Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork

Japanese food is one of my favorite Asian cuisines, and their ever popular Sizzling Ginger Pork (Shogayaki) dish, going on the back of the famous Japanese pork cutlet (Tonkatsu), is one of my special favorites due to its simple to prepare recipe. Besides making a quick and delicious mains, it is also great for lunch boxes.

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork

In this simple to prepare dish, you will slice the pork into long strips and marinate them in a mixture of ginger, mirin, sake and soy sauce, then stir fry and pour the sauce over. Sizzling Ginger Pork produces crispy, rich flavored pork strips that team wonderfully with rice.

Unlike Japanese pork cutlet, which is an exotic dish to Japan, and inspired this dish, Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork is regarded as native Japanese cuisine. In the late 1940s, after the war was over and Japan was under the direct administration of the Supreme Command of the Allied Forces in Japan (precisely, MacArthur himself), recovery of the economy was slow.

The outbreak of the Korean War and the subsequent procurement and transportation of large quantities of military supplies helped Japan’s economy take off.

Almost overnight, small and large restaurants alike experienced a new shot of customers. In Ginza, the upmarket shopping precinct of Tokyo, there was a bistro called the “money-shaped” bistro, which to cope with its new and steady stream of diners, invented a new dish. The pork was marinated and then quickly stir fried and served on a hot griddle plate, accompanied with onions, etc. To combat the strong flavor of pork a lot of ginger was added to the sauce, giving it a particularly good flavor.

As this dish increased in popularity, variations arose with the addition of garlic and red pepper in the sauce, which is called “Nanban roast pork.” Other, more unconventional additions to ginger pork, are apples and honey. Some cooks add papaya as they claim the papaya enzymes tenderize the pork, however, in my opinion, heat is the most crucial factor determining the tenderness of the pork.

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork

However, the original recipe for Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork has always been the most popular, and so that is what I will introduce to you today. Once you get a handle on the basic recipe, let your imagination go wild with trying the addition of other ingredients.

List of ingredients (2 servings):

  • 300 g peeled pork belly
  • 20 g ginger
  • 40 ml Japanese sake
  • 40 ml mirin. Mirin is a Japanese liqueur with as much as 40-50% sugar, and is now mostly used for cooking.
  • 20 g sugar
  • 40 g Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons grape seed oil
  • 4 cabbage leaves
  • 4 cherry tomatoes

Here’s what you do:

Step 1

You will need to cut the piece of pork belly into about 3mm thick slices. Pork fat is quite flexible and can be difficult to cut, so it’s a good idea to freeze the pork for about 12 hours, thaw in the microwave for one minute and slice it while it is still hard. In general, the larger the piece, the more difficult it is to cut; 10 cm is probably the maximum you could handle with your ordinary kitchen knives. Of course, people are not machines, so if you end up with slightly thicker slices, it won’t affect the outcome; it will be just as delicious.

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork Step1

Step 2

The pork slices should be thoroughly thawed to room temperature before you marinate them, so set them aside while you prepare the vegetables to serve with the cooked pork.

Wash the cabbage leaves, slice very finely, and dip them in ice water. Drain and put aside. Wash the cherry tomatoes and cut them in half.

Then prepare the marinade, take a bowl, and finely grate the peeled ginger into it. You can use a cheese grater or a dedicated ginger grater.

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork Step2

Step 3

To the ginger, add the Japanese sake, mirin, sugar, and soy sauce, and stir well to combine.

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork Step3

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork Step5

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork Step6

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork Step7

Step 4

Put the fully thawed pork strips into the large bowl of marinade and mix with your hands to coat the meat thoroughly.

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork Step8

Mix gently by placing your hand right at the bottom of the bowl under the meat and let the pieces fall back into the marinade. Do not force stirring, or the strips will become tangled and won’t absorb the marinade properly. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork Step9

Step 5

After 30 minutes, remove the pieces of meat and strain the excess marinade off through a strainer. Let the strainer stand over the bowl for 10 minutes or so, to completely drain.

This step is very crucial, and should not be omitted. If the pork is too wet, it will lower the temperature of the pan and will stew rather than fry.

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork Step10

Step 6

While the pork is draining, dry fry the white sesame seeds in a small pot on medium. Although these sesame seeds are mostly for decoration, you will be glad you made the effort for this step as fried sesame seeds taste so much better than raw ones.

