Kanako's Kitchen

Kocha-buta: Mock Pork Roast with Tea

Posted in main dish, Recipe by Kanako Noda on July 28, 2010

Do you like pork roast? Of course you do, it’s delicious! It’s also greasy and heavy and, all things considered, probably not the healthiest meal around. So what if you want a lighter, healthier alternative? Kocha-buta is the solution: a sort of Mock Pork Roast made by boiling pork loin in black tea.

I have no idea when, where or who invented this recipe, but I think it’s very homey and Japanese. Boiling gets rid of a lot of the extra fat in pork, and the black tea softens that meaty smell while also flavoring it and coloring the outside. The result is an incredibly tender, juicy meat that looks like a Pork Roast, but isn’t.

In Japan it’s popular to serve Kocha-buta in a Sweet & Sour sauce. In my house, though, my mom would always serve it cold, with salad and Ponzu (vinegar) sauce. As per usual, here I’m sharing mom’s recipe.

One advantage to kocha-buta is that you can keep it in the fridge for a week to 10 days, so it’s a good idea to make a lot and eat it a bit at a time over several days. If you’re making Hiyashi Chuka, it’s a lovely idea to substitute a bit of left-over Kocha-buta in place of the ham.


  • A large piece of pork loin (at least 1 pound).
  • Black tea – 2 to 3 tea bags per pound

For salad

  • Red onion – a half (regular onion is also fine)
  • Carrot – one
  • Shiso (Optional) – just for decoration

For the Ponzu sauce

  • Soy sauce – 7 tablespoons
  • Vineger (Apple cider) – 6 tablespoons
  • Sugar – 2 tablespoons
  • Lime – two Squeeze the juice.

This ponzu sauce recipe is really versatile. Ponzu goes great with salads, meats, gyoza, nabe, etc.


  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Put in the pork and black tea.
  3. Bring it to a boil and then cook it covered, at low heat, for about 90 minutes – depending on the amount of pork.
    The pork should be always fully submerged in water. As the water reduces, add more.
  4. When it’s ready, take it out of the pot and let it cool down.
  5. Slice the onions and carrots very thin and keep them under water.
    Make the ponzu by mixing all the ingredients.
  6. When the pork is cooled, keep it in a fridge until dinner time.
  7. Drain the salad vegetables and pat them down to get rid of the excess moisture.
  8. Slice the pork thin.
  9. Serve over salad.

Dress with Ponzu at the table.

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