Food

Make black tea-braised pork chashu for a delicate and flavourful Japanese main

Served with rice, mixed greens and a simple marinade, this recipe from Meg and Zenta Tanaka is a real weeknight winner.

Served with rice, mixed greens and a simple marinade, this recipe is a real weeknight winner

Dry or over-cooked meat can be one of the biggest cooking let downs, especially when you’ve put time and care into putting the whole meal together. This pork chashu recipe from Meg and Zenta Tanaka’s cookbook Cibi braises the meat in black tea to ensure the utmost tenderness and tons of added flavour. The Japanese-style dish, typically used as a topping for ramen, is paired here with light mixed greens and perfectly-cooked rice (the recipe comes with instructions for getting the grain just right) for a balanced dinner that doesn’t take tons of time to prepare. Make it on a weeknight, then bring the leftovers to work for a light lunch the next day.

Mum’s Pork Cha-Shu

By Meg and Zenta Tanaka

This is one of my favourite and most easy-to-make recipes from my mum — pork cooked in black tea. When you cook pork in black tea, the tannins tenderise the meat and reduce the fat so it becomes light and clean. All you need to do is make strong black tea in a heavy pot, put the pork in and cook it. You’ll also use the marinade to dress the salad so there is no waste — it is so simple, and so good. The leftover cold meat makes for a good summer lunch dish.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 black teabags (Ceylon or English Breakfast are nice)
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) pork shoulder or fillet
  • 50 g (1¾ oz) mixed salad leaves
  • 1 tbsp finely sliced spring onion (scallion), to garnish
  • 1 quantity Perfect Stovetop Rice, to serve (recipe below)

Cha-Shu Marinade:

  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) soy sauce
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) mirin
  • 3 tbsp sake
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar

Perfect Stovetop Rice:

  • 450 g (1 lb) white or brown medium-grain rice

Preparation

In a large stockpot, bring 4 cups water to the boil. Add the teabags and let them steep to make a very strong black tea.

Remove the teabags, transfer the pork to the stockpot and bring it to the boil. Turn the heat down to low and use a piece of baking paper to make an otoshi-buta (drop-lid). Cook the pork for about 40 minutes, until it is firm to the touch and its juices run clear when you pierce the meat with a knife.

While the pork is cooking, make the marinade. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil for 2 minutes. Cool the sauce and pour it into a rimmed tray or bowl.

Once the pork is cooked, remove it from the pot and coat it in the marinade. Let the pork cool.

To serve, arrange some salad leaves on each plate and dress with the leftover marinade. Thinly slice the pork and place it on the plate, and garnish with spring onion. Serve accompanied by rice. Leftover pork keeps in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 week.

Perfect Stovetop Rice:

Rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear – this will remove excess starch, ensuring the rice is nice and fluffy. Drain well.

Put the rice and 540 ml (18 fl oz) water in a saucepan and leave it to soak for at least 30 minutes (for brown rice, overnight is ideal).

Put the lid on the saucepan and bring the rice to the boil. Once it boils, turn the heat down to low and cook for a further five minutes, then turn off the heat and let the grains steam, covered, for at least 10–15 minutes.

Makes 4-6 servings of rice.


Excerpted from Cibi: Simple Japanese-Inspired Meals to Share With Family and Friends by Meg Tanaka and Zenta Tanaka. Recipes Copyright © 2018. Excerpted by permission of Chronicle Books. All rights reserved.

Servings: Makes 4-6 servings

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