For years now, we have been ordering Buta No Kakuni (braised pork belly) at Azuma in Gardena (CA), and it is crazy good. Recently, after acquiring a slow cooker, and hearing of my daughter's success at making this herself, I decided to have a go at it.
2 pieces (3/4 lb. each) pork belly (the skin was already removed from this, but the layer of fat is intact, as it should be. This is what bacon is cut from) (Each piece cost approx. $6. They shrunk in the cooking)
a few coins of ginger
1/2 cup sake
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup mirin
a few slices of daikon (optional)
Combine the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and heat. I added 1 cup of water, but 1 and a half cups would probably work better. Put pork, fat side down. (not fried or anything else) in the slow cooker (3 qt. size) and pour the sauce over. Cook on low for a long time.
How long a time? Well, I cooked mine overnight, for 12 hours, and then I let it sit at room temperature during the day, and then reheated it on low for another hour. My thought was "The longer the better." This may not be true. The fat was succulent and melty, as it should be, but the lean meat was a bit dry, so maybe I overcooked it. Next time, I will stop after 8 hours and see how that works.
And there will be a next time!
I served this with mustard paste, as in the restaurant, but I did the spinach separately, oshitashu style, and served it in a separate bowl.
All in all, it was delicious. but Azuma's is still the best, perfection on earth.