[cooking] Slow cook pork ribs with soft cartilage with Dashi and soy sauce

Dashi is a kind of Japanese soup stock made with dried bonito flakes, konbu, dried mushrooms and dried anchovies.  I would say this is a must-have at your kitchen if you are planning to make various Japanese dishes like udon soup, miso soup or even to slow cook meat.

You can certainly make your own dashi or there are various kinds of dashi in concentrated liquid form and in dried dashi bags that you can purchase at Asian supermarket.

In this recipe, I’m using the dried dashi bags that I bought from Japan, but I think it is no difference than the concentrated liquid ones nor the powder form, well in terms of taste.  But if you’re wondering about the amount used, dashi is actually a very friendly cooking ingredient, you can just simply add less or more to adjust your own personal taste without having any risks to ruin your whole pot of meat.

Pork ribs with soft cartilage is a very popular meat dish in Hong Kong, soft cartilage are soft bones that can be chew and swallow, together with the meat it offers a soft and hard sensation in your mouth.  To cook pork ribs with soft cartilage requires quite a few hours, some people like to shorten the cooking time by using pressure cookers or Anova Precision Cooker but I often prefer to use my Le Creuset cast iron pot.

My method of slow cooking pork ribs with soft cartilage is a collaboration of Chinese and Japanese way of making.  Here I used dashi in dry pouches to slow cook, and added some herbs like anise and sweet soy sauce that are widely use in Chinese cooking to make this.

Take this and make your own pork ribs with soft cartilage udon soup too!

What you need:

1 bag of dry dashi (with something similar to this)
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
3 tbsp Japanese sake
1 cup water
1 sliced onion (about 300g)
5 sliced shallots
5 cloves of garlic
1 anise
1 kg pork ribs with soft cartilage
100g rock sugar

What you do:

1. Blanch the pork rib with soft cartilage and rinse with cold water, set aside
2. Sweat shallots, onions, garlic in medium high heat and add all the soy sauce and sake
3. Add pork ribs with soft cartilage, water, rock sugar, dashi bag and anise
4. When it boils, turn down to low medium heat and braise for about 2.5 hours
5. Check to see if the pork is tender, if not braise for a little bit more.  Keeping at low medium heat is important because slow cooking will help onions to release moisture and creates more juice and sauce for your pork.

p.s. If you are planning to freeze or keep any left overs, remove dashi bag.  To julienne onions and shallots takes less time for the vegetable to release moisture.