kruizing with kikukat

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ume Pork

What began as a simple question from Weezee turned into a lab experiment.  A few weeks ago, Weezee asked me how to make miso pork.  At that time, I had no clue what miso pork was.  According to Weezee & Kevo, there are places on Maui that offer this on a menu.  Then Andrea posted a link on fb for some bento site with instructions on how to make this.  I thought I had wrapped my brain around this when Weezee posted a picture of her miso pork.  It looked so different from the bento link.  I knew I HAD to do my own investigation.

The recipes for miso pork I came across seemed to be very similar to what I call "shoyu pork".  My experience with shoyu pork is limited, as it wasn't something Mom made very often.  In fact, I think I know it from something Grandma may have made.  In the process of poring through tons of cookbooks, I came across several recipes for ume spareribs.  With the exception of ume, the ingredients were very similar to what Weezee told me.  The recipes were all  basically the same, but a few of them had crock pot directions.  I decided this was where I would begin the lab work.

While "ume" was in the recipe title, I was disappointed to find that the only ume in the recipe was the ume juice.  Wanting to incorporate more ume into the recipe (I felt a little bit deceived by the recipe titles at that point), I removed the seeds from 3 ume and then forced the flesh through  garlic press.  I added this to the sauce and poured a little of it into the crock pot.  Then I added the boneless pork (shoulder/butt) and poured the remaining sauce over.  The pork took about 8 hours to cook.  Because I had something else to eat that night, I removed the pork from the sauce and placed it in a container in the refrigerator.  I poured the sauce into a different container and stuck that in the fridge as well.

Having the pork cold and out of the sauce made it easy to slice thinly.  I removed the hardened fat from the sauce (there wasn't too much because I had removed fat the day it was cooked by placing some of the liquid in a gravy separator) and heated the sauce. 

I'm sure some of you are thinking that ume pork is NOT the same as miso pork.  And, well, you might be right.  But after tasting the pork, it is very close to what I know as shoyu pork (like the one sold at Kawamoto's Okazuya in Hilo).  Until I get to Maui to actually eat the Maui Miso Pork, this recipe will have to suffice.  And to answer Weezee, yes, this recipe does have miso in it, so it could also be called Miso Pork.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
    4 lb boneless pork shoulder/butt

Sauce:  2 c brown sugar
             1 c catsup
             1/2 c shoyu
             1/2 c oyster sauce
             1 tbsp sesame seeds
             2 1/2 tbsp ume juice
             3 ume, seeds removed & forced through a 
                  garlic press or mashed
             2 cloves garlic, grated
             1 piece ginger, grated
             1/2 c miso

Mix sauce ingredient thoroughly.  Pour a layer of sauce in the bottom of a crock pot.  Place pork on sauce.  Add remainder of sauce, or as much will fit in crock pot.  Cook on low 8 hours.  Remove pork from sauce and chill in a covered container.  Chill sauce separately.  Remove hardened fat from sauce and boil in a saucepan until thick.  Slice pork thinly.  Heat in microwave or fry slices in pan.  Serve with sauce.

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