Sunday, January 29, 2012

Momofuku Bo Ssam

A few weeks ago, my mom mentioned that there had been a piece in the NY Times on a Korean dish, Momofuku Bo Ssam.  I checked out the recipe and decided it sounded like something I could make.  Although I figured it was a bit of a gamble, as I've never even had bo ssam.  Not a big thing here in DC, I supposed.

Turns out, I love bo ssam.   As did Brett and our friends who came over to enjoy it.   The pork was tender and the accompaniments gave this whole dish an amazing range of flavors ranging from spicy to tangy.  And while it had a good spice to it, it didn't overwhelm the dish.

Also I used romaine lettuce for the lettuce wraps, which worked well for me as I had a beautiful head of lettuce, but normally I would go with Boston bibb lettuce or another buttery lettuce.

And personally, I can't really eat very spicy things.  I would like to, but my stomach has punished, or er, taught me otherwise.  But this was NOT super spicy, so don't be afraid.

Another note, while 5 lbs of pork shoulder sounds like a ton of food, that is in fact a wrong assumption.  It fed four easily, and we were pleasantly full, but not dying.

1 5 lb whole bone-in pork shoulder
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C salt
1/4 C brown sugar

Ginger-Scallion Topping
2 C thinly sliced scallions or green onions
1/4 C peeled, minced fresh ginger
1/4 C grapeseed oil
1 t light soy sauce
1/2 t red wine vinegar
½ t salt

Ssam Sauce (Modified - couldn't find ssamjang.  If you can, use 2 T of it and 1 T kochujang)
1 1/2 T red chili paste
1 1/2 T chili paste (kochujang)
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 C rice vinegar
1/2 C grapeseed oil

2 C plain white rice, cooked
1 head romaine lettuce
Kimchi (available in many Asian markets, and online).

Combine the sugar, salt and brown sugar in a bowl.

Rub the ingredients on the pork.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours but overnight is always better. 

But here I have to make a note.  I screwed up.  In the original recipe, the brown sugar goes on at the end.  BUT it ended out juuuuuust fine.  And it was delicious.  So I'm putting the recipe up as I made it, but if you want to know what was originally recommended for the pork, head on over to the NY Times article.  

Preheat the oven to 300°.  Take the pork out of the plastic place in a roasting pan but discard the juices.

Once the first hour in the oven has passed, baste the pork with the juices that collect in the pan and turn the pork over to ensure even cooking.  

The rest of the accompaniments do not take longer than 10 minutes to prepare, so basically for the first 5 hours just let the pork cook.  You can do what I did.  Read the Hunger Games.  Seriously.  Read them.  I'm a total fan girl. 

Cody also would run into the kitchen with me when I would baste the pork.

For the scallion ginger sauce, chop the scallions into thin slices.  If you can't find scallions, green onions work as well. 

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and put into the fridge until ready to serve.

Prepare the rice as well.  Use white rice.  And simple preparation of 1 C rice 2 C water and boil.  Once boiling, reduce the heat to simmer, put the lid on the pot and leave for 18 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, you can prepare the ssam sauce.  As noted in the ingredients, I couldn't find the ssamjang, but found red chili paste which is a component of the ssamjang sauce.  Apparently my Asian stores don't have it.  But still, it was a delicious sauce.  

Mix well and put in the fridge. 

Wash and separate the lettuce.

Take the pork out of the oven.  There's uh basically no need to check the temperature because it's cooked.  Believe me, after 6 hours, it is cooked.

Using a fork and a knife, pull the pork off of the bones. 

Assemble all of the components and allow everyone to build their own wraps.

After all of the food, we all decided to play a rousing game of scrabble.  Best game ever.

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