Korean Pork Belly (Bossam)

korean pork belly lettuce wraps with pickled radish and sweet rice and savory sauce

The Spruce / Pete Scherer 

  • Total: 3 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings

These deeply savory Korean pork belly lettuce wraps walk a fine line between a light meal and and indulgent feast —a line you may not have known existed until now. The unctuous, fatty pork is a rich treat for any meat lover, while the crisp lettuce, pickled radish, and sweet rice bring balance and a sense of brightness.

The best way to serve these is family style so that diners can assemble their own wraps according to their tastes: putting rice in the wrap or enjoying it on the side, using more sauce or less, or doubling down on the spicy pickled radishes. That said, rice in the wrap, a light drizzle of the intensely savory sauce and three or four slices of radish is just about perfect, like a tiny Korean taco.

Though these take some time to prepare, if you make the meat and pickles ahead of time, and store them in the refrigerator, the wraps can come together very quickly for an easy weeknight meal. Once you try this recipe, you may fall in love with the whole concept and start playing around with different meats, condiments and overall flavor profiles. The possibilities are endless.

Ingredients

  • For the Pork Belly:
  • 3 ounces whole ginger root
  • 3 tablespoons doenjang (Korean soybean paste)
  • 1 onion (quartered)
  • 4 scallions (white parts only, roughly chopped)
  • 6 garlic cloves (smashed)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon gochujang (Korean chile paste)
  • 2 1/2 pounds skin-on pork belly
  • For the Pickled Radish:
  • 8 ounces Korean white radish (peeled and julienned)
  • 2 tablespoons Korean apple vinegar (or rice vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground Szechuan chile peppers
  • 1 clove garlic (finely grated)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • For the Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons doenjang
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic (finely grated)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • For Serving:
  • Steamed sweet rice
  • Whole red or green leaf lettuce
  • Optional: Perilla leaves

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Finely grate 1 ounce of the whole ginger, and cut the other 2 ounces into a few large chunks.

  3. Add the prepared garlic, doenjang, onion, scallions, garlic cloves, honey, gochujang, and pork belly to a 5 quart (or larger) pot with lid. Add water to cover the pork belly. Stirring occasionally to distribute the ingredients, bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 2 hours.

  4. To prepare the pickles, simply combine white radish, Korean apple vinegar, sugar, ground Szechuan chile peppers, clove, and Kosher salt in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  5. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  6. When the pork belly is done, transfer the meat to a foil-lined baking sheet. Discard the cooking liquid along with the aromatics.

  7. Roast the pork in the oven for about 30 minutes.

  8. While the pork is roasting, steam your rice.

  9. Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

  10. Wash and dry the lettuce and perilla leaves. Arrange on platters.

  11. When the pork belly is caramelized, slice as desired and serve immediately with all accompaniments.