My father was 52 when my brother was born. He had lived as a bachelor for most of his life, and his cooking repertoire was pretty much limited to poached eggs in chicken broth and fried hot dogs.
This dish is almost as delectable as its prerequisite dish, fresh roast pork. The first time he made it for me, I was blown away at how he finally cooked something better than my mom. If you don’t have any taro on hand, you can substitute potato and you’ll still thank me for sharing this recipe.
Roast Pork with Taro
Courtesy Malia Ogoshi
1 medium taro
1/2 pound Chinese roast pork
1/4 cup water
3 stalks green onion
Place taro in a pot with water to cover. Bring water to boil and simmer until taro can be pierced at center with a skewer. Drain and peel while still warm. Dice into 1-by-1-inch cubes.
Dice roast pork into bite-size pieces. Heat a pot and cook pork over medium heat until fat is rendered and pork starts to brown.
Add taro; stir. After 10 minutes, add water and cover. Cook another 10 minutes on medium-low heat.
Cut onions into 3/4-inch pieces. Stir into pork and taro and serve. Serves 4.
Note: Substitutions are 2 medium potatoes for the taro and kalua pig or smoked meat for the roast pork.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 260 calories, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 800 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 12 g protein
To make these wrapped pork morsels, it’s ideal to use konbu maki konbu (seaweed), which is thick and wide and thus best suited to wrapping around meat. It’s sold at Shirokiya and Marukai (this market requires a membership). But if you can’t find konbu maki konbu, use nishime konbu and wrap the pork an extra time around to make up for the difference in thickness. Whichever you use, hydrate the konbu first to assess the width of the seaweed, then cut pork pieces to the corresponding length.
Courtesy Ethel Oshiro
4 packages konbu maki konbu (seaweed), or 6 to 8 packages nishime konbu
3 packages kanpyo (gourd)
3 pounds pork shoulder or pork butt
3-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3 cups water
1 packet dashi-no-moto
2 cups low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
Soak konbu in large bowl of water to hydrate. If necessary, massage konbu to flatten out. Soak kanpyo in a separate bowl to hydrate. Do not oversoak; 10 minutes or so is good. Drain water and squeeze out excess from kanpyo, then lay on paper towel to drain further.
Note the width of the konbu, and slice pork into 1/2-inch thick pieces the same length.
To wrap, place a strip of konbu on a plate or cutting board. Place a piece of pork on one end of the konbu, then wrap pork 2 to 4 times with konbu, depending on thickness. Slice off bundle from konbu strip with paring knife. Take a string of kanpyo, wrap it 2 times around bundle, tie a knot and cut off excess. Place bundle in large pot. Repeat, wrapping pork pieces with strips of konbu and strings of kanpyo until all pork is used. Line up each bundle nicely in pot. Scatter ginger atop each layer of bundles.
Fill pot with water to cover, then bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix water and dashi-no-moto. Combine mixture with soy sauce and brown sugar.
When pot is finished simmering, drain water carefully (a turkey baster comes in handy for this). Put pot back on burner and refill with dashi-soy mixture. Bring back to boil and simmer another 20 to 30 minutes, depending on thickness of konbu (don’t let it get mushy). Taste sauce and adjust as necessary. Serves 8 to 10.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving (based on 10 servings): 470 calories, 28 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, greater than 2,500 mg sodium, 52 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 21 g sugar, 28 g protein