These sweet and succulent grilled pork belly skewers sit on a mashed potato salad enhanced with umami packed katsuobushi (bonito flakes), roasted garlic, and spring onions.
While certainly not a Japanese dish, this grilled pork belly and potato salad dish does draw on a number of Japanese influences. It would be at home at an izakaya, an institution in Japan involving drinking and eating Japanese tapas style dishes. This book has a great selection of dishes typically served at an izakaya.
One of the bigger decision points when preparing this is whether or not to remove the skin from the pork belly. If you love slightly chewy pork skin, keep it on, though you will really need some sharp tipped skewers. If not, remove the skin. It makes it much easier to thread the pork belly on to the skewers, and is of course less chewy to eat. A personal choice.
If you do crave some tasty pork crackling, then give this crispy pork belly and kimchi consomme dish a try. A very different experience to these grilled pork belly skewers, but a dish not to be missed.
Use starchy as opposed to waxy potatoes for the mashed potato salad. I use Yukon Golds, which offer a good balance between starchy and waxy. You want the potatoes to be quite dry and fluffy after being squeezed through the potato ricer.
The term fusion has gone out of favour, and rightly so. So many national cuisines are already a fusion of influences over centuries. I like to think of this grilled pork belly skewers dish as an international dish. It incorporates complementary ingredients and flavours from around the world.
Pork belly skewers on mashed potato salad
- 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely grated
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp mirin
- 2 Tbsp liquid honey
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
Pork belly skewers
- 1 pack wooden kebab skewers
- 600 g pork belly
- 16 shallots, peeled more or less depending on the depth of the pork belly
- smoke essence optional, especially if you are using a bbq
Mashed potato salad
- 4 large potatoes Yukon Golds preferred
- 4 spring onions, finely diced
- 1 head roasted garlic
- 1 Tbsp finely diced truffle Alternatively, very finely dice 4 fresh shiitake mushrooms and sauté until moisture is evaporated and they start to brown
- 1 cup shaved bonito flakes aka katsuobushi
Marinate the pork belly
- Combine all the marinade ingredients.
- Cut the pork belly into appropriately 15 mm square sized pieces. If you do not look forward to savoring the chewy pork skin, then remove it now.
- Add the pork belly and marinade to a zip-lock bag and marinate overnight. Move the bag occasionally to circulate the marinade.
- Follow the instructions here.
Mashed potato salad
- Preheat to oven to 200 degC.
- Clean the potatoes, keeping the skin on.
- Put the potatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake the potatoes in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until cooked right through.
- Allow to cool, halve the potatoes, then scoop out the potato flesh. Discard to skins or use in this roasted potato skin salad.
- Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from the roast head of garlic.
- Use a potato ricer to mash the potato flesh. This is critical, as it creates fluffy aerated mashed potatoes.
- Fold in the finely diced spring onions, roast garlic, and 3/4 of the shaved bonito (reserving a 1/4 for garnish).
Pork belly skewers
- Drain the marinade from the pork belly pieces and discard.
- Thread the pork belly pieces and shallots on to the skewers: pork belly, shallot, pork belly (shallot, pork belly). Note that if you have not already removed the pork skin, you will need some sharp tipped skewers.
- Brush or spray the smoke essence on to the pork belly skewers.
- Bring the grill or broiler to a high heat and grill or broil the skewers until starting to char.
- Plate some potato salad, sprinkle with some of the reserved shaved bonito, and top with grilled pork belly skewers.