Pork wraps

Bo-ssam 보쌈

Today’s recipe is bo-ssam, a traditional Korean recipe that’s a pouch full of delicious stuff! It’s super-tender flavorful pork, hot red spicy oyster radish, and subtly flavored fermented shrimp wrapped in a crispy pickled cabbage leaf. It’s a dish that many of my readers and viewers have requested, and one of my favorites, too. My version is one that I’ve refined over the years, that took a totally unexpected turn when I lived in Missouri.

The Korean community there held potluck parties regularly, and everybody brought their best dishes. Once a lady brought her bo-ssam, and it had a rich brown color, unusual for boiled pork, and an irresistible, unplaceable porky flavor. I asked her how she did it, and she told me her secret: instant hazelnut coffee. I’ve been using her trick ever since. As it turns out, hazelnut coffee goes well with pork, and mixes well with all the other bo-ssam ingredients.

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This recipe is not easy: there are a lot of steps for each ingredient, and you need to take care of all of them. The cabbage needs to be turned over often, the oysters shouldn’t be squeezed, and the pork needs to be tended to while it boils.

But the result is fantastic, and delicious. It’s also one of the recipes that made it into my cookbook. The word ssam literally means “wrapped” and refers to a tradition in Korean cuisine where small amounts of ingredients are wrapped in a larger ingredient (usually a vegetable, but not always) to create a single delicious morsel.

Some Koreans add ssamjang to the recipe, but it’s too salty for me. The shrimp sauce is unskippable, not only because it goes well with the pork, but it helps digest it well, too. If you are really pressed for time and need to leave something out, it can be the oyster salad and the pickled cabbage. Just serve pork, shrimp sauce, kimchi and rice, and maybe some lettuce.

The oyster radish salad in this recipe can stand on its own as a banchan (side dishes), even if you don’t make bo-ssam. Use 15-17 fresh shucked oysters if you can’t find frozen.

Ingredients

For cabbage

  • 1 pound napa cabbage leaves, washed and drained
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water

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For pork

  • 3 pounds pork belly (or pork shoulder), rinsed and drained
  • 1 large onion, cut into quarters or sliced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, sliced thinly
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons Korean fermented soybean paste (doenjang)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant hazelnut-flavored coffee
  • 10 cups water

hazelnut-coffee

For oyster radish salad

For shrimp sauce

Directions

For cabbage

  1. Combine sugar, vinegar, salt, and water in a large bowl. Mix well until it turns into a clear pickle brine.
  2. Add the cabbage and mix well by hand.
  3. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then mix well and turn it over so the leaves pickle evenly. Repeat this every 10 to 15 minutes for 1 to 2 hours until the cabbage gets soft and withered.
  4. Squeeze out the excess water and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For pork

  1. Add the pork, onion, ginger, garlic, soy bean paste, brown sugar, hazelnut coffee powder, and the water to a large pot. Cover and cook for 1 hour over medium high heat.
    bossam (pork wraps: 보쌈)bossam (pork wraps: 보쌈)
  2. When it boils vigorously, turn the pork over with a wooden spoon or tongs.
  3. After 1 hour of boiling, turn down the heat to low and cook for another 15 minutes.
  4. Take out the cooked pork and let it cool down until ready to serve.bossam (pork wraps: 보쌈)

For spicy oyster radish salad

  1. Cut the radish into matchsticks and put them into a bowl. Mix with the salt and let it sit for 10 minutes.bossam (pork wraps: 보쌈)
  2. Squeeze out the excess water and put it back into a bowl.
  3. Take the oysters out of the fridge and wash and drain.
  4. Create a seasoning mixture by combining hot pepper flakes, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and green onion in a bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the seasoning mixture to the radish and mix well by hand. Add the oysters and mix it gently. Add the sesame seeds.
    bossam-oysters

 bossam (pork wraps: 보쌈)

For shrimp sauce

  1. Combine the fermented salted shrimp, sugar, hot pepper flakes, green onion, garlic, and water in a small bowl. Mix it well with a spoon. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
    saeujeot-sauce

Ready to serve!

  1. Slice the pork into 1/8 inch thick pieces. Put them on a large platter.
  2. Add the cabbage, spicy oyster radish salad, and shrimp sauce side by side nicely. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and serve.
  3. Koreans often serve with Korean booze: soju, makgeolli, or even beer in a pinch. Children should have Coke. ; )
    bossam (pork wraps: 보쌈)

How to eat ssam-style

  1. Put a leaf of pickled cabbage on your palm (or on a small plate if it’s easier).
  2. Add a piece of pork to the leaf, as well as some oyster radish salad, and a tiny amount of shrimp sauce. You should make it small enough so that it will fit into your mouth all at once.
  3. Wrap the leaf into a small pouch and eat it whole.
  4. Go back to step 1, and modify the amount of each ingredient, as you like, or not.

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46 Comments:

  1. jonathanmay2003 New York City joined 5/17 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

    I couldn’t find the brand of frozen oysters you listed in your ingredients, so I bought the one in the picture instead. Will it be okay to eat this raw, too?

