Soft, juicy, and tender! Japanese chasu is a slow-cooked pork belly braised in a sweet, savoury, and roasty sauce! These flavours are infused with hojicha (roasted green tea), which adds a nutty, caramel-like aroma to the pork. This chasu can be enjoyed over plain rice, topped on ramen and mazesoba, diced in fried rice, and in sandwiches!
What is Hojicha?
Hojicha is a Japanese roasted green tea. Its light, reddish brown hues reflect its sweet, nutty, and roasty flavour. The tea leaves are first steamed to stop the oxidation process, and then roasted. This careful process removes the bitterness you may find in other green teas and creates a unique smoky, earthy aroma.
Hojicha’s deliciously roasty, and smoky flavours refresh and cleanse the palate. The tea is often served at the end of a meal and in the evenings. Its low caffeine content and calming aroma compound, pyrazine, makes it a perfect beverage for winding down. The rich flavour is also enjoyed as a refreshing iced tea in the summer! Hojicha has become popular not only as a beverage, but as a main ingredient in both sweet and savoury dishes. If you haven’t yet, try infusing this tea with your favourite baked goods or in your chasu!
Japanese Chasu vs. Chinese Char Siu
The Japanese chasu dish is inspired by the red-glazed Cantonese char siu pork. Although similar in name, they are quite different in taste and texture! Generally, Cantonese char siu marinates pork shoulder for hours at a time using Chinese-based soy sauces, wine, and spices. It’s then barbecued for a smoky aroma with a sweet, caramelized glaze. Japanese chasu pork belly is made with Japanese-based flavours of soy sauce, sugar, spices, and sake. It’s slowly braised in a pot where the flavourful marinade is infused into the meat, reaching a buttery texture that falls apart in your mouth. This recipe uses hojicha to further incorporate smoky, caramel-like flavours to the dish!
Prep time: 2 mins
Cooking time: 60 mins
- 4 cups water
- 2 tsp houjicha leaves in a tea bag (available in our Japanese Green and Specialty Teas: “Ryu” Care Package)
- 500g pork belly (shoulder or butt can also be used)
- ½ cup ginger (shredded)
- 4 tbsp rice wine
- 7 tbsp soy sauce*
- 5 tbsp sugar
- Japanese mustard
- Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese Seven Spice Blend)*
- Bring the water to a boil in a large pot and add the houjicha tea bag. Simmer over medium heat for 3 mins. Remove the tea bag.
- Stab the pork with a fork and sear all sides in a cast iron pan on high heat until brown and crisp on the outside (about 10-15 mins).
- Add the pork to the pot of houjicha in step 1, then add the shredded ginger and rice wine. Cook for 10 mins over medium heat while removing any foam from the surface. Add sugar and soy sauce. Cover with parchment paper and a small lid, and cook for 40 mins over low heat. Turn off the heat and let sit until it reaches room temperature.
- Remove the pork and slice into thin slices to serve. Thicken the remaining sauce over low heat if necessary then drizzle generously over the sliced pork. Enjoy with the Japanese mustard and shichimi togarashi for taste.
- When searing the pork in step 2, you want a nice golden brown color but does not need to be fully cooked.
- In step 3, the parchment paper helps to cook and season the pork evenly. You don’t want the lid to cover it completely as it's just used to keep the parchment paper in place.
- The tea helps to eliminate any unwanted meat odor from pork.
- You can marinate a soft boiled egg in the leftover sauce and use it as a topping for ramen.
Storage time:Can be stored in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.
* Available in our Creative Beginnings: Redefining "Wa" Care Package
Recipe courtesy of Miwa's Japanese Cooking Class
Miwa was born in Kamakura. She spent one year in Texas, US and another year in California, US during high-school and university respectively. In 2016, due to her husband, Yuki’s study abroad, she spent one year in Cambridge, UK where she came up with the original idea of Japanese Cooking Class in Shinagawa & Kamakura. She is currently teaching at the biggest cooking studio in Japan while holding a class at home. She is the mother of two and a full-time worker. Always busy her food is not for tourists but for the taste of a Japanese mother.(See her Instagram for food pictures). If you want to know the a well-balanced, time-saving and delicious Japanese family cuisine, please join her lesson!
Qualification; Medicinal cooking.
<Best classes and workshops in Shinagawa prefecture on Tripadviser (2010/06/18)>
Introduction courtesy of Tiffany Furukawa
Tiffany spent her childhood exploring Japanese food in the suburbs of Tokyo and helping her Obaachan (grandmother) in the kitchen. These experiences nurtured her passion for food and she is now studying environmental sustainability and food sciences at university. In her free time, Tiffany loves discovering hidden restaurants in Japan, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, and going on runs!