Recipe courtesy of Maui Fresh Streatery

The Seoul Bowl "Crispy Korean Pork Belly Bowl with House-Made Banchan Pickles"

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 8 days 2 hr 30 min (includes fermenting, marinating and pickling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 40 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Pork Belly:

1 cup gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)

1 cup honey 

1 cup soy sauce 

1/2 cup sesame oil 

1/2 cup toasted white sesame seeds 

1/4 cup garlic, finely chopped 

1/4 cup fresh ginger, pureed 

One 3- to 5-pound piece pork belly, skin off

Kimchi (Fermented Napa Cabbage):

1 head Chinese (napa) cabbage

1 cup kosher salt 

One 8-ounce bottle kimchi marinade 

2 cups scallions, chopped into 2-inch sections 

1 cup carrot, julienne 

1/2 cup garlic, chopped 

1/2 cup fresh ginger, chopped 

1/4 cup gochugaru (Korean chile flakes) 

1/4 cup fish sauce 

Korean Pickled Onion (Yangpa Jangajji):

2 round onions, chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 jalapeno chile, thinly sliced 

1/2 cup soy sauce 

1/2 cup sugar 

1/4 cup lemon juice 

1/4 cup white vinegar 

Wakame Seaweed and Cucumber Quick Pickle:

1 cup dried wakame seaweed

2 English cucumbers 

2 tablespoons kosher salt 

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar 

1 cup rice wine vinegar 

Korean Mung Bean Sprout Salad:

1/4 cup kosher salt

One 1-pound bag mung bean sprouts 

2 tablespoons sesame oil 

1 tablespoon dashi powder 

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds 

1 teaspoon black pepper 

1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced 

Steamed White Rice:

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 cups short-grain rice 


Special equipment:
a Japanese rice steamer
  1. For the pork belly: Combine gochujang, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, garlic and ginger in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. For best results let the marinade rest for 48 hours to allow flavors to marry.
  2. Reserve 1 cup marinade to thicken and use as glaze when finishing dish.
  3. Place pork belly in a hotel pan. Pour marinade over pork belly, making sure all surfaces are covered. Cover in foil and let marinade 24 to 48 hours, refrigerated.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  5. Roast pork for 4 hours. Remove from marinade and let pork cool overnight in refrigerator.
  6. Slice pork into 2-by-8-inch blocks, then slice into 1/4-inch slabs.
  7. For the kimchi: Quarter the cabbage, then slice into 2-inch sections. Place cabbage in a container and cover with cold water. Add salt. Cover and let sit 12 hours to allow cabbage to brine.
  8. Drain well. Combine cabbage with kimchi marinade, scallions, carrots, garlic, ginger, gochugaru and fish sauce in a large mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Bottle and refrigerate.
  9. For the Korean pickled onion: Place onions and jalapeno in a mason jar or container with lid.
  10. Combine soy sauce, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepot and bring to a simmer. Pour hot liquid over onions, then let cool. Refrigerate 48 hours before serving.
  11. For wakame seaweed and cucumber quick pickle: Place wakame seaweed in a bowl and cover with cold water to hydrate.
  12. Quarter cucumbers, then slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Place cucumbers in a colander and sprinkle liberally with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let cucumber rest, draining in sink to allow water to be drawn out, 1 hour.
  13. Simmer vinegar with remaining cup sugar and tablespoon salt in a saucepan.
  14. Let cool. Squeeze moisture from wakame, then combine with cucumber. Cover with marinade and refrigerate overnight before using.
  15. For the Korean mung bean sprout salad: Bring 4 cups water and the salt to a boil in a saucepan.
  16. Place bean sprouts in a colander in sink. Pour boiling salted water over bean sprouts, then rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Let drain well.
  17. Combine bean sprouts with sesame oil, dashi, sesame seeds, pepper and scallions in a mixing bowl and let flavors marry 30 minutes or longer, refrigerated.
  18. For the steamed white rice: Wash rice under cold running water until water runs clear. Add rice to a Japanese rice steamer and add 3 cups cool water. Cook until done, then let rest 10 to 15 minutes.
  19. For the Seoul bowl: Heat a cast-iron skillet. Cook pork belly until crispy. 
  20. Stir the cornstarch into 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl, then stir into the reserved pork belly marinade in a small saucepan. Simmer 1 minute.
  21. Mound 1/2 to 3/4 cup rice in an individual serving bowl. Arrange the four Korean pickles on rice. Fan 3 to 4 slices cooked pork belly on pickles/rice. Drizzle with thickened sauce. 
  22. Garnish with thinly sliced scallions. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
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