RECIPE: Japanese Crispy Pork with Black Garlic Paste Soba Noodle Soup


This soup is a labor of love. The steps to prep the soup need some fore-planning. The assembly is the easy part. You can make the marinated eggs and the pork a couple days ahead so that assembly is quicker.

What inspired this recipe was a pin we saw on a board dedicated to "black garlic". We have been reading about the magic of black garlic in some of our cookbooks, but couldn't figure out where to find some. Then, shopping at Trader Joe's one day, I saw some packaged black garlic in the "new products" section. So I quickly threw it in my shopping cart, ready to play.

We found back garlic to be mellow, sweet and nutty. It adds a whole layer of complexity to a dish. We made it into a paste to play a starring role in this soba noodle soup. You will have some left over pork, great for sandwiches later in the week, or another noodle stir fry or soup.

Japanese Crispy Pork with Black Garlic Paste Soba Noodle Soup

(Crispy Pork, Black garlic paste, Ajitsuke Tamago, Japanese mushrooms, scallions and soba noodle soup)
Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

Ajitsuke Tamago
Japanese Marinated Soft Boiled Egg
1 cup water
1 cup sake
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup sugar
6-8 eggs


Slow cooked pork
3 lbs boneless pork butt shoulder
3 Tbsp memi
1 tsp dried lemongrass 
1 Tbsp Seto Fumi Furikake rice seasoning (seaweed sesame rice seasoning)
1 Tbsp dried orange peel or 2 tbsp fresh orange peel minced
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8-1/4 tsp Shichimi Togarashi
3/4 cup onion chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 medium carrot chopped

Rehydrated Mushrooms
3oz Dried mushroom mix (Shiitake, Oyster, Woodear,  etc - you can use fresh if you wish but double the ounces)

Black garlic paste
8-10 fermented black garlic cloves
3 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar

Soup base
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 med onion, sliced
2 Large carrots, sliced
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup sake
6 cups water
3 Tbsp Memi
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce

4 scallions, chopped
12-16 oz soba noodles



Ajitsuke Tamago Directions:
Combine water, sake, miring, sugar and soy in a bowl and whisk until combined. Pierce the end of 6 eggs with a thumb tack. Add eggs to a medium sized sauce pan and add enough water to cover eggs by an inch. Bring water just to a boil and remove from heat. Let sit for 7 minutes. Pour off hot water and add cold water to cool eggs. When eggs are cooled, peel shells.

Add eggs to a bowl and cover with sake mixture. Place a couple paper towels on top to soak up liquid and weight the eggs down under liquid. Refrigerate for 4 - 24 hours. Can be stored 3-4 days.

Slow Cooked Pork Directions:
Place pork in slow cooker and add all pork ingredients. Cook on High for the first hour then lower to Low and cook for 7 hour (7-8 total)
Remove pork from slow cooker and set on a cutting board. Shred the pork and remove any fatty pieces. Set aside.
Strain leftover juice through a fine mess sieve. Discard vegetables in sieve. Skim pork fat off top of liquid and add 1-2 Tbsp to saute pan. Just before soup is done cooking you can fry the pork until crispy. (optional, It is good either way)

While pork is cooking, rehydrate mushrooms by pouring hot water over to cover. Let sit for 30 minutes to 7 hours.

Black garlic paste Directions:
In a saute pan toast sesame seeds til lightly browned. In a mortar and pestle,  grind sesame seeds. Add them to a blender. Add 8-10 black garlic cloves, 3 Tbsp canola oil, 2 Tbsp sesame oil and sugar. Pulse, scrapping the sides, til smooth soft paste forms.
You will add to soup later.

Soup Base Directions:
In a large Stock pot add oils and heat over medium high heat. Saute onion, celery, carrot and garlic until onions are translucent about 7 minutes. Deglaze pan with sake and cook 2 minutes. Add water, memi and fish sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Add black garlic paste, chopped rehydrated mushrooms, approx 1 cup of the water from the rehydrated mushrooms and cook for 30 minutes. Remove foam from top as soup cooks.

At this point you can boil soba noodles in a separate large pot according to directions and drain.

Assembly:
In a wide lip bowl add sliced in half Ajitsuke Tamago egg, small portion of soba noodle, shredded pork and ladle the soup with vegetables over bowl ingredients.Top with some chopped green onion.


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