My Korean Belly Pork with Sticky Rice and Kale is a complete meal with perfectly glazed and delicious Pork Belly, an easy and achievable Korean style sauce and salty greens. Not too spicy but with a little warmth, sweetness and bags of umami, this Korean Bossam Pork dish is an instant classic.
In 2017 I headed over to South Korea for a fortnight to meet up with my friend Jonny for the last two weeks of his 9 month sabbatical (git!). His blog is a great witty read of his travels including our stint in Korea. Leading up to the trip I was super excited whilst being super nervous about ‘proper travelling’ – I’m more of a fully planned in advance/guided tour traveller with a wheely suitcase and continuous air-con so it was always going to be a culture shock. Along with the actual culture shock – despite eating Asian food a good two or three times a week (and discounting holiday resorts in Turkey), I’d never been to Asia. I’d never really been anywhere where the writing is unintelligible and English isn’t wholly ubiquitous but I trusted Jonny and I couldn’t wait!
A massive part of my excitement was obviously the food. I wasn’t actually that familiar with the food with the exception of a few visits to BibimBap for their title dish and a knowledge that I’m not a fan of kimchi. Luckily my friend Kirsten bought me a copy of Judy Joo’s Korean Food Made Easy* and after a flick though I discovered that the basis for most of the dishes appears to be doenjang (Korean fermented soya bean paste a bit like miso) and gochujang (Korean fermented red chili paste). So I picked up a pot of each from the big Wing Yip supermarket in Croydon and started experimenting. I have spotted doenjang in the world food aisle at Sainsbury’s but both should be available in any half decent oriental shop.
The basis of the recipe is Judy Joo’s Pork Belly Bossam adapted slightly for the ingredients I had on hand. This recipe takes about 3 hours but actually involves very little exertion so don’t be put off. Its also warm but not crazy spicy – up the amount of chili paste if you like super spicy food. The quantities given do allow for some leftovers. I use the pork to make my Ramen with Korean Belly Pork. If I plan sufficiently, I retain the pork cooking liquor to incorporate into my soup base.
Whilst I have served this dish with kale cooked with soy sauce, you could substitute or add almost any other green vegetables – my go-to options would be sugar snap peas, tenderstem broccoli, savoy cabbage or pak choi.
Serves 4 (with a bit of leftover pork)
1.5kg Boneless Pork Belly
2 tbsp Garlic Paste
2 tbsp Ginger Paste
1 Bunch Spring Onions
2 tbsp Doengjang Paste
For the Glaze:
2 tbsp Doengjang Paste
2 tbsp Runny Honey
1 tbsp Garlic Paste
1 tbsp Ginger Paste
1 tbsp Gochujang Paste
For the Bossam Sauce:
2 tbsp Doengjang Paste
1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 tsp Garlic Paste
1 tsp Ginger Paste
1 tsp Vegetable Oil
5 tbsp of the Cooking Liquid
250g Pudding/Sushi Rice
1 tbsp Ginger Paste
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
- It may be easiest to cut the belly slab into 2 or 3 pieces to fit into the pot. My pork photographed came in 3 pieces as they were the biggest the supermarket had!
- You can substitute the belly pork for shoulder or leg but it will not be quite as soft or unctious as using belly. Try to at least look for well marbled, fattier versions of other cuts for maximum flavour.
- You can of course roast the pork with the glaze straight in a tin but the glaze will bake on good and proper and be a bitch to clean off so I’d really recommend lining the tin.
Boil a kettle.
Meanwhile, mix 2 tbsp Garlic Paste, 2 tbsp Ginger Paste and 2 tbsp Doengjang Paste together in the bottom of a large stock pot. Add the kettle of hot water and stir to dissolve the pastes.
Slice the tails off 1 Bunch Spring Onions and reserve the white and light green part of 4 stems. Roughly chop the remaining onions including the dark green parts. Add to the stock pot.
Place 1.5kg Boneless Pork Belly (including the skin) into the stockpot and top up with tap water to cover the pork.
Put the pot onto a medium-low heat to gently boil for an hour and a half.
Prepare the glaze and sauce whilst the pork cooks. For the glaze, mix together 2 tbsp Doengjang Paste, 2 tbsp Runny Honey, 1 tbsp Garlic Paste, 1 tbsp Ginger Paste and 1 tbsp Gochujang. Set aside.
For the sauce, mix together 2 tbsp Doengjang Paste, 1 tbsp Sesame Seeds, 1 tsp Garlic Paste, 1 tsp Ginger Paste, 1 tsp Vegetable Oil and half of the reserved 4 spring onion stems, finely sliced in a small saucepan. Some cooking liquor will be added later to let it down some. Reserve the remaining spring onion to use as a garnish.
While the pork continues to cook, you can prepare a roasting tray by lining it with foil and then a layer of baking parchment.
Once the pork has poached and is soft, remove it from the stockpot and leave it to cool a little on some kitchen paper. Also blot the top with additional kitchen paper to ensure it is dry all over.
Add 5 tbsp of the cooking liquid to the sauce in the saucepan.
Turn the oven on to circa 190c or equivalent.
When the pork is able to be handled, use a knife to remove the layer of gelatinous skin and dispose of the kitchen roll.
Take the glaze and spread all over the pork including the sides and bottom. Place the pork into the roasting tray and put into the oven with a 30 minute timer.
Meanwhile, put 250g Pudding/Sushi Rice into a sieve and rinse under the tap until the water runs more clear than white. Put the washed rice into a medium saucepan (with lid) along with 1 tbsp Ginger Paste and 600ml Cold Water.
Once the pork has 20 minutes remaining on the timer, put the rice pan onto a high heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to very low and put the lid on the rice.
After 12 minutes, turn the heat off entirely but don’t move or take the lid off the rice pan.
When the pork has roasted for the full 30 minutes, take it out of the oven, loosely cover with foil and leave to rest.
Put the sauce onto a low heat to heat through and reduce slightly.
Cook the kale by taking a large saucepan and coating with 10-15 sprays of Frylight and putting onto a high heat. Add 300g Kale along with a dash of water and stir for a minute or so until the kale starts to wilt. Add 1 tbsp Soy Sauce to the pan, stir to coat and take off of the heat.
All of the dish elements are now ready to serve.
– Start by slicing the belly pork into 1cm-ish slices. Put a quarter of the cooked rice into the bottom of each dish.
– Serve a quarter of the kale over each dish of rice.
– Lay belly pork slices over the other half of the rice.
– Spoon some of the hot sauce over the pork slices.
– Garnish with the spring onion and 1 tbsp sesame seeds (not pictured because I’m a eejit).
– Serve with the remaining sauce on the table to add as desired.
Let me know what you think in the comments!
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