Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kau Yuk...Braised Pork Belly...Mmmmmm

Long.Time.Ago...we used to go to Patti's Chinese Kitchen at the Ala Moana Shopping Center for a plate lunch. My beautiful wife loved their fried rice and manapua (char siu bao). My son loved the char siu with tofu and could eat a whole order by, he was 4 years old at the time.

My favorite was kau yuk; red braised pork belly. Rich, luscious, fatty...mmmmmmm. Well, I just read recently in the Honolulu newspapers online that Patti's at Ala Moana is closing. Dwindling business, changing tastes, higher rents (and the new nearby Panda Express) all contributed to the owner's throwing in the towel after decades. A sad day.

Too many 'local' businesses, especially the local 'plate lunch' places are going out of business. Many started after World War II as a means of providing the American dream to many returning local servicemen and their wives. That generation is now past retirement age, and many of their kids are now doctors, lawyers and teachers and working 12 to 18 hours a day preparing food and making a very small profit are simply not attractive to the younger generation.

In fact, one owner said that she didn't want her kids to take over her business. "It's a hard life," she said. She and her husband had worked hard for years to provide the opportunities for a better life for her kids, and she just didn't want them to have to go through what she had. I decided to make kau yuk. I tried a 'traditional' recipe a few weeks ago and it came out garbage. More like kau yuk jerky. The pork belly was too thinly sliced, more like bacon. This time I got some nice thick slices.

I found a 'shortcut' recipe on a Hawaiian food recipe site and used it. The KEY ingredient is a package mix (OMG, am I turning in to Sandra Lee????? NOOOOOOOOO...).

NOH makes a line of packaged, powdered mixes for a variety of local (Hawaiian) dishes...from KimChee, to Korean Barbeque, to Adobo.

BTW, the picture shows some of the pork sliced and just before I poured the sauce over it.

"Quick" Kau Yuk

One package NOH Char Siu (Barbeque Pork) Mix
1 1/2 cup water
One large 'finger' of ginger sliced into 1/8 inch thick slices
Four green onions slice into 3-inch pieces
3 lbs pork belly

Mix the Char Siu mix with the water. Add the ginger slices.

Brown the pork belly in some peanut oil in a heavy pot, like a dutch oven. I cut the pork belly into 4-inch long pieces so it would cook quicker.

Remove the oil from the pot. Place the pork belly pieces in one layer in the pot. Pour the sauce/marinade over the pork belly pieces. Add the green onion pieces. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1.5 hours or until very tender.

Remove the pork from the pot. Degrease the sauce as there will be a LOT of fat rendered.

In the dutch oven or another pot, bring the degreased sauce to a boil and reduce until the sauce thickens and becomes syrup-like.

Slice the pork belly into 1/2-inch thick slices. Pour sauce over.

You will NEED to eat this with a LOT of steamed rice as the meat will be fatty and VERY rich. I could only eat three or four pieces. A nice steamed green vegetable, such as Chinese broccoli (choy sum?), goes nicely with this dish.

SPORTS: Sorry, but if I NEVER hear about Roger Clemens again in my life, I will be VERY, VERY happy. Arrrrgggghhhh...ENOUGH already.

NASCAR: Getting closer to the Daytona 500. Gatorade Duels are tomorrow, final practice is Friday and then the race on Sunday. Whooopeeee...can't wait. You heard it here first...with the new car and all the changes, my prediction (W.A.G.) is that someone unexpected will win the race. Hmmmmm...who could that be????

POLITICS: Hey, did you know that there's some election going on? Anybody interesting running? Hmmmm...maybe I should be more interested...NAH...

A hui hou...


imlanikai said...

I came upon your blog while doing a kau yuk research project. Why do people use so much sugar? If I experiment once a week with different recipes, I can die a slow and happy death. Our family is from Oahu but we live in the NY and CT area now. In 1979 we honeymooned in Honolulu for 6 weeks. Ate many meals at Patty's Chinese Kitchen. I was home in 2003 for my 50th. The object was to gain 1 pound per day. No problem!

I read your blog, so Happy Easter to you and your family.

Aloha from Connecticut


hawaiilaw said...

Noh sauce? Sounds like kau yuck. You have to make it the old way. Google kau yuk & use the pork belly, black soy, star anice, taro, 5 spice method. And dont forget to brown the skin before you steam it. This is a 2 day process, or an all day deal. Steam for 2 hrs. Serve on a bed of preserved cabbage, if you're a purist.