Buta Kimchi (Pork and Kimchi Stir Fry)

Buta Kimchi (Jaeyook Bokkeum)

Whether it’s kimchi jigae, kimchi pasta, or kimchi pizza, you know that I have an affinity for all things kimchi and pork. Known as Jaeyook Bokkeum (재육볶음) in Korea, Buta Kimchi (豚キムチ) is the Japanese version of this amazing pork and kimchi dish, and can be found in izakayas (Japanese tapas bars) all over Japan.

The tart lacto-fermented kimchi, the garlic, the spiciness, and the creamy pork create a synergy of flavor in your mouth that’s impossible not to like. This makes it all the more interesting that it’s not just Asians that are into the pork and fermented cabbage combo. One of my favorite Alsatian dishes, for example, is Choucroute Garnie.

Perhaps the best thing about Buta Kimchi is that it comes together in under 30 minutes, and yet the complex flavors from the kimchi and pork give it a depth that will convince most people that the sauce took hours to make. Be careful though, it can become precariously addictive, especially if you pair it with an alcoholic beverage of your choosing (wine, shochu and beer all work). It’s so addictive that you’ll likely find yourself checking into a weight-loss center faster than you can say “more buta kimchi please.”

Buta Kimchi (Jaeyook Bokkeum)

Personally I’m not a fan of adding the mayo, and Koreans would probably shriek in horror if they saw this, but in Japan, a squirt of Kewpie mayo always accompanies this dish. I squirted some on for authenticity and then quickly regretted it soon after.

Buta Kimchi (Pork and Kimchi Stir Fry)

3 servings

1/2 pound sliced pork belly or ton torro
2 cups kimchi roughly chopped
1/2 onion thinly sliced
1 tablespoon gochujang
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 scallions thinly sliced
Kewpie Mayonaise (optional)

Note: Because the pork has plenty of fat in it already, there’s no need to oil the pan, just make sure it is very hot when the meat hits it and the fat that renders out of the meat will be plenty for the stir fry.

Heat a skillet or wok until very hot. Add the pork in a single layer and fry undisturbed until some fat has rendered out. scrape the pork off the pan and quickly stir fry until cooked. Transfer the meat to a plate and drain off all but a tablespoon of fat.

Add the kimchi, and onion and stir fry for a minute. Return the pork to the pan along with the gochujang and soy sauce then continue stir frying until the kimchi is cooked and the pork is tender. If your pork is sliced thicker than a few millimeters, you’ll probably need to cover it and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes to tenderize it. If there’s any extra liquid remaining at the bottom, turn the heat up to high and reduce until the sauce coats the meat and kimchi.

Drizzle with sesame oil, sprinkle with scallions and serve. If you want, you can squirt some Kewpie mayonaise on top.

  • Guest

    Hmm, that looks absolutely delicious and addictive indeed! I am leaving for Japan in 2 days and hopefully I will get to try this in an izakaya.

  • http://smalltownoven.wordpress.com/ Sharlene

    This is one of my boyfriend’s favorite Korean dishes (sans the mayo). I can’t wait to try it out!

  • http://simmerdownfood.com noëlle {simmer down!}

    What a coincidence, I was *just* gifted some homemade kimchi, and was thinking of making something with that and some cubed pork I have left over from trimming a leg for prosciutto. I was thinking of going more the stew route, but if I sliced the cubes a little thinner, this would probably work as well.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      WOW you’re making your own prosciutto? I wish I had space for projects
      like that.

      This dish works best with very fermented (sour) kimchi, so if the
      kimchi is fresh, it may be better to wait a few weeks.

  • http://vanillasugarblog.com vanillasugarblog

    oh marc seriously i need a huge plate of this. looks so darn good!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/malcolm.e.cook Malcolm Cook

    Oy! I have everything but the gochujang sitting in my kitchen, and guess what, I’m on dinner duty, so…. hmm… what can I substitue? Maybe a little black bean past, a squirt of sriracha, and a dab of molasses? I’m totally guessing here. Or…. do without…. since the oriental market is not on today’s beat (backand forth to work)….

    ^ my first comment – following for a while now – first and only food blog that’s got my eye (and stomach)) Thanks Marc. — Malcolm

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Here’s how I make my gochujang: 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chili
      flakes), 1 tablespoon miso, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon water, 1
      teaspoon salt, 1 small clove garlic finely grated. Hope that helps (or
      at least gives you an idea of how to make due:-)

      • http://www.facebook.com/malcolm.e.cook Malcolm Cook

        Excellent. Your recipe was reprieved a day till tonight and I’ve got a source for miso on my daily route… I’ll post again how it comes out…. Thx

  • Ninetteenrique

    I do love this dish so much, but I’ve only had it in Korean restaurants with lots of beer and incredible gorge fests. Yum.

  • Hanna

    Yup, the Korean in me is shrieking at the mayo. It’s interesting to read how the Japanese adapted this particular Korean dish.

    Thanks for posting another kimchi-based dish! Jaeyukbokkeum is a great, quick meal–just pair it with rice! (I usually need more green, so I’ll use shiso leaves to make little bite-size wraps.)

  • Chris

    ahhh, it’s delicious. but as a korean, i did wince a little when i saw the mayo. no worries though, haha. thanks for the sharing the recipe. i’m almost afraid to try it because of all the weight i’m going to put on…i know i’m going to get addicted. when i was in korea last summer, i put on weight quick from all the pork i ate, it’s just like really delicious bacon.

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  • http://twitter.com/feedthebf Peggy Labor

    This looks downright delicious! I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making kimchi, and maybe this is the dish to do it for!

  • sophist_roland

    One of the easiest and tastiest dishes I’ve made lately. Thanks for the idea!

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  • rita

    is there a substitute for gochujang? only because, that will cost me an arm and a leg here in germany. i.e., if it’s even avail. asian stores here are far and few between.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Check out the response I left for Malcolm Cook in the comments below.

  • tasteofbeirut

    One of these days you are going to get me to try this kimchi that I hear so much about!

  • http://www.tastewiththeeyes.com/ Lori Lynn

    Hi Marc – we just had a blast judging the Top Chef Korean Food Challenge in San Diego. I am addicted to Korean food now. Your dish looks fabulous, hold the mayo for me too. Before driving home after the event, we had to stop at a Korean market and pick up (several different tubs) gochujang. I simply cannot believe I did not experience this before! It is my new love, my Valentine’s love…hold the roses, give me gochujang!
    LL

  • http://twitter.com/DelishhhBlog Delishhh

    Love Korean food. After living in Korea for 5 years i need my cravings satisified now and then. Nice recipe, no mayo for me though.

  • http://twitter.com/umikim Lydia Kim

    oh definitely no mayo in the korean version… but i would wrap it in lettuce or perilla leaves

  • http://www.indochinekitchen.com Jun

    I bet this dish is best when paired with ice cold beer! Awesome recipe, Marc.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/BabyJane05 MaryJanette SanPedro

    i have all ingredients except the gochujang.. what is gochujang? where will i find this? thanks. i hope u can help me on this.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      It’s a korean seasoning paste that’s sweet and spicy. You should be
      able to find it at most asian food markets. If you can’t find it you
      can make an approximation with miso, honey, and korean chili powder.
      See this recipe:
      http://norecipes.com/blog/2010/09/22/vegetarian-bi-bim-bap-recipe/ but
      for use in the pasta, leave out the curry powder.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/tomsomething Tom Haflinger

    A friend of mine mentioned this dish recently, so I Googled it and found your recipe. Another friend had just recently told me about gochujang, so I figured this would be a great way to try it out. It was so delicious! It gave me an excuse to buy more kewpie mayonnaise. I tried it with this dish and wasn’t really feeling it, but I’ll have plenty of other uses for that floppy bottle of deliciousness.

    For anyone trying to get an idea of what gochujang tastes like, imagine if ketchup and raisons got together and had a spicy baby.

  • http://twitter.com/shethatisnau Jessica R-E

    Ohhh, I have kimchi & gochujang in the fridge, looks like I know what it’s going to be used in! I have onions, too, so all I need is the pork. I haven’t found red pepper flakes yet, otherwise I’d make a kimchi chigae with any leftover kimchi (if there is any). :D Yummy!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Where in Japan are you? I’ve found the Korean chili flakes at a few shops here in Tokyo.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-Robins-eads/1116844071 Jessica Robins-eads

        Not sure why it took me so long to see this; I’m in Chiba-Ken just outside of Tokyo. I found the flakes at a shop here in my small town after some scouring…if all else fails, I’m always happy to have a good excuse to take a field trip out to Shin-Okubo! I found the black bean paste necessary for jja-jjangmyun out there a month ago. Yum!

        • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

          Shin-Okubo is great for picking up Korean goods, but it’s a bit of a trek from Chiba-ken. There’s a small shop in Tsukiji that carries most Korean basics (including fresh ginseng for samgyetang). I’ve also found really basic items like gochujang and gochugaru in department store basements where they sell kimchi.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-Robins-eads/1116844071 Jessica Robins-eads

            Shin-Okubo is about an hour from my apartment with 2 train transfers. :) It’s too much of a journey for after work, but on a day off when I have the time to hit up a few different wards around the same train line, it’s not too bad. Any excuse to wander around Tokyo is generally a good thing, though in this summer heat it’s starting to get more challenging!

  • Kimchigreen

    In a few months we will be selling our Kimchi on-line for those of you who aren’t as adventuresome as some to actually take on the crazy task of making it yourself. Mrs. Kim has been making delicious Kimchi all her life and my brother and I thought we’d share our joy with Americans. Her brand will be called Kimchi Green. Follow us on Facebook, just search Kimchi Green. Thanks!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/cook62 Elmer E. Encinas

    You’re funny, Chef Marc…

  • driss

    hi i pick ur recipie for my company cos i feel it,even i dnt eat pork ,
    thnx

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  • http://poormankitchen.wordpress.com/ poormanskitchen

    hey marc,

    definitely going to give this a go tonight. i have a huge jar of homemade sour kimchi that has been fermenting for the perfect amount of time. i’m going to save some for kimchi-nabe in a few months, but a healthy portion is going to go towards this recipe.

    i have to say that i love your blog, and you are a never-ending source of inspiration for an amateur cook living in japan. keep up the awesome posts, i owe you one.

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!