Rinse the pork belly and pat dry with paper towels.
Put the meat and the shio-koji in a plastic bag and coat the meat well. Leave in the coldest part of your refrigerator for more than a day. (2 to 3 days is ideal to let the shio-koji penetrate the meat.)
Wash the shio-koji off the pork and pat dry. Brown the pork on all sides in a pan, then cook slowly over medium heat, while wiping excess fat from the pan.
Cook the meat while turning it several times, until it bounces back when you poke it with chopsticks, indicating it's cooked through. Add 100ml of sake, as well as the garlic and ginger.
Cover the pan with a lid and let steam over low heat for about 10 minutes. Turn the meat to ensure it doesn't get burned. Add more sake if it boils off.
When the meat looks like the photo, turn off the heat, cover with a lid and leave to cool as-is. I make it at night and leave it until the morning.
Warm it up again before serving. Make sure the meat is cooked through properly.
It's also delicious if you cook a few slices in mirin and/or soy sauce. This is for bentos.
Here are some slices of the pork served plain and coated with soy sauce. I recommend serving it with finely julienned white leek ('white hair' leek) or julienned cucumber. It's also great as a rice bowl topping.
To warm up in the microwave, line a plate with paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds at 500 W. Don't overcook.
I recommend using it in bentos. It is still tender and delicious when cold.
Story Behind this Recipe
I've been trying all kinds of recipes using homemade shio-koji. Shio-koji brings out the natural umami in food, so I tried making a simple 'roast' pork with it. It was more delicious than I imagined, so I think I'n becoming an even bigger shio-koji fan now. Even the fat is amazingly tasty. This is dangerous since I keep overeating!
Make sure to brown the surface of the pork belly block all over first. Then cook the meat while adjusting the heat level until the meat is cooked through and bounces back when you poke it, shaking the frying pan occasionally and turning the meat. If you cut through it and you're not sure it's cooked through, fry the slices in a pan or microwave briefly. I marinated the meat in shio-koji for 5 days this time.