Longevity recipe: Buta no kakuni rafute fu (Okinawan-inspired braised pork)

One of the world’s seven Blue Zones, Okinawa fascinates longevity researchers, biohackers and alike who want to find the islanders’ secret recipe (pun intended) for longevity and health.

It perhaps surprises many of us that traditionally, Okinawans consume a high amount of pork, especially fatty bits like pork belly and libs. The key to making healthy dishes with these fatty parts is the elaborated cooking process, in which the meat is pre-cooked twice over a period of few hours, greatly reducing the amount of fat consumed in the final dish. The result is a mouth-meltingly tender meat with a chock-full of healthy collagen and no greasiness whatsoever.

You can use any good quality Japanese sake for this recipe. If you can get hold on the Okinawan sake awamori, it will make the tasty dish even closer to the authentic Okinawan taste experience.    

Servings: 6-8


C:a 1 kg chunk of fatty pork part in a single piece. The belly or ribs work best. Can be with bones

5 cm Ginger. Sliced into 5 mm slices

1/2 leek. Cut into 2 cm pieces

1 dl sake. To recreate even more authentic Okinawan taste, try authentic Okinawan awamori

 1 dl high quality organic soy sauce, like this one

3 Tbs honey

Vegetables to serve with the pork, such as tomatoes, lightly cocked broccoli, and green beans

Cooking steps:

  1. In a large pot, boil an amount of water that can completely cover the piece of the pork. When the water boils, add the pork. Boil for 3 minutes until the surface of the pork is cocked and changes its color to a whitish color. Turn off the stove. Carefully remove the pork from the water. You won’t need the water, and it can be discarded
  2. Pad off the pork with a kitchen paper to dry the surface on the meat 
  3. Heat a large frying pan on a high temperature. Add the pork to lightly burn the surface. This step is to make sure to encapsulate before the pork’s umami within the meat, before the consecutive cooking
  4. In another large pot, add the pork, the ginger, and the leek. Add water to cover the content completely. Heat the pot on a high temperature until the water boils. Reduce the heat to a medium and carefully remove all foams that can appear on the surface of the water. Reduce the heat to medium-low and set the lock to the pot. Cook for 2 hours
  5. Carefully remove the pork from the pot. You can also let the pot to completely cool down before removing the pork. Discard the water. Cut the pork into 6-8 smaller pieces.
  6. In a medium pot, add the pork and water so that it completely covers the pork. Add the sake. Heat on a high temperature. Again, remove any foam that can appear on the water surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Set the lock of the pot and cook for 20 minutes
  7. Add the soy sauce and the honey. Cook for another one hour, until the liquid is reduced to about the half of the original amount
  8. Serve with the vegetables.

    Bon Appetit!  

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