Bitter Melon and Pork Belly Simmered in Ume Sauce
Bitter melon is a specialty of Okinawa. Marinating and simmering with umeboshi reduces the bitterness.
Photographed by Takeshi Noguchi
Calorie count is for full recipe.
Excludes time needed to refrigerate.
- 500 g pork belly (chunk)
- 1 bitter melon (large) (300 g)Note
Gourd with a distinctive bitterness. It is about 10-30 cm long and thin, with bumpy skin.
- 1/2 bunch mitsuba
- 3-4 umeboshi (pitted) (salt content 12%)
- 80 ml sake
- 50 ml soy sauce
- A dash of sesame oil
- 1/3 tsp salt
Cut the pork in half lengthwise. Cut the bitter melon in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and white pith. Cut into pieces 4 cm wide.
Put the pork in a tray and cover with the [Marinade]. Tear the umeboshi into small pieces and rub into the pork. Add the bitter melon and coat with the [Marinade]. Marinate overnight in the fridge.
The marinated pork will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Heat a dash of sesame oil in a pot placed over medium heat. Remove the pork from the [Marinade] and lightly drain. Place in the pot and brown all sides. Retain the [Marinade].
Add the bitter melon and [Marinade] to the pot. Add enough water to allow the ingredients to be almost entirely covered in liquid. Remove the surface scum as you bring the pot to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add 1/3 tsp of salt and cover. Simmer for about an hour, turning occasionally until the liquid has been reduced by one third.
Cut the pork into easy-to-eat pieces and plate up with the bitter melon. Garnish with chopped mitsuba.
Place in a food storage container. Will keep in the fridge for three days.