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork Step11

Step 7

After the pork has drained, take a flat bottomed 24 cm diameter non-stick pan, and preheat it for 90 seconds. Put the meat into the pan, and quickly stir and separate the pork strips with chopsticks so that they cook evenly. Because the pan is fully warmed up, and the excess liquid is drained from the meat, the sautéed pieces should not ooze much liquid.

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork Step12

Step 8

Continue to stir until the meat changes color and begins to curl. Curling occurs due to the muscle fibers shrinking when they are heated.

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork Step13

Step 9

Take the fried meat out of the pan and pour the remaining marinade in. Cook the marinade liquid until it bubbles and reduces to make the sauce.

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork Step14

Step 10

Put the fried pork back into the pan, and quickly stir fry until the juices reduce and concentrate, coating the meat. At this point, our Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork is done. Toss some sesame seeds over the top for decoration and serve immediately with Japanese rice, crispy cabbage salad, and cherry tomatoes.

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork Step15

Cooking Tips:

  1. It is important to let the marinade drain completely from the meat before cooking it. High heat frying locks in the flavor, but if the meat is wet, it will lower the temperature of the pan and cause the meat to stew. Stewing means the meat will lose flavor along with the liquid.
  2. I have tried a few different cuts of pork for this dish and found that pork belly works the best for both flavor and cooking results.

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork

Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork

Japanese food is one of my favorite Asian cuisines, and their ever popular Sizzling Ginger Pork (Shogayaki) dish, going on the back of the famous Japanese pork cutlet (Tonkatsu), is one of my special favorites due to its simple to prepare recipe. Besides making a quick and delicious mains, it is also great for lunch boxes.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 300 g peeled pork belly
  • 20 g ginger
  • 40 ml Japanese sake
  • 40 ml mirin. Mirin is a Japanese liqueur with as much as 40-50% sugar and is now mostly used for cooking.
  • 20 g sugar
  • 40 g Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons grape seed oil
  • 4 cabbage leaves
  • 4 cherry tomatoes

Instructions

  • You will need to cut the piece of pork belly into about 3mm thick slices. Pork fat is quite flexible and can be difficult to cut, so it’s a good idea to freeze the pork for about 12 hours, thaw in the microwave for one minute and slice it while it is still hard. In general, the larger the piece, the more difficult it is to cut; 10 cm is probably the maximum you could handle with your ordinary kitchen knives. Of course, people are not machines, so if you end up with slightly thicker slices, it won’t affect the outcome; it will be just as delicious.
  • The pork slices should be thoroughly thawed to room temperature before you marinate them, so set them aside while you prepare the vegetables to serve with the cooked pork.Wash the cabbage leaves, slice very finely, and dip them in ice water. Drain and put aside. Wash the cherry tomatoes and cut them in half.Then prepare the marinade, take a bowl, and finely grate the peeled ginger into it. You can use a cheese grater or a dedicated ginger grater.
  • To the ginger, add the Japanese sake, mirin, sugar, and soy sauce, and stir well to combine.
  • Put the fully thawed pork strips into the large bowl of marinade and mix with your hands to coat the meat thoroughly.Mix gently by placing your hand right at the bottom of the bowl under the meat and let the pieces fall back into the marinade. Do not force stirring, or the strips will become tangled and won’t absorb the marinade properly. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the pieces of meat and strain the excess marinade off through a strainer. Let the strainer stand over the bowl for 10 minutes or so, to completely drain.This step is very crucial, and should not be omitted. If the pork is too wet, it will lower the temperature of the pan and will stew rather than fry.
  • While the pork is draining, dry fry the white sesame seeds in a small pot on medium. Although these sesame seeds are mostly for decoration, you will be glad you made the effort for this step as fried sesame seeds taste so much better than raw ones.
  • After the pork has drained, take a flat bottomed 24 cm diameter non-stick pan, and preheat it for 90 seconds. Put the meat into the pan, and quickly stir and separate the pork strips with chopsticks so that they cook evenly. Because the pan is fully warmed up, and the excess liquid is drained from the meat, the sautéed pieces should not ooze much liquid.
  • Continue to stir until the meat changes color and begins to curl. Curling occurs due to the muscle fibers shrinking when they are heated.
  • Take the fried meat out of the pan and pour the remaining marinade in. Cook the marinade liquid until it bubbles and reduces to make the sauce.
  • Put the fried pork back into the pan, and quickly stir fry until the juices reduce and concentrate, coating the meat. At this point, our Japanese Sizzling Ginger Pork is done. Toss some sesame seeds over the top for decoration and serve immediately with Japanese rice, crispy cabbage salad, and cherry tomatoes.
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