Korean food · Recipes

Korean Cooking: Spicy Pork and steamed eggs

Korean markets can be really intimidating. Even as someone who speaks and reads sub-par (sub-sub-par) Korean feels extremely overwhelmed. There are loud Koreans everywhere, produce that doesn’t look Earth like, and no one is in much of a hurry to help you find the ingredient you need to follow a recipe. Oh yeah, and everything is in a different language.

BUT then, you see this

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Whoever labeled this HAD to have been having a good laugh. That or they don’t speak English and didn’t notice that this is a really unappealing way to describe meat.

Unfortunately, this was exactly what I was looking for. One of my favorite dishes growing up was spicy pork bulgogi. This is a Korean dish that is becoming really popular at Korean barbeque places around the nation. It is deeply red, seasoned strongly, and has a nice kick that makes you forget you are eating pork shoulder butt chunk.

I modified a couple fairly authentic recipes I found online to omit refined sugars and I am so so so pleased with the results. I have no idea why it needed sugar in the original recipe. To make this dish more of a meal, I paired it with kimchee jiggae (stew), steamed eggs, and cauliflower rice and green leaf lettuce. A classic way to eat delicious Korean meats is to wrap it in green leaf lettuce with a little rice and seasoned bean paste. Adds a fresh and filling quality to the pork. If you had told me a year ago I would be more than thrilled to replace white rice with cauliflower, I would have called you crazy and shoved more white rice in my face in defiance. Now, things like this happen…

receipt

That was the doing of my sister. I asked her to bring over some riced cauliflower for dinner and so she went to Trader Joes in the morning when they get their new shipment and made sure we would not run out for a very long time…

If you have ever tried Korean bbq, I know you will want to look up your local Korean market to try these recipes. I have always ADORED the steamed egg that they serve at Korean restaurants and thought it would be really difficult to replicate. No way. Easy and more delicious and silky at home. Now I am convinced they way overcook it at restaurants.

My mommy is pretty proud of me for adding Korean cooking to my skills. I think she thinks this means I can take over a little and let her sit back and drink wine on Sundays while I cook. HAHA, not a chance…

Korean Spicy Pork

Ingredients 

  • *2 lbs thinly sliced pork shoulder (also called pork butt) OR you can use pork belly for this (your local Korean market will have the appropriate cut of meat)
  • 1/2 cup Korean chili pepper paste (gochujahng 고추장)
  • 4 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons ginger
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon hot pepper flakes (gochugahloo 고추가)
  • 2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon crushed toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced (next time I personally would like 3 onions)
  • 6 scallions or green onions, chopped

*It helps to freeze your pork for half an hour before slicing

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the chili paste, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, hot pepper flakes, toasted sesame oil, honey, and sesame seeds.
  2. Add the thinly sliced pork and stir well, making sure every piece of meat is nicely marinated.
  3. Add the onions and chopped to the meat and stir.
  4. Marinate overnight for best results, minimum four hours.
  5. Using a cast iron skillet or large frying pan, sear the pork in two batches. Since you can’t tell by the color if the pork is cooked all the way through, it is important to not overcrowd the pan and to make sure the temperature is at least 145 degrees. ***FYI: Koreans don’t use thermometers, we just taste the meat to make sure it is cooked through. Our tongues know by texture. Don’t try this unless you are Korean. 

Serve with cauliflower rice/brown rice/white rice and if you like it, a little seasoned bean curd paste. Wrapping it in the lettuce is known as “ssam”. Basically, we Koreans invented lettuce wrapping way before white people did.

ingredients lined up

I like how it is so beautiful when it is raw.

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MOVING ON!

This steamed egg dish is just perfect. If you like eggs at all, this dish is the perfect side dish for every Asian meal. It is really easy and just promise me you will try it!!!

Steamed Silky Smooth Eggs

(one recipe per person/ramekin, feel free to double or triple as needed. I sextupled it last night 😉

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Chopped green onions/scallion and toasted sesame seeds for garnish
  • 5 oz ramekin
  1. Whisk together eggs, water, and salt well.
  2. Place your ramekin into a pan with high sides on the stove. Add water to the pan until it is 2/3 of the way high on the ramekin.
  3. Pour eggs into the ramekin. Cover the pan with a lid and let the water simmer. In about six minutes, check your eggs. Once the top has set a bit, sprinkle some green onions and sesame seeds on top. Replace the lid.  (Sorry I forgot to take pictures during the cooking process. This is basically a water bath for your eggs)
  4. Let cook for about 1-2 more minutes. It should be set and jiggle when moved. Carefully remove the ramekin from the hot water (I use my mason jar tongs!) 

