As I mentioned, the new gourmet grocery store that recently opened near us has a much nicer meat section. To my delight, they had pork belly. I just had to try making this dish again with genuine pork belly. I have posted two previous attempts using salt pork and pork spare ribs. The pork spare rib version was better than the salt pork but finally I can try the "real McCoy" using pork belly.Atsushi Tsuchiya. I cut slightly more that one pound of pork belly (474 grams as seen below upper left) into 2 inch blocks. You can see how fatty the front portion of the belly meat is (below image upper right). I marinated it in soy sauce (4 tbs) (Image below lower left) for 10 minutes at room temperature. I then browned all sides of the pork in a sauce pan starting from the fatty side. I removed the meat and blotted the excess fat from the pan. I then put the meat and the remaining soy sauce from the marinade into the pan and turned the meat over to coat several times on medium low flame. I added sugar (20 grams) and sake (200 ml). After it simmered for 2-3 minutes and the alcohol evaporated, I added enough water to cover (about 200 ml) and covered the meat with hydrated kelp. I put a Piggy drop lid (otoshi buta) on the pan along with a regular lid (askew) and simmered it for 1 hour (below image lower right). I added more water as the liquid evaporated. I turned the meat over and simmered 2 more hours.
We tasted a little at this point--it was mighty good. I let it cool down to room temperature and then put it into the refrigerator. The next day, I removed the congealed fat from the surface and reheated.