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“Buta no Shōgayaki”: Tender and Tasty Japanese Ginger Pork

Yukimasa Rika [Profile]


Whether part of a home meal or a packed lunch, this ginger pork recipe is certain to tingle the taste buds and satisfy appetites. The zesty bite of ginger and savory flavor of pork goes well with rice, making buta no shōgayaki a perennial favorite in Japan. Sliced beef or chicken can be substituted for a different take on this classic dish.

Ingredients (serves 2–3)

  • 300 g thinly sliced pork loin (beef or chicken can also be used)
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Four-quarter sauce:
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 2 tbsp mirin (sweet cooking sake; if not available, increase sugar and sake to 3 tbsp each)
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp sake


  1. Combine ingredients for the four-quarter sauce and grated ginger in a bowl. Add pork slices and marinate for 10 minutes.

Ginger pork seasoning sauce. (©

  1. In a frying pan heat sesame oil on medium heat. Remove excess sauce from pork slices and fry briefly on both sides.
  2. Lastly, add the sauce to the pan and allow it to coat the pork slices. Before serving, check the flavor and add a pinch of salt if needed. Chopped scallions or leafy vegetables like cabbage can also be added during this last step for added texture and flavor.

Cooking Tips

  • Buta no shōgayaki is a standard dish in dining rooms across Japan. It is also a lunchtime favorite, appearing in bentō boxes and on restaurant menus.
  • Pork belly can be used if sliced pork loin is not available.
  • Substituting thinly sliced beef or chicken for pork also makes a tasty dish.
  • For the best results, add the seasoning sauce to the frying pan while the pork slices are still slightly pink.
  • After removing the pork slices, briefly simmer the remaining sauce and spoon it over the meat on your serving dish.
  • As with any dish, it’s best to set all the seasonings within easy reach before you start cooking.
  • Having the four-quarter sauce ready to go ahead of time makes for a smoother cooking process. You will be more likely to overcook a dish if you have to spend time grabbing and mixing the different seasonings while the heat is on.

(Originally written in Japanese with editorial assistance by Usami Rika and published on January 15, 2018. Photos by Natori Kazuhisa, except where otherwise noted.)

  • [2018.03.20]

Culinary expert; chief executive officer, REKIDS. Born in 1966 in Fukuoka Prefecture. Graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. After returning to Japan, found work as a commercial producer with Japanese advertising giant Dentsu and began writing cookbooks on the side. At age 42, left Dentsu to start up her own online education business. Has appeared on the NHK World cooking show Dining with the Chef since 2011. Yukimasa has published more than 50 cookbooks, which have sold upwards of 800,000 copies and have been translated into Chinese and Korean. Author of Reshipi no iranai washoku no hon (Japanese Cooking Without Recipes), Konya wa ienomi (Drinks at Home Tonight), and many other works.

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