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The peskatarian was very happy about her eggs…

Oh boy, I am tired now. I stop now.

I will post my kimchee jiggae recipe once I perfect it. It is not quite there yet. It tastes somewhat Americanized…

 

MAR
24

Korean Spicy Pork (Dweji Bulgogi 돼지불고기 or Jeyeuk Bokkum 제육볶음): Guilt and Motivation

Two days ago, I was traumatized when I found out that Son has not one, not two, but FOUR cavities.  It was Son’s first dental appointment, and I had a sinking feeling that the dentist was going to confirm that the rather odd spot in the front of Son’s teeth was in fact a cavity.  I was NOT prepared to hear that there were four.  Furthermore, I was not prepared to hear that they were going to need to be fixed;  Son would need to be put on laughing gas and his teeth would be drilled.  As the dentist explained to me, and patiently answered my various questions regarding procedure, my mind spun wildly out of control with the words…THIS IS MY FAULT!

Friends keep on telling me not to blame myself and that maybe it is a genetic predisposition (soft enamel or large grooves) but I know what the truth is.  Our dentist made no mention of such genetic predispositions and I had to confess to her that I don’t always help Son brush his teeth.  Daughters #1 and #2 have no cavities, no problems in their mouth and with a little assistance from me, get the teeth brushing done.  Son, on the other hand, is entirely a different story.  He HATES brushing his teeth.  I have spent a small fortune trying to figure out HOW to motivate him to want to like it with frantic purchases of different flavored toothpastes, fancy toothbrushes with characters on them and floss that tastes like fruit.  He still hates it.  The ONLY way he would get his teeth brushed was with sheer force.  I used a flying tackle to bring him down, a leg over manuever to pin him, and got him screaming so his mouth would be open, just so I could quickly stick a toothbrush in his mouth and frantically try and get what I could before Son completely went bonkers.

The cavities are my fault because that flying tackle scene is not something I wanted twice a day.  Every morning and every night?  Forget about it.  I just couldn’t do it.  Physically and mentally it was just too much.  Son’s disposition is one of pure joy and humor and the struggles over teeth brushing were simply too much.  I let him slide.  He would say, “I brushed my teeth mommy” and I would “believe” him.  It just became easier not to have to fight him EVERY single night and so there were many nights, more than I care to remember, that I let him slide.

But there is nothing like hearing about four cavities, the drilling and the laughing gas that must follow, to light a fire under a mom.  The day after we learned about the cavities, I was a general waging World War III in our house over teeth brushing.  I barked out orders, flossed EVERY child’s EVERY tooth and personally executed teethbrushing for every single child.  The whole war took 20 minutes, but thankfully it was done without too much fuss.  Son, even, submitting himself rather meekly to my massive toothbrushing campaign with few protests.  (I’m guessing the whole cavity situation has snapped some sense into him.)  I am motivated, driven and committed to keeping the remaining untainted teeth healthy in Son and Daughters mouths.

I have this cartoon image in my head of me with a fire lit under me.  And in this image, I turn around, hop off the fire and start cooking on it.  It’s this spicy pork dish I would like to cook in that fire, if only to remind myself that sometimes you need a little bit of trauma to get you fired up and motivated.  It’s spicy, easy to make, but so delicious with crisp romaine and silky green cabbage.  Both of those greens help cool the heat in the dish and make it just extra delicious.

As a note, Son LOVES this and handles spicy very well.  But Daughter #1, who doesn’t like spicy, really loved it wrapped in the steamed cabbage.  Daughter #2 who is a medium spicy lover gobbled down tons of rice with the pork and kept on commenting on how yummy it was.  So don’t be afraid to try it on your children. You may be surprised at how much they eat.

Korean Spicy Pork Bulgogi (Dweji Bulgogi 돼지불고기 or Jeyeuk Bokkum 제육볶음)
1 1/2 lbs thinly sliced pork shoulder (also called pork butt) OR you can use pork belly for this (your local Korean market will have the appropriate cut of meat)

1/3 cup Korean chili pepper paste (gochujahng 고추장)
3 tablespoons finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes (gochugahloo 고추가) omit this to reduce the heat)
1 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon crushed toasted sesame seeds

1 onion, thinly sliced
4 scallions, cut into 2 inch lengths

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7 thoughts on “Korean Cooking: Spicy Pork and steamed eggs

  1. MichOnni your blog is soo funny!!! I can hear your voice saying it all, and I think your Kimchi Jjigae tasted very Korean!!!

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