    Thank you!

    Jonathan


    See full size image

  2. HappyLynnie Philippines joined 11/16 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! I was wondering if the oyster radish salad and the cabbage can be made a few days ahead? How long do they keep in the fridge? Especially the radish salad (I don’t really have access to fresh or frozen oyster right now so will have to make do without it).

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,724 comments

      You can make the oyster radish salad one day in advance. Any longer than that, it will be safe to eat but won’t look very good. I recommend you make it the day before. You can make the cabbage any time and then keep it in the fridge for a few days.

  3. dimz224 Manila joined 6/16 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi!

    I will be joining a cooking contest and will be cooking Bossam. I would just like to know whether I can use pressure cooker for the pork? And how much time would it take for the pork to be tender in the pressure cooker?

    Thank you!

    Regards,
    Marc

    • sanne Munich joined 8/14 & has 202 comments

      Yes. I do that regularly.
      The meat should be submerged in the liquid, but 10 cups may be too much (less evaporation with the cooker!) – don’t reduce the other ingredients!
      1/3 of the usual time – it depends on the kind of pork you’re using; organically grown pork takes surprisingly longer. Try it before the contest!
      For the mentioned 15 minutes in Maangchi’s recipe: Turn off the heat and let the pressure go down by itself.

      Good luck!

      Bye, Sanne.

    • moonstar San Jose, ca joined 8/16 & has 1 comment

      Hi Marc,

      Were you able to try out the recipe on a electric pressure cooker? If so, how much water did you put in and how much time did you cook it for?

  4. Kimichi Australia joined 5/16 & has 1 comment

    Hi! Can I replace the Hazelnut coffee with something else? Or is it not necessary in the recipe, I tried to find that brand of hazelnut coffee and I can’t find it.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,724 comments

      When I make bossam, hazelnut coffee is very important to me. You can make bossam with it or without it and compare the difference. Check out a Korean grocery store. This is a list of Korean stores in Australia. https://www.maangchi.com/shopping/australia
      If you still can’t find it in your area, I think normal coffee powder can be used. It’s better than nothing. Good luck!

  5. nikkernoodle joined 1/16 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I just made it yesterday and absolutely loved it! The spicy radish side dish paired perfectly with the meat and the pickled cabbage leaves. I was so excited to try bo-ssam, as I have never had it before but have seen it online quite a bit, and your recipe was easy to follow and turned out delicious. Thank you again!

  6. cecile joined 11/15 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, I tried the pork wrap 2 times already. 1st time I did not make the oyster salad. It was not very spicy. Maybe because I made a mistake of using hot chili powder. But it made me eat over and over and over again. On the second time, I made the oyster salad. It was thanksgiving. No one ate the oyster salad because the say it can destroy stomach (like lose bowel). But they ate all the rest of it. I tasted the pork warp with the oyster sauce only one time. It taste odd to me. But maybe because we do not eat raw oyster. The oyster salad that I made is now in the freezer. What else can I do with it?
    Can I use fish instead of oyster?

  7. HAS Australia joined 6/10 & has 8 comments

    hi maangchi, can I use pressure cooker to boil the pork belly?

  8. Lynnjamin New York joined 11/14 & has 31 comments

    Is Maangchi affecting what we can find in the grocery store? Yes! This is an obscure product at the grocery store. Suddenly, when this recipe was posted, it is in a PROMINENT spot, right near the cash register. It was never there before!


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  9. noah0308 joined 5/15 & has 2 comments

    Maangchi,
    I don’t know what is it in English(see the pic)
    Would you please share the recipe by using this and chicken to make a soup?


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  10. Cutemom Indonesia joined 3/13 & has 79 comments

    Hi, Maangchi ssi,

    My korean friend made this dish 2 years ago when i dug out my kimchi from the back of my fridge. She said that it would great for making bossam. That kimchi was 1,5 years old. It was really good with the pork she made.

    I recently make this recipe but i only got 1 year old kimchi. It tasted just as good. Are we supposed to make this to use up old kimchi or should we just use the pickled cabbage? I tried both old kimchi and your pickled cabbage. They each have different flavor.

    Please enlighten the non korean me.
    Thank you,

    Ima

  11. Khoolaine joined 5/15 & has 3 comments

    Dear Maangchi,
    by the way, is the dish too spicy because my hubby and I cant take too spicy food.Can I reduce the amount of the hot pepper flake?

  12. Khoolaine joined 5/15 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi!!! I’ve been watching your channel for really long time. I just register an account here just to comment and to thank you. I always get compliment when I made your dishes. I also use your recipe to teach my students in my school. I always tell others that you are my teacher. Thanks for your kindness in sharing your recipe.

  13. maytonej joined 5/15 & has 2 comments

    This looks sooo good, I would love to make it. However my family cannot eat pork, is there any way I can make it using a different type of meat or would that just ruin the whole point of the dish?

  14. Tosin_Oc London, UK joined 3/15 & has 40 comments

    OMG I have to try this!! It’s got everything I love, raw oysