Miso Pork Belly! This is one of the recipes I was asked to develop for my recent recipe project and at first, I have to confess I was kind of lost. I have had Grilled Miso Salmon at restaurants and loved it it but I wasn’t sure how miso would work on pork belly. But this miso pork belly marinade turned out so delicious that I decided I had to write a post on it – even though this is not a traditional Korean dish. BTW, don’t worry, I am allowed to share the recipes with you. 🙂
Growing up, pork was one of my favorite meats. I loved boiled pork belly (삼겹살수육 Samgyeopsal Suyuk) with Naengmyeon, soy braised pork ribs (돼지갈비조림 Dweji Kalbi Jorim), pork bulgogi (돼지불고기 Dweji Bulgogi) and I also loved Tonkatsu. ❤️ 😍
But after marrying my husband, eating pork at home was not at all easy because he is somewhat allergic to it. His reaction to pork is pretty interesting – his nose gets totally stuffy, eyes become red and itchy and he says his chest feels cold.. basically his body is not happy. Now, according to Korean traditional medicine, pork is a COLD food and my husband was diagnosed by a Korean herbal doctor to having a COLD body. Thus, eating COLD foods makes him too cold and makes him sick.
Although this theory of COLD/HOT or YIN/YANG of foods have been around for centuries, my parents were never really into the COLD/HOT foods theory when I was growing up so I was very skeptical of this when I first heard it from him. But after seeing him for 25 years actually have these responses after eating pork and also similar responses when he is actually cold from cold temperatures, time and time again, I am a total believer now.
I also know that there are people who are extra sensitive to the COLD/HOT foods and then there are people where it really does not seem to matter much. I think much has to do with where you are in the spectrum. Luckily, I’m somewhat in the middle so I don’t have any issues but my poor husband certainly does.
Now, it just so happens that he actually really enjoys the flavor of pork. He loves bacon, spam and sausages which all are made from pork! So he sneaks some in every time we go to have breakfast at diners. In small amounts it turns out he is OK. But at home, he definitely tries to avoid it because he knows he will have to suffer afterwards.
So where is this story leading to??
Hahaha.. yes, so when I asked my husband to taste my miso pork belly while telling him that I have been working on this miso pork belly recipe all day and just tell me how it tastes but we will have to think of something else for dinner…this is what he said. And I quote, “Oh, no, we ARE having this miso pork belly for dinner tonight! I don’t care if I get sick tomorrow, it is just too good to not eat it!!”
Well, that said it all. 😍
Know the different kinds of Miso and their sodium levels!
One important tip I have to share with you before we get to the recipe is a discovery I made about different kinds of Miso having vastly different amount of sodium levels. In terms of flavor, I found Red Miso to be much more flavorful but also a little saltier. The sodium levels can differ quite a bit even among the same brand miso and whether they are organic or not. For example, the sodium amount for Hikari organic white miso is 520 mg per 12g vs Hikari non-organice white miso is 560 mg per 12g. That’s about 7% difference!!
The amount of sodium level difference may not matter too much if you are just marinating just 1-2 lbs but it will definitely matter if you are going to make 10-20 lbs because then the difference will be a lot more! So please pay attention to the sodium level of the miso you are using.
- Miso I used for this recipe is 90 grams of Hikari Organic White Miso (520 mg sodium/12 g = 3/4 Tbs). I also tested with regular non-organic Hikari White Miso (560 mg sodium/12 g). I found you should put much less than the mathematical sodium equivalent. So use about 70 g instead of 90 g if using non-organic white miso with 560 mg sodium/12 g.
- Make sure you don’t add any extra marinade to pan when cooking pork belly. Marinades should always be discarded. Don’t just throw everything into the pan including the marinade but fish out the meats and cook them without the marinade.
- You can also use red miso but use less since red miso is usually saltier.
Miso Pork Belly with Green Onions
Servings: 3-4 Inactive Time: 12 – 24 hours Cooking Time: 20 min Difficulty: Easy
20 g miso = 1 Tbs
- 1 lb pork belly slices (1/4 inch/0.6 cm thick)
- 2 green onions, slivers or chopped
- 1 cup cabbage, julienned
- 1 small carrot, julienned
- Pork Belly marinade
- 90 g (3 oz) Hikari Organic White Miso – 520 mg sodium/12 g
- 70 ml (4 Tbs+2tsp) cooking sake
- 2 Tbs sugar
- 20 ml (4 tsp) apple juice
- 3 Tbs water
- 20 g fresh ginger
- Gochujang Siracha sauce (optional)
- 1 Tbs Gochujang (Korean Chili paste)
- 1 tsp Siracha
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp water
- 1 tsp sugar
- Easiest way is to add all marinade ingredients into a blender and blend until ginger disappears. Otherwise, you can separately grate the ginger and mix with the remaining marinade ingredients.
- Marinate pork belly slices with the miso marinade mixture and refrigerate overnight to 24 hrs.
- Cut green onion slivers and soak them in ice water to lighten the flavor and also to make them curl up.
- Julienne cabbage and carrots and mix together to make a slaw but without any dressing. I used yellow carrots here but you can use any kind.
- Fire up your grill or heat a frying pan on medium heat. Too high a heat will make the pork belly burn too easily so just keep it at medium. Remove pork belly slices from the marinade and cook in pan. Cook for about 1 minute on each side until it they are browned.
As you see here, the marinade does burn eventually. So it is best if you can BBQ or grill in the oven in one shot. If you have a non-stick, you can just wipe away the burnt stuff with a paper towel and then cook again.
- Serve with cabbage and carrot slaw and top with green onions. I forgot to sprinkle all the green onions in this picture but you should add all the green onions for best results. They are not just for looks but it is great for breaking up the fattiness of pork.
EXTRA!! You can also make a Miso pork belly rice bowl with the same ingredients by layering rice -> cabbage slaw -> pork belly -> green onions. Finish with a small spoonful of Siracha Gochujang sauce. The slightly tangy and spicy gochujang sauce just wraps everything together like a perfect gift. 👏
- Freeze any leftover marinated pork belly for later.
Pan Grilled Miso Pork Belly
- 1 lb pork belly slices (1/4 inch / 0.6 cm thick)
- 2 green onions (slivers or chopped)
- 1 cup cabbage (julienned)
- 1 small carrot (julienned)
Pork Belly Marinade
- 3 oz Hikari Organic White Miso – 520 mg sodium/12 g (90 g – 520 mg sodium/12 g)
- 70 ml cooking sake (70 ml = approx. 4 Tbsp + 2 tsp)
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 4 tsp apple juice
- 3 Tbsp water
- 5/8 oz fresh ginger (about the size of 1 large chestnut)
Gochujang Siracha Sauce (optional)
- 1 Tbsp Gochujang (Korean Chili paste)
- 1 tsp Siracha
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp water
- 1 tsp sugar
- Add all marinade ingredients into a blender and blend until ginger disappears.
- Marinate pork belly slices with the miso marinade mixture and refrigerate min 8hrs to overnight, up to 24hrs.
- Cut green onion slivers and soak them in ice water to make green onion curls.
- Julienne cabbage and carrots and make a slaw but without any dressing.
- Either fire up your grill or heat frying pan on medium heat. Too high a heat will make the pork belly burn too easily so just keep it at medium. Remove pork belly slices from the marinade and cook in pan. Do not add any marinade to pan. Cook for about 1 minute on each side until it they are browned.
- Serve with a cabbage and carrot slaw and top with green onions.
- Optionally, make siracha gochujang sauce for extra spicy flavor.