbsp dashi stock
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- ½ cup green onion finely chopped
- ½ cup coriander/cilantro finely chopped
- Wasabi paste
Halve the pork belly block lengthwise and place the pork pieces in a tray or a deep plate that can comfortably fit in the pork pieces.
Coat the pork belly blocks with salt and sugar all around them evenly. Cover the tray with cling wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight (salt and sugar tenderises the pork belly).
Rinse the salt and sugar off the pork thoroughly, then place the pork pieces in a pot that can just fit the pork in.
Add ginger and green onion pieces to the pot, then add water to completely cover the pork (note 2). Bring it to a boil over high heat.
Remove the scum cleanly, reduce the heat to low and cook for 40 minutes to 1 hour (note 5) with the lid on, allowing for a small amount of ventilation. Ensure that the pork pieces are submerged in hot water at all times (note 6).
When a skewer can get through the pork easily, it is done.
Turn the heat off and leave it to cool down, with the pork pieces in the broth.
Mix the Vinegar-soy Sauce ingredients in a bowl or a jar.
Transfer the pork pieces from the broth (note 7) to a cutting board and slice them into 5mm/3⁄16" thick pieces.
Place the sliced pork on a serving plate. Scatter the coriander/cilantro and green onions over the pork.
Pour the sauce over, leaving some sauce as a dipping sauce. Drop wasabi paste on the side of the serving plate if using.
1. Try to get a thick block of pork belly so that the cooked pork pieces look good when sliced. My pork was 535g/1.2lb and 3.5-4cm/1⅜-1½" thick. The size of the block was about 10cm x 15cm/4" x 6".
To enjoy the tenderness and juiciness of the boiled pork, I do not recommend using other cuts of pork. I tried this recipe with a piece of pork neck/butt and the meat was a bit dry. But if you can't eat pork belly, you can of course use other cuts of pork such as pork shoulder and pork neck/butt.
2. Depending on the dimension of the pork pieces and the size of the pot, the amount of water required varies.
3. The quantity of sauce is generous and more than is required to pour over the pork. The idea is to serve the remaining sauce as a dipping sauce.
Instead of Vinegar-soy Sauce, you can use gomadare (sesame sauce) if you wish. You can find the recipe for Gomadare in Japanese Dressings. But I must say I like the Vinegar-soy Sauce better as it makes the dish somewhat light.
4. You can have just one of them if you prefer.
5. The time required to cook the pork varies depending on the thickness of your pork. I cooked for 1 hour, and the pork was very tender. 50 minutes would have been OK too.
Be careful not to overcook it as the flesh breaks down when you slice the meat.
6. Pork pieces slightly curl up when heated, resulting in the top part of the pork appearing above water. Evaporation of the water also makes the pork appear above the water. If the water level becomes lower than the top of the piece of pork, add boiling water to submerge the pork in the water.
7. You will get a very good broth from boiling the pork, which is perfect for a ramen broth. It is very similar to the broth for Okinawa Soba (Sōki Soba).
I put the broth through a sieve to remove the vegetables and scum. Then chill it in the fridge to solidify the excess fat on the surface, so that you can remove the excess fat easily. You can of course retain some fat if you prefer a rich broth.
8. Boiled Pork Belly keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days. It is best to store the pork in the broth and slice it at the time of serving. You can also freeze it (without broth) for few weeks.
9. Nutrition per serving, assuming that a half of the sauce is consumed. Total fat should be slightly lower than the figures below because some fat renders out to the boiling water.
serving: 193g calories: 725kcal fat: 68g (105%) saturated fat: 24g (120%) trans fat: 0.0g polyunsaturated fat: 7.6g monounsaturated fat: 32g cholesterol: 90mg (30%) sodium: 1453mg (61%) potassium: 644mg (18%) carbohydrates: 7.6g (3%) dietary fibre: 1.2g (5%) sugar: 2g protein: 14g vitamin a: 12% vitamin c: 76% calcium: 8.8% iron: 23%