Recipe courtesy of Purgatory

Pork Belly Nigiri

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 2 days 8 hr (includes pickling and chilling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 20 servings
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Marinated Pork Belly:

One 10-pound slab pork belly, cut into 3- to 4-inch pieces

3 cloves garlic, smashed 

Tare (Marinade):

8 cups soy sauce

4 cups mirin 

1/2 cup sugar 

1/4 cup dark soy sauce 

Eel Sauce:

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup sugar 

1/2 cup mirin 

2 tablespoons roughly sliced fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, smashed 

1 yellow onion, roughly chopped 


2 cups cooked short-grain rice

1 piece sushi nori, cut into 1-inch strips 

1/4 cup Pickled Mustard Seeds, recipe follows

1 green onion, sliced thin 

1 bunch fresh chives, chopped thin 

1 leek, julienned thin 

Chile oil (rayu), for drizzling 

Pickled Mustard Seeds:

2 cups rice vinegar

1 cup mustard seeds


Special equipment:
a kitchen torch
  1. For the marinated pork belly: Put the pork belly, garlic and enough cold water to cover by 2 inches in a pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Turn it down to simmer and cover three-quarters of the way so a little steam escapes. Cook for 90 minutes, then take off the stove. Strain the liquid from the pork belly and reserve the pork belly in the pot.
  2. For the tare: Put soy sauce, mirin, sugar, dark soy sauce and 4 cups water in a pot and bring it to a soft boil over high heat, stirring. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Pour tare over the pork belly and make sure it completely covers or submerges the pork belly (weigh it down with a plate if necessary). Leave the pork belly in the tare, turning occasionally, for 1 hour at room temperature. Remove the pork belly from the tare to a sheet pan or a plate and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
  4. For the eel sauce: Combine soy sauce, sugar, mirin, ginger, garlic, onion and 1/2 cup water in a pot over high heat, stirring. Right before it starts to boil, turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, stirring every 30 minutes or so, until it reduces by about half, about 2 hours. Strain the liquid from the veggies and aromatics and cool for about 1 hour in the fridge.
  5. For the nigiri: Make an oval ball of rice about 2-by-1-inch. Slice the marinated pork belly 1/3-inch thick. Put a slice of pork belly on top of the rice and gently mold them together so they lightly stick. Wrap a strip of nori around the rice and the pork belly to secure them together. Put on a heat-resistant plate and gently pour about 2 teaspoons eel sauce on top of the pork belly. Use a kitchen torch to heat the pork belly until the eel sauce caramelizes. Top with Pickled Mustard Seeds, green onions, chives and leeks, and finish with a drizzle of chile oil. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Pickled Mustard Seeds:

Yield: 8 servings
  1. Stir together the vinegar, mustard seeds and 1 cup water. Let the seeds absorb the liquid, refrigerated in an airtight container, 2 days.