Place pork belly into a large pot, and cover with water about 1-inch above the pork. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard water and fill pot with fresh water about 1-inch above the pork. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the pork begins to soften, about 1 hour.
Remove the pork from the water, and place on a cutting board. Allow pork to cool for a few minutes, then slice off the thick skin and discard. Cut the remaining pork meat into 1-inch wide slices. Set aside.
Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, 1/2 cup water, mirin, ginger, and garlic in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the sliced pork belly, then bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low, and place a sheet of aluminum foil directly over the meat and sauce. Simmer uncovered until the pork is tender, 30 to 45 minutes, turning the pork several times to cook evenly.
It’s best to use pork belly, but pork tenderloin or boneless pork short ribs are also great.
You can substitute 1/2 cup water for katsuo dashi. Katsuo dashi is a fish stock made from water and bonito flakes. In a small pot, boil 1-2 c of water and about 1/2 c bonito flakes for a few minutes.Pour into a bowl, straining the bonito flakes out of the liquid so you have only stock.
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