pork yakitori

Peppercorn Pork & Pickled Apple Yakitori

Soft and sticky pork skewers glazed in an irresistible savoury-sweet sauce – a Japanese street food classic.

 

Pairs with Mulled Honteri

LevelLevel: Medium

ServesServes: 8-10

Prep TimePrep Time: 340 mins

Cook TimeCook Time: 30 mins

Ingredients

Pork

300-400g whole piece belly pork

½ tsp each of salt & katsuobushi (dried skipjack tuna flakes), mixed

6 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

½ tsp Sichuan peppercorns whole

½ tsp ground allspice

1 tbsp sea salt

5g grated ginger

5g grated garlic

25ml (1 tbsp) molasses

100ml apple juice

100ml Mizkan Honteri Mirin-style

100ml soy sauce (Koikuchi or dark soy sauce)

Thin bamboo skewers

Small 100ml atomiser spray filled ¾ Honteri ¼ water

 

Pickled Apple

200ml water

200ml Osu apple vinegar

30g sugar

5g salt

4g

½ tsp Sichuan peppercorns whole

3 star anise

2 apples, Granny Smiths or tart apples

 

Sauce

5 or 6 roasted chicken carcasses,

3 roasted beef short ribs (or back ribs)

2 or 3 roasted red peppers

2 large red onions, roasted

2 whole roasted bulbs

50g grated ginger

10 dried shiitake mushrooms in water,

6 star anise

10 Sichuan peppercorns

100ml tamari soy sauce

100ml dark soy sauce

200ml Mizkan Honteri Mirin-style

200ml Shaoxing Chinese wine

50ml Chinkiang vinegar

5ltr chicken stock

Method

Pork

1. With a very sharp pointed tool (eg steel chopsticks or a thin skewer) pierce the top of the pork belly fat as many times as possible keeping the perforations as evenly and as tiny as possible. This will allow the fat underneath near the pork meat to rise through the holes to the top and make the skin extra crispy.

2. Now mix together the apple juice, vinegar, Honteri and treacle in a saucepan and bring to the heat adding the star anise, peppercorns, cinnamon, ground allspice, ginger, garlic and salt. Turn off the heat before the mix boils.

3. Now pour the hot mix into a small casserole tray. Season the underneath of the pork belly with salt/katsuobushi mix then place it into the tray with the apple juice-vinegar mix making sure the belly fat is facing up. Cover with wrap and leave for 24 hours, preferably 48.

4. After marinating turn the oven on at 130°C and bake covered with aluminium foil for 60 minutes, then turn the oven off completely for 60 minutes leaving the pork in the oven.

5. Remove the tray from the oven after the 60 minutes with the heat off then turn the oven back on to 190°C. Remove the foil lid from the dish/tray and place the uncovered pork into the oven to cook further and to crisp up the skin. This can take from 30 to 40 to 50 minutes depending on how fatty was your pork originally and how your oven air circulation is.

6. After 30 minutes have a look at the pork and keep tapping the skin to see if it has hardened. When crispy the pork should be bubbly and brown in the middle with blackened edges so remove it from the oven and let sit in the sauce while it cools down.

7. Lastly, when cooler, wrap the pork and place weights carefully on top (3-5kg should do it, such as a half used bag of rice or the like) to press for a minimum of 3 hours (maybe even overnight) and when pressed your pork should be half as wide and at least half as thin as when you first started cooking it. Now refrigerate to cool.

 

Sauce

1. First in a large saucepan add the chicken, beef bones and all the roasted veg, grated ginger, shiitake mushrooms and mushroom water, spices and chicken stock and bring to the boil. Simmer covered for an hour then remove the lid and add both the soy sauce, Honteri and Chinese wine and simmer gently uncovered for another hour.

2. Stir the contents to break them up a little and continue to simmer gently for another hour allowing to reduce, then add the vinegar and simmer gently for another 30 minutes.

3. Turn off the heat and let sit for 1 hour then pass to retain the liquid into a smaller saucepan. Taste the liquid and if you are happy with the balance decant to a container. If you want a bit more depth, gently simmer the liquid to reduce, tasting every 10 minutes until you are happy – remembering it has to be a tad saltier than a table sauce as you will be dipping a pork Yakitori stick into it to cook so it is a seasoning.

 

Apples

1. Mix together half the water (keep the other half cold) in a saucepan and bring to the heat adding the star anise, peppercorns, sugar and salt. Turn off when the sugar has dissolved and add the cold half of the water to cool.

2. Core the apples, cut them into equal squares (not less than ½ inch) then pour the pickling liquid over the apple slices and let them infuse for at least 60 minutes.

 

To Serve

1. Remove the pork from the fridge and trim the four sides to allow you to cut even squares (not less than ½ inch) and equal to that of the apples. Take the bamboo skewers and gently pierce 1 square of pork, then 1 apple cube, then another pork cube and put to one side and repeat (if you are using a Yakitori grill or flame remember to have soaked the sticks in water overnight to lessen the chance of the stick burning!)

2. Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat (if you don’t have a Yakitori grill!) and place 3 of the skewers in the pan without oil – do not overload. You need the pork to pick up a light smoky hint from dry frying to part emulate a Yakitori grill background (similar to Wok Chi) and using oil will simply fry the skewer.

3. Turn each skewer as they cook so all 4 sides have a turn face down in the pan. Now take 1 out and dip into or brush on some of your sauce and place it back in the pan. Repeat with the remainder turning so the Honteri in the sauce does not caramelise and burn.

4. Remove and plate, spraying with a fine mist of Honteri from the small atomiser to give extra shine and garnish with garnish of choice.

Ronald Laity

Ronald Laity is Mizkan’s Culinary Development Chef. A lifelong foodie, he has worked as a lobster fisherman, fishmonger, cheese maker and dairy hand, before finally falling in love with Japanese culture and cuisine, immersing himself in Japan for 6 years.  Since being back, Ron has contributed to the UK Japanese Culinary scene, whether at Yakitoria, Samurai Sushi, Senkai, Feng Sushi, Bincho Yakitori and United Ramen, before joining Mizkan.  Ron loves experimenting with authentic Japanese ingredients and developing new ways to bring those flavours to life.

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