Jeyuk Bokkeum 제육 볶음 (Spicy Stir-Fried Pork)

Ever since arriving on Jeju Island a few months back, it’s been really great experimenting with local ingredients and getting to sample all the different kinds of local food (jeonbok (abalone), hwe (raw fish), and new seaweed species to name a few). But by far, the most notable ingredient that I’ve been eating and using in the kitchen is the famed Jeju black pig (“heuk-dweji” 흑돼지). I’ve done quite a few dishes with it so far, and I must admit it gets better with each new attempt. For today’s recipe, I decided to make jeyuk bokkeum (spicy stir-fried pork), one of my all-time favorite dishes because it’s mostly protein and it’s relatively easy to make.

For those who are unfamiliar with this dish, jeyuk bokkeum (literally meaning “pork stir-fry”) is a very popular BBQ-type meal (think bulgogi without any spiciness) that’s a big hit with kids and adults alike. Thinly sliced pork is marinated in a spicy gochujang-based sauce but comes out tasting quite sweet n savory after a quick stir fry. Pork belly and shoulder are the more common cuts used for this dish, but I did some experimenting by using some Jeju pork tenderloin that I found at the grocery store. Although it didn’t turn out as well as its pork belly counterpart (extra fat adds tons more flavor and depth), it was still good enough for seconds and a hit with my taste testers. As with most BBQ dishes, this was served with rice, banchan (side dishes), and plenty of lettuce varieties like perilla leaves, napa cabbage, and leafy greens. These leaves are used as wraps (aka “ssam” 쌈), which are then filled with the accompanying meat, thinly sliced raw garlic, and ssamjang (dipping sauce). If you have yet to try this lesser known BBQ dish, give it a try in the comfort of your home.

“If I had to narrow my choice of meats down to one for the rest of my life, I am quite certain that meat would be pork.”  ~ James Beard

 

DSC_0001
Here are the vegetables for my jeyuk bokkeum. These are the basic ingredients that can be found at most restaurants.
DSC_0003
Although pork belly or shoulder is more common in this recipe, I wanted to try it with pork tenderloin that I found at the grocery store. Because there is little fat content on this cut, it sadly lacked in taste compared to its fatty counterpart. I will definitely revert back to using the original pork belly for future dishes.
DSC_0014
After mixing the marinade/sauce together, add to the pork and mix thoroughly in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Similar to bulgogi, it’s recommended that you make a big batch to last you several meals.
DSC_0144
With some oil, cook the pork on high heat until well browned and caramelized. Since the tenderloin lacked any kind of fat, I used more oil than usual. The taste was spot and totally satisfying for me and the guests.
DSC_0028
Done at last! Jeyuk bokkeum on a bed of rice and thinly sliced cabbage. It was a big hit tonight!
DSC_0047
Another view of the jeyuk bokkeum.
DSC_0083
For those who can’t handle spicy food, you can add some thinly sliced cabbage during the stir fry. It should tone down the heat a notch.
DSC_0150
This batch covered several meals over several days. Here is the last serving with some sauteed zucchini on top.

 

 

Jeyuk Bokkeum (Spicy Stir-Fried Pork)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: Traditional
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs pork belly (shoulder or loin work just as well), cut thinly
  • 1 medium onion, cut into strips
  • ½ carrot, cut into strips
  • 1 green & red chili pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp gochujang (red pepper paste)
  • 2 tbsp gochugaru (red pepper flakes; optional for extra heat)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3, 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp rice wine (or Mirin)
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp of grated apple and onions (optional but recommended)
  • toasted sesame seeds (garnish)
Instructions
  1. Cut pork into thin slices (similar to bulgogi) or according to personal preference.
  2. In a large bowl, bring together the sauce ingredients (the last 9 items on the list) and then add the meat and vegetables. Mix well by hand until thoroughly coated.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate for at least an hour, although overnight marination is recommended.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan on high heat and add about 1 tbsp of oil. Cook all the prepared ingredients together without overcrowding the pan. Cook until browned and slightly caramelized.
  5. Serve with rice, lettuce varieties (e.g. red and green leaf, perilla leaves, parboiled cabbage), and ssamjang (dipping sauce).

 

Note to readers: All recipes, or more specifically seasoning and spice measurements, contained in MYKOREANEATS are approximations. Growing up in an old-school Korean kitchen where everything was measured by hand, there was a strict but important rule called “son-maat” (손맛), literally meaning “taste from one’s hand.” My mom would swear by this and always cooked all the dishes using her raw, culinary instinct to provide comfort food at its finest. This concept of “son-maat” is pretty important in Korean cooking, so I’ve always wanted to keep that tradition alive despite starting the blog a few years back. Another aspect that I love about “son-maat” is the idea of putting one’s signature or stamp on a dish. What makes your food taste like yours, not like anyone else’s, is literally and figuratively the “taste of one’s hands.” As a side note, most Korean dishes like stews, stir fries, and banchan (side dishes) are cooked to taste, meaning that the addition of extra spices is, more often than not, added during the cooking process itself. In that sense, don’t fuss and worry about exact measurements, but rather focus on developing your own “son-maat.”

Share

My Featured Posts

Recent Posts

Comments are closed.