Friday, 12 December 2014

Seoul Food | 보쌈 Bossam

Preparation!  준비하다
It's a very poorly-kept secret that Nick's favourite food is bossam. It's a slow-cooked pork that you usually eat by wrapping it in a lettuce leaf (쌈) with a bit of that really great sauce I'm always banging on about (쌈장) and maybe some garlic and rice or kimchi or whatever you want really.

It's kind of similar in taste to Filipino sinigang, with a texture similar to pulled pork (pre-pulling), but it can also be a little expensive so we thought why not try cooking it ourselves, seeing as it's so easy to do?

I used a combination of recipes as well as advice from Korean friends, and ended up using:

- 1 onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- a sizable chunk of belly pork (maybe 300g?)
- a pinky-sized chunk of garlic (basically what I had left from another recipe), chopped finely
- 2 bayleaves
- a sprinkling of peppercorns
- enough water to cover it all
- half a bottle of soju

That last ingredient, soju (Korean rice wine, about 12%) is very important and the aspect most impressed on me by all my sources. Basically, when you boil pork for that stinks. Like, really bad. So, in Korea they add soju which for some reason kills the smell. I'm not sure of the science behind it, but it works and the alcohol cooks off. Due to soju being pretty flavourless (it's like a milder-tasting vodka) there's no flavour left on the meat either!

I suppose you could use white wine (or possibly 'cheap' vodka, which isn't as cheap or nice as soju) and I also saw suggestions stating that a spoonful or two of instant coffee will also do the trick just fine.)

Then, pretty much, you put the slab/s of meat into your boiling water, bring it back to the boil for about 10-20 mins, then turn the heat right down to just about a simmer. Then you leave it. Maybe stir it occasionally, but generally just leave it for about 40 mins to an hour.

So far, I've got the texture down pretty much spot on, but the flavour is lacking and I'm assuming that's just down to experimentation. I tried again a second time and used less water than before, and adding more salt and garlic and it was a lot better. But still not as good as what we've had!

Here's to more experiments in the future :p

Aw yeee

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