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Instant Pot Bo Ssam With Coffee and Bay Leaves

Instant Pot Bo Ssam With Coffee and Bay Leaves 4.000

Laura Chase de Formigny; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Oct 28, 2020

Food writer Eric Kim’s bo ssam features tender, fragrant pork belly thinly sliced and nestled within salted napa cabbage leaves and condiments, such as radish kimchi and ssamjang. Kim pressure cooks the meat in an Instant Pot to tenderize and imbue the pork with flavor from whole coffee beans, earthy bay leaves as well as soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar and doenjang — an umami-rich fermented soybean paste. The leftover braising liquid can be frozen in an airtight container and reused for a next batch of bo ssam; be sure to fortify it with fresh garlic and ginger.

Storage Notes: The radish kimchi, cabbage wraps and ssämjang can be refrigerated in separate containers for up to 2 days. (Though the radish kimchi can keep for several months, if serving with bo ssäm, it’s traditionally eaten within 48 hours, while it’s still fresh and unfermented.) The pork belly is best eaten warm, the day it is made, but any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and eaten cold or at room temperature.

Where to Buy: Korean radish, gochugaru, doenjang and gochujang can be found at Asian grocery stores, such as H Mart.

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings

  • For the pork belly
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup whole coffee beans
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons doenjang (fermented soybean paste)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 7 dried bay leaves, crushed
  • 5 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • One (2-inch) piece unpeeled ginger, sliced thick
  • 1/2 medium skin-on yellow onion, sliced thick
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 pounds (1 3/4 - to 2-inch-thick) boneless pork belly
  • For the radish kimchi and cabbage wraps
  • 1 pound Korean radish, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick matchsticks (may substitute daikon radish)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 small head (about 1 pound) napa cabbage, leaves separated and rinsed (if your cabbage is large, you may need to quarter it lengthwise)
  • 2 tablespoons gochugaru
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely grated
  • One (1-inch) unpeeled piece fresh ginger, finely grated
  • For the ssamjang
  • 1 tablespoon doenjang
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced on the bias, for garnish

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Make the pork belly: In your multicooker, combine the soy sauce, coffee beans, brown sugar, doenjang, salt, bay leaves, garlic, ginger and onion and stir until roughly incorporated. Add the water and pork belly (you may need to cut the pork into a few pieces to get it to fit). Cover, make sure the steam valve is set to SEALING, and cook on HIGH pressure for 30 minutes. (It should take about 10 minutes for the multicooker to come to pressure.)

Release the pressure manually. Remove the pork belly from the multicooker and let it rest on a cutting board until cool enough to handle, 5 to 10 minutes.

Make the radish kimchi and cabbage: While the pork belly is cooking, in a medium bowl, toss the radish with 1 teaspoon of salt. Transfer to a colander set in the kitchen sink and let drain, until slightly limp, about 30 minutes.

While the radish is draining, in a large bowl, stir together the water and the remaining 1/4 cup of salt until dissolved. Add the cabbage leaves and toss in the brine until well coated. Stand the leaves up against the side of the bowl so the sturdier white parts are soaking directly in the brine and the leafier green parts are out of the brine. Let the cabbage sit like this until limp and pliable, 30 minutes. Drain well.

In the same bowl you used for the radish, whisk together the gochugaru, fish sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger until smooth. Add the drained radish and toss to combine.

Make the ssamjang: In a small bowl, stir together the doenjang, gochujang, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and garlic until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the scallions.

To assemble the dish, slice the pork belly into 1/4-inch-thick pieces and transfer it to a large platter, alongside the radish kimchi, salted cabbage leaves and ssamjang, and let everyone wrap their own cabbage bundles.


Stove top: In a large pot, combine the pork belly ingredients with 4 cups water, bring to a gentle boil, then cover and cook until the pork is tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

Recipe Source

From food writer Eric Kim.

Tested by Olga Massov.

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Nutritional Facts

Ingredients are too variable for a meaningful analysis.

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