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Frozen Marinated Minced Pork Handy for Whipping Up Quick Dishes

Yomiuri Shimbun photos
Shio soboro don, a bowl of salted ground pork on rice, left, Tofu hamburger steak made using shio koji

Every time I go shopping, I notice that prices have gone up. Meat can be a costly item, and a smart idea is to buy it in bulk when on sale and then freeze it.

Culinary researcher Miyuki Shimamoto shares some tips for a useful way to freeze minced pork and then whip up a couple of quick dishes with it.

Ground meat is reasonably priced and easy to use. However, it seems to go bad more easily than other types of meat. I have ruined ground meat many times. When I did not use it immediately, it turned black and gave off a rancid smell.

I sometimes freeze meat in trays after I buy it. But the meat becomes one hard, frozen lump, which makes it difficult to separate into the necessary portions. I wondered if there was a better way to preserve ground meat.

Shimamoto recommends marinating minced pork in shio koji, or fermented rice malt and salt paste, before freezing it.

She said the unpleasant odor of the meat dissipates and the flavor is enhanced because of the fermented seasoning.

Frozen minced pork

Ingredients

  • 300 grams of ground pork
  • 2 tbsp shio koji

Directions:

1. Put ground pork and shio koji into a freezer bag and knead.

2. Flatten the bag, remove the air and close it.

When freezing, put ground pork into a freezer bag and then press chopsticks against the bag to make indentations. These allow the meat to be snapped off by hand when frozen, and only the amount needed can be taken out. Shimamoto recommends making the indentations according to the amount you want to use later.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Minced pork marinated in shio koji. Note the indentation for easy separation of portions.

“You can also freeze a mixture of ground beef and pork, and ground chicken in the same way,” Shimamoto said.

Since the frozen meat needs to be thawed before cooking, if you want to use it for dinner, for example, it’s best to take out the necessary amount from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator before going to work.

Because the seasoning is simple, the marinated meat can be used in a variety of dishes. Tofu hamburger steak brings out the flavor of the meat enhanced by the shio koji. It is best served in a Japanese style with grated daikon and ponzu sauce.

Shio koji tofu hamburger steak

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • ½ bag of minced pork marinated in shio koji
  • ½ pack of momen firm tofu
  • ½ onion
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp salad oil
  • 2 shiso leaves
  • grated daikon as desired
  • Ponzu sauce as desired

  • Directions:

    1. Thaw the frozen minced pork marinated in shio koji in the refrigerator. Drain the tofu well. Mince the onion.

    2. Mix the meat, tofu, onion and flour in a bowl. Divide the mixture into two and shape into oblong patties. Make a depression in the center of each patty.

    3. Heat the salad oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the patties and cook. When browned, flip over, cover the pan with a lid, and cook for about four minutes.

    4. When cooked through, place in a serving bowl, top with the shiso leaves and grated daikon, and pour ponzu sauce on top.

    Shimamoto also shares a recipe for two servings of shio soboro don, a bowl of salted ground pork on rice. This, too, makes the most of the seasoning’s flavor.

    Shio soboro don

    Ingredients (2 servings)

    • ½ bag of minced pork marinated in shio koji
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tbsp milk
    • 1 tbsp mirin
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • A pinch of salt
    • 8 snow peas
    • Rice as desired

    Directions:

    1. Thaw one-half of a bag of frozen minced pork marinated in shio koji, place in a frying pan over medium heat with oil, stir with chopsticks and remove from the pan.

    2. Combine eggs, milk, mirin, sugar and salt. Put the mixture into a heated frying pan and stir with four chopsticks until crumbly.

    3. Boil snow peas in salted water and then cut into small pieces.

    4. Top the rice with the meat and egg, as well as the snow peas.

    The meat’s mild salty taste is perfect with rice. The dish is so easy to cook that I let my 12-year-old son make it, and it was delicious.