Cooking Time: Pork Belly in Korean Chili Sauce

…or Gochujang Bulgogi

Does it look like the centre of the Korean flag?
Does it look like the centre of the Korean flag?
I also ought to take better photos and plate better

*******

I don’t usually cook Korean food. It’s not because I don’t like Korean food; you can’t live in Korea without eating Korean food. It’s because it is usually cheaper and better to eat out in Korea than to watch an hour-long cooking show where a middle-aged woman makes ONE dish which looks like every other dish she has made in previous episodes.

So why did I make this dish for dinner last night? Because a friend gave me a jar of home-made gochujang (어마손 is the Korean version of homemade, but it usually gets translated to ‘mother’s hand’).

Ingredients (for 3)

  • 300 g pork belly, cut against the grain
  • 300 g cooked rice (about 3 of my handfuls uncooked)
  • 1 onion, cut in half and sliced into happy little arches
  • 1 tbs grapeseed oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped or sliced
  • 1 stem spring onion (20 cm to 30 cm should suffice)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbs gochujang
  • 100 g cabbage kimchi
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Cheongju*, or similar alcohol

*Cheongju is similar to soju, but typically has less alcohol. In this recipe it is used to remove the ‘meaty’ smell from the pork belly. You don’t really need to use it because the onions and the gochujang do a decent job of masking that smell anyway.

Method

The first thing you do is fry your onions in any neutral frying oil (grapeseed oil is everywhere in Korea). Once they start to turn soft, after 3-5 minutes of cooking, add your pork belly. When all the pieces have changed colour from red to grey, add the gochujang, spring onion, garlic, soy sauce, kimchi, and sugar. For the garlic, I prefer sliced since it looks nicer than crushed (invisible) and chopped (unidentifiable). Cook on medium heat for another 10 minutes. Serve with rice.

Tips

  1. The best way to cut the pork belly is to use a pair of scissors as using any knife will stretch the layers apart. You want the layers of the pork belly to stay together.
  2. The flavour largely depends on the gochujang and kimchi you use. You’ll end up with a very different taste if you use kimchi made with pickled shrimp (새우젓 sae-oo jeot). Unless that’s what you’re going for.
  3. You can vary the heat by adding more gochujang or adding chopped chili pepper. You can also add a few slices of ginger if you like ginger. I just didn’t have any ginger.
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Some of you may consider this NSFW
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