Steamed Pork with Ponzu Dressing
Ms. Shimbo says that the daikon has enzymes which keep the pork tender and juicy. This food is familiar and exotic at the same time; it would be a nice meal to serve to guests who don’t usually eat Japanese. I think it will also be a great “planned leftover” dinner. At least I hope so—I fell asleep for the night before the pork was finished so Mr. Tess served himself, took a photo of his plate, and ate by himself. He said the ponzu sauce was just right with the pork.
Edited to note that the meal was great.
Have a steamer over plenty of boiling water over high heat.
Cooking the pork:
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin, trimmed of excess fat (or tenderloin)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 naganegi (Japanese long onion) (or 3 green onions), green part only
- 2 cups grated daikon
- 1/3 cup sake
Cut the pork tenderloin into 2 pieces to fit the steamer basket. Because I used a loin, the meat was thicker and shorter, so no cutting was needed. Rub the meat with salt and pepper; let it sit for 10 minutes. Into a heat-proof dish that can fit in the steamer, spread half the long onion and 1/3 of the grated daikon. Place the pork on top, and pour the sake over the meat. Scatter the remaining onion and daikon over the meat. Cook in the steamer, over high heat, for 45 to 50 minutes.
Remove dish from the steamer, and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Note: Because I used a pyrex bowl to cook the pork, it is too tall to fit into the steamer with its regular cover. I used a second steamer basket placed upside down over the first basket, then put the steamer lid over that.
In a bowl of lukewarm water, rinse the pork to remove the daikon. Dry the pork and set aside, covered to keep warm.
Vegetables to Accompany:
In a bowl, toss the onion slices with the buckwheat flour. In a wok or skillet, heat 1″ of oil. Cook the onion slices in batches until they are golden. Drain on paper towels.
- 2 cups shredded head cabbage, or lettuce (I used the tender leaves of Chinese cabbage, no stems)
- 1 carrot, julienned in 2″ lengths
- 1 Japanese cucumber, julienned in 2″ lengths
- (1/2 green bell pepper, julienned in 2″ lengths—did not use)
- 1/2 red bell pepper, julienned in 2″ lengths (I roasted and removed the tough skin of a lovely sweet long red pepper)
Cut the pork into thin slices, a little less than 1/4″ thick. Serve the pork with the raw vegetables alongside, the fried onions on top, and ponzu dressing, for dipping the meat, in a saucer.
1/2 cup dressing
Ponzu is made with yuzu, a kind of citron. Ms. Shimbo says yuzu tastes like a mixture of lemon, lime, and grapefruit. I found yuzu only once and it was expensive and did not look the picture of health; I’ve often found bottled yuzu juice, and it is expensive, though I think it tastes good.
Ponzo is good on grilled, pan-fried, or deep-fried fish, meat, or vegetables.
- 3 Tablespoons komezu (rice vinegar)
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons mirin (sweet cooking wine)
- 2 Tablespoons yuzu citron juice
- 5 Tablespoons shoyu
- 6 Tablespoons dashi
In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients, and bring them to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat, and let mixture cool. Store in fridge, covered, for up to 1 week.