Here is the simplest way to cook pork belly (Sam-Kyup-Sal 삼겹살) Korean style. In Korean cuisine, pork belly is usually either boiled in water or cut into thin slices and grilled. When boiled in water, ginger is mostly used. In addition, people have been adding Korean Soy Bean paste, coffee grinds, onions, garlic… all sorts of ingredients to make it taste better. I tried coffee grinds, soybean paste, .. just about everything. However, when my mother-in-law cooked this dish for me recently – it was the best tasting Sam-Kyup-Sal ever!
4 servings, approx 1 hour needed
- 2 lb pork belly
- 1 large onion (2 medium onions)
- 10 green onions or scallions
- Cut the onions into 1/2 inch thick slices so that you have enough onion slices to cover the bottom of a thick iron or good quality pot that does not burn easily
- Cut the pork belly into 2-3 inch wide pieces and put it on top of the onions. The picture shows the skin side up but you can lay the meat skin side down if you do not wish to have the meat side too burned.
- Clean the green onions or scallions and cut it in half. You should have enough green onions to cover the meat. If you can, save the root end of the green onions, clean it well and also add it to the pot. The green onion used here is much bigger and wider than the green onions you get in the US. But the smaller green onions should not make too much of a difference.
- Turn the heat to medium high and cover the pot. Let it cook for few minutes (10 min or so) until you smell the onions burning a bit. So you may wonder.. no water? no oil? No worries..You will get the fat dripping from the pork belly so you actually don’t need any additional liquid.
- Now lower the heat to low and cook for about an hour until the meat is cooked thoroughly. Pictured below is when the pork is fully cooked. The onions looked burnt but it’s ok. You are not going to eat the onions but just the meat. You can test how well the meat is cooked by piercing the meat with a chopstick or fork. If the chopstick or fork goes in without too much resistance and if there’s no blood, it is completely cooked.
- Take the meat out of the pot, let it sit for few minutes. Discard onions. Cut the pork into about 1/4 inch slices (thicker or thinner however you like it) . Eat the pork with one of the following condiments:
- soy sauce and vinegar (초간장)
- ssam-jang (쌈장 ) – recipe already posted
sae-woo-jeot (새우젓 ) – this is a salted and fermented tiny shrimp–tastes fabulous with pork!
Be sure to buy good quality pork belly. If available, 흑돼지삼겹살 (black pig pork belly) is a great choice. Along with the condiments, I recommend you eat this pork with rice, lettuce wraps (see ssambap) and kimchi.
Enjoy and cheers!