I prepared smoked pork collar yesterday in advance for my husband’s and son’s bentos today. Marinated a big slab of meat for half a day before I smoked it in the oven for several hours to tenderise the meat. We often use pork collar to make Char Siew in Chinese cuisine since the tendons around the collar make the meat juicy and moist when cooked.
Complemented the main dish with a new book bento makie, Sharaku, I purchased directly from Japan. It has a lovely painting of a Kabuki actor on the cover, nice size too especially the depth of the bento allows me to prepare a decent food quantity for my hubby who has bigger appetite. Nice lacquer finish, LOVE IT!
Plat du Jour:
Smoked Pork Collar (size sufficient to serve 4 adults)
Marinate: 5 cloves of garlic, 3 fresh coriander roots, 1 knob ginger, 8-10 white peppercorns, 1/2 tablespoon worcestershire sauce 3-4 tablespoons of BBQ sauce (I used korean bbq sauce used for grilling meat, more umami), 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 3 tablespoons of tomato paste.
Pound or grind the herbs into paste, add in the rest of the sauces and massage well into the meat. Leave it in the refrigerator to marinate for 4-6 hours (overnight is even better).
I used my home oven to smoke the meat at 12o degrees celsius for 3 hours. Its a good technique to use indoors. I purchased a packet of apple wood chips, soaked 2 to 3 cups of the chips for 15 minutes before pouring them into a deep stainless steel roasting pan, threw in a cinnamon stick into the wood mix for more spice-smoked flavour. Put a wire rack just above the wood chips and placed the marinated meat on top. I used strong aluminium foil to make a tent while wrapping around the pan (Make sure its tightly sealed with 2 or 3 layers of foil to prevent the smoke from escaping during the cooking). Adopted the technique from this website http://www.instructables.com/id/Oven-Smoked-Ribs/ . It has step by step instructions with pictures to guide you through the whole process. Very helpful.
Other sides in the Bento:
Cripsy Tofu skin
Panfried tofu skin with fish paste and minced pork filling. Seasoned the fish paste and minced pork mixture with some salt and pepper and sprinkled some potato flour into the mix to make it sticky.
Grilled Okras and Portobello mushroom slices lightly seasoned with salt
Boiled green peas and carrots
Fresh red radishes (carved a simple pattern to complement the costume of the kabuki actor on the bento cover)
I prepared all the sides except for the red radishes in my new triple pan. Check the pan out in my other post, Agent Perry
Layered the smoked meat with portobello mushroom slices and shiso leaves on top of white cooked rice.
Cut the okras into quarters to show the beautiful star shapes. I placed them between the crispy tofu skin and the tomago-yaki as a divider.
Cut the green peas into half and loosely placed them to make a flower pattern and topped it with a flower shaped carrot.
I used the red radishes as a divider too between the smoked meat section and the sides. They looked like red lanterns to accentuate the oriental feel of the bento.
This bento was a Labour of Love. Hope my hubby felt it too…