Cooking with the trend: Korean Bo Ssäm


I always like to push myself when cooking and try new things, so recently when I invited my sisters and their partners over for dinner, I decided to try something completely out of my comfort zone and cook Korean. It’s a bit of a trend here in Melbourne at the moment ever since the opening of hotspot Kong in Richmond, but is otherwise not a cuisine I have much experience with.

I wanted something to share that would involve a bit of DIY, so I cooked the classic dish Bo Ssäm. “Bo” is an abbreviation of bojagi, a traditional cloth, and “ssäm” means to wrap. Slices of slow cooked pork are wrapped with a selection of condiments in cabbage or lettuce leaves. It’s traditionally served during kimchi making season, called kimjang, when wombok or Chinese cabbage is in good supply.

This post was featured as a guest post on et al. blog.

2 kg pork belly
30g ginger, sliced
7-10 cloves of garlic, sliced in half
1 onion, sliced in half
1 long green chilli, halved lengthways
2 tbsp soy sauce

210g coarse salt
3L warm water
1 chinese cabbage, cut into 3cm cubes
10g glutinous rice flour
15g ginger, grated finely
3 tbsp chilli powder
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp fermented prawns*
2 tbsp maesil (green plum extract)*
2 tbsp water
2 garlic gloves, crushed
1 nashi pear, finely grated
5 spring onions, finely sliced

2 tbsp doenjang (Korean soy bean paste)*
2 tbsp gochujang (Korean chilli paste)*
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 spring onion, finely sliced

2 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 clove garlic, crushed
6 spring onions, very finely chopped
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp finely grated ginger

Butter lettuce leaves
12 shucked oysters
Sambal Oelek chilli sauce

  1. Place pork belly in a large pot and cover with warm water. Add ginger, garlic, onion, chilli and soy sauce and bring to a gentle simmer on the stovetop. Leave to simmer for 1.5-2 hours or until tender.
  2. For the kimchi, dissolve the salt in the water. Place cabbage in a non-reactive bowl and pour over brine. Leave for half an hour, turning occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, place rice flour in a small saucepan with 125ml cold water and stir until smooth. Place over a moderate heat and bring to the boil. Remove and allow to cool completely.
  4. Place 2 tbsp rice flour mixture in a large bowl with ginger, chilli powder, fish sauce, fermented prawns, maesil, water and garlic and stir to combine.
  5. Drain cabbage and rinse under cold water. Drain well. Add cabbage to the chilli mixture with the nashi and spring onions and stir to combine. Refrigerate until required.
  6. For the Ssamjang sauce combine all the ingredients together with 2 tbsp of water. Set aside.
  7. For the spring onion and ginger sauce, in a mortar and pestle, grind together the sesame seeds, garlic and 1 tsp salt until fine. Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and set aside.
  8. To serve, drain pork and slice thinly. Serve warm alongside lettuce leaves, shucked oysters, kimchi,  ssamjang sauce, spring onion and ginger sauce, and sambal oelek.

*Fermented prawns are available from Asian grocers. If you can’t find them, use 1 tbsp shrimp paste. Maesil is available from Korean grocers. If unavailable, use plum sauce. Doenjang and Gochujang are available from Asian grocers.

Serves 8 – 10

This entry was posted in Dinner/Main Meal, Lunch/Light Meal, Recipes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s