What's Cooking: Sliced Braised Okinawan Pork - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

July 26, 2017

What's Cooking: Sliced Braised Okinawan Pork

Cooking Local Okinawan Favorites

Rafute is one of the most widely recognized and lovedOkinawan dishes. Pork belly or pork shoulder are the 2 main cuts of pork thatare used to make this dish. The pork belly is the best cut of pork to use forthis dish. The layers of fat and meat create a very tender and moist rafutewith the skin of the belly retaining the dark rich color of the braising liquidand adding its eye appeal. Pork shoulder is commonly used in modern times as itis meatier with less fat than the belly and can be easily found in localmarkets fresh or frozen. The only downfall to the rafute made with the porkshoulder is that the shoulder does not have any skin on it and will have ashiny surface like the skin of the pork belly.

When making rafute, the pork belly or shoulder isfirst cut into logs and then boiled in water to remove excess fat. The fat wasthen collected and allowed to solidify and used as cooking oil. The semi tenderlogs of pork where then sliced and simmered in shoyu, sugar, awamori or sake, andginger until the reduced braising liquid glazes the surface of the sliced pork.This was not only a means to flavor the slices but a way to help preserve thepork slices in the days prior to refrigeration.

The thickened braising liquid from the rafute was thenused to flavor other dishes like champuru or diluted with water or dashi, andthen used to braise fish collars(kama) or split fish heads or even tuna eyes.The term for this style of braising fish was nitsuke. 


Rafute(Okinawan Braised Pork Belly)

Yield: 8 portions


3#s pork belly

½ gallon water

1 clove garlic crushed

1 pc sliced ginger ¼" thick

2cups dashi or pork stock

1 cup sake

¼ cup shoyu

¼ cup sugar

2T miso

1)    Place the pork belly in a large potand add in the water, if the water is not enough to cover the whole piece ofpork belly, add in more until the pork belly is completely covered, turn theheat to high and boil for 40 minutes with a lid or cover with foil to make surethe liquid does not evaporate too quickly

2)   Remove the pork belly from the potand set aside to cool, the remaining liquid(pork stock) can be used in place ofdashi to make the finished dish as long asthe fat is removed from the stock

3)   Once the pork belly has cooled enoughto handle, slice the pork belly into ½" thick slices

4)   Place the dashi, sake, shoyu, miso,and sugar in a large sauté pan or shallow brazier and quickly bring to a boilmaking sure the sugar is dissolved completely, reduce to a simmer and add inthe sliced pork belly in neat even rows and simmer until the liquid reduces by¾ (about another 30 minutes), serve the slices of rafute without the remainingsauce in the pan as the pork should be highly flavored from the long simmeringprocess


Andagi(Okinawan Doughnut)

Yield: 35-40 pcs


4 cups flour

½ tsp salt

1 ¾ cups granulated sugar

2T baking powder

4 eggs

1cup milk

1tsp vanilla extract

1)   Combine the all of the dryingredients and wet ingredients separately, making sure each is mixed well

2)   Add the wet ingredients into the dryingredients and mix by hand until the batter forms a lumpless thick texture andchill for 1 hour before frying(batter can be chilled for up to 3 days beforefrying)

3)   Heat about 4 inches vegetable oil to350 degrees F and carefully drop about 3T of batter by hand into the oil andcook until golden brown on all sides



Goya Champuru(Bitter Melon Stir Fry)

Yield: 4 portions


2T salad oil

1pc bitter melon(cut in halflengthwise and seed scooped out)

1tsp salt

1block firm tofu

½# thinly sliced pork

1T shoyu

1T sake


TT salt

TT pepper

1)    Thinly slice the bitter melon intohalf moon shaped pieces and place in a bowl, sprinkle on the salt and tossuntil liquid begins to leech from the bitter melon and set aside for 10 minutes

2)    Rinse the bitter melon in ice water,drain, and set aside to dry

3)    Heat a wok or medium sized sauté panon high and add in the oil, when the oil lightly smokes, add in the pork andquickly sauté until the pork is half cooked and then add in the sliced bittermelon and stir well

4)    Take a small spoon and scoop piecesof tofu from the block into the pan, add in the sake and shoyu and stir wellmaking sure to keep the tofu intact as much as possible

5)    Add in the beaten eggs and stir welluntil cooked, season with salt and pepper if needed, serve hot


Yield: 2 portions


1pkg yakisoba noodles

2oz thinly sliced spam

3T yakisoba sauce(bulldog brand isbest) or

1tsp shoyu + 1tsp honey = 1tsp redmiso

1cup batonnet cabbage

½ green bell pepper cut into batonnet

1)   Heat a non stick pan on high and addin the spam with a little oil and sauté until the spam is slightly crispy

2)   Remove the extra oil if desired andadd in the noodles and stir until the noodles are slightly crispy and add inthe yakisoba sauce, stir well and reduce the heat to low

3)   Add in the cabbage and bell pepperand cook just until the vegetables are slightly soft and serve hot


Okinawan Nantu(mochi)

Yield: 6 portions


2 cups mochiko powder

1 ¼ cups water

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

1tsp of your favorite food color

1tsp of your favorite flavoring(ex.Coconut extract)

1)   Place the michiko powder and water ina bowl and mix well

2)   Pour the mixture into a steamer panlined with moist cheesecloth and steam for 40 minutes

3)   Place the sugar and water in a smallsauce pot and stir well to dissolve the sugar and heat on low until a syrupforms

4)   Add in your favorite flavoring orcoloring and set aside

5)   Place the steamed nantu in a bowl andadd in the syrup and mix well until combined and place in a pan and allow tocool for 8-24  hours

6)   Cut the nantu into bite sized piecesand coat with either potato starch(katakuriko) or roasted soy beanflour(kinako)

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