Spicy Korean Pork, Jeyuk-gui
This week I was listening to the ‘Good Food’ radio program out of Los Angeles with host Evan Kleiman. The first interview of the day was with Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard, authors of “Koreatown: A Cookbook,” created by two longtime close friends traveling and eating their way around Koreatowns throughout the country, returning then back to New York, recreating recipes from the home kitchen.
At one point in the interview Kleiman commented that an important component in learning and really understanding the depth of any cultural food is to cook it, deconstruct it, to understand the ingredients and how they work together in the creation of dishes.
I thought the point was brilliant and true, ironically so for me and my own relationship with Korean food, including the further depth of learning gained through the Korean Cuisine Class I took at Drexel University last semester.
You likely already know that both are my daughters are from Korea, and so my journey with this cuisine began now twenty-seven years ago, and, as I shared in a presentation at the Thomson Reuters Asian American Pacific Program in New York last year when tasked with the introduction of very new ingredients and how to introduce them to family members and friends.
You might imagine I got a big laugh from the group saying that the first “exotic” ingredient challenge was introducing soy sauce. This is True.
Also, in those days I had to go to the Korean market for soy sauce and purchase one giant bottle which also got a giggle from the group while admitting wondering to myself how in the world I was ever going to use all that soy sauce up!
By now I’ve used up countless large bottles of soy sauce, not to mention that soy sauce has become a condiment now in almost every refrigerator throughout the country even if one doesn’t cook Korean foods.
Week 5 of the Korean Cuisine class was meat, including today’s Spicy Korean Pork, Jeyuk-gui, its preparation among the range of choices along with uses and historical perspectives from ancient Korean times to today.
Through these months of reflection, one of the most important benefits of the Korean Cuisine class for me was in providing that deeper understanding or similar as Evan Kleiman aptly expressed in her radio interview, the enabled opportunity to deconstruct multiple ingredients and delve a bit more into these principle components and how they work together.
The class also helped me get a bit better in my pronunciation and use of the actual Korean names for ingredients, such as Gochujang. Gochujang. Don’t you just love that word? Really. It is so much fun. My grandson and I now have a lot of Gochujang going on these days.
I chose Spicy Korean Pork, Jeyuk-gui as my next Korean dish to share with you from the Korean Cuisine class at Drexel last fall, mainly besides being incredibly tasty it is quite simple for you to prepare while bringing together some of those more commonly used ingredients.
The Korean history with pork is not too dissimilar from some other cultures with Pork being the more common meat among the people since it is more affordable. Although the Pork Belly used in this preparation appears like thickly sliced bacon, its flavor, once sauteed with the onion more so resembles the flavor of Pork Roast with a lovely spicy kick. Gochujang in Jeyuk-gui. Some lettuce leaves, some rice, and a few little Banchan, you’ll love it!