Spicy Ass Korean Pork. Unofficially this is what we’re calling it.
Officially, the dish is called “Jeyook Bokkeum (제육볶음). “Jeyook”/ 제육 means “pork” and “Bokkeum” / 볶음 means stir-fry, so in Korean this dish is literally translated as Pork Stir-fry. Misleading, really, because there’s no mention of the spice involved! And by spice, I mean the kind of heat you feel moving through your digestive system the next day, hopefully in “private”.
But believe me when I say it’s worth it, especially if you’re a fan of spicy food to begin with. Every Korean household has their different way of preparing this dish, but the spicy bottom-line is:
No pain, no gain, so let’s put your grown-up palette to the test!
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1 pound pork belly (any cut works, really)
2 stalks of scallion (chopped in thirds)
1 carrot (thinly sliced)
½ large onion (thinly sliced)
½ cup warm water
4-6 tablespoons Korean Chili Paste
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ginger (minced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tablespoon olive / vegetable oil
1. Prepare all your vegetables and set aside.
~ Keep in mind carrots should be sliced as uniformly as possible but they don’t need to be perfect. The pork is the star in this dish, which is also what ginger is for. Ginger is a natural meat tenderizer (has an enzyme that breaks down protein, perfect for stir-frying meat!)
2. Grab a large mixing bowl of your choice and pour your warm water in it, along with your Korean Chili Paste. Work the chili paste with a wooden spoon to ensure it melts and there are no chunks.
~ After soy sauce, Korean Chili Paste is the next biggest staple in Korean cooking.
3. Add the sugar, soy sauce, ginger and garlic to your bowl and mix thoroughly. (If you opted out of the water, then add everything together for the marinade and mix thoroughly.) Set aside.
~ This marinade is also great with chicken and seafood, not so much beef though.
4. Take your pork belly and slice into bite-sized pieces. If you end up going with pork shoulder or loin, do the same. If you have a Korean supermarket nearby, you will see they sell very thinly-sliced pork specifically for this dish. But as long as you have a good cut of pork with some marbling aka fat, you’ll be fine!
5. Add the pork to your mixing bowl of marinade. It should look both stunning and scary like this:
~ I recommend letting the marinade work its magic with the pork for at least three hours, best over-night, if you can.
6. Pre-heat your wok / stir-fy pan over a medium-high flame, then add your oil, and let your oil heat as well.
7. Pour your pork and marinade into your hot pan and stir-fry for 7-10 minutes. Then add your carrots and onions and stir-fry for another 7-10 minutes. Add your scallion last, turning the flame off when the scallion begins to wilt.
8. Serve with rice (white or brown, though my weakness is white rice). If you have some romaine lettuce, you may want to try a delicious wrap of lettuce and a spoonful of rice and some of the pork. Heaven!
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