Bossam (Korean-Style Boiled Pork Belly)

Bossam is a classic dish that has traditionally accompanied kimjang -- the kimchi-making season when people come together to make kimchi to last a year. It is said that pork belly and fresh kimchi go very well together; so when fresh kimchi is being made, there is pork belly.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr (includes soaking and salting times)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Pork Belly:

1/4 cup doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste) or miso

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

3 cloves garlic

One 2-inch piece kombu

1 small yellow onion, halved

Two 1-pound pieces skinless pork belly


Kosher salt

1 small head napa cabbage, quartered lengthwise

Daikon Kimchi:

1 small daikon radish, peeled

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean red chile flakes)

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons mirin

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

2 scallions, thinly sliced 

Dipping Sauce (Ssamjang):

2 tablespoons doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste) or miso

2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Crispy Garlic:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Kosher salt

1 head Boston lettuce, for serving


  1. For the pork belly: Combine the doenjang, peppercorns, garlic, kombu, onion and 3 quarts water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the pork belly and return to a boil. Cover and lower the heat to medium low. Simmer until the pork belly is tender but not falling apart, about 1 1/2 hours.
  2. For the cabbage: Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup salt and 3 cups warm water in a large bowl and mix to dissolve. Submerge the cabbage in the salt water and place another heavy bowl on top to ensure the cabbage is submerged completely. Let soak, flipping every 10 minutes, until the cabbage leaves are slightly tender to the touch, about 30 minutes. Rinse, pat dry and set aside. This process will give the cabbage a flexible and crunchy texture with a slight briny taste. 
  3. For the daikon kimchi: Cut the daikon in half crosswise. Slice each half into 1/4-inch-thick planks, then cut each plank into matchstick-size strips. Mix the daikon with 1 tablespoon salt in a small bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes. Give it a toss and let it sit for an additional 10 minutes. Rinse well until all the salt is washed off. Pat the daikon dry with a paper towel.
  4. Whisk together the gochugaru, fish sauce, mirin, garlic, sugar, ginger and scallions in a medium bowl, then toss with the daikon until well incorporated. Transfer to a serving dish and set aside.
  5. For the dipping sauce (ssamjang): Combine the doenjang, gochujang, sesame oil, garlic and sugar in a small bowl and mix well. Transfer to a serving dish and set aside. 
  6. For the crispy garlic: Heat the vegetable oil in a small pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and fry until light golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and let cool.  
  7. When the pork belly is finished cooking, remove it from the poaching liquid and let it sit for a few minutes until slightly cooled. Slice into 1/4-inch pieces. 
  8. Arrange the pork belly, cabbage and lettuce neatly on a big serving platter. Serve with the daikon kimchi, dipping sauce and crispy garlic. To eat, put a piece of the pork belly in the middle of a lettuce or cabbage leaf, top with the daikon, sauce and garlic chips. Fold the leaf to enclose everything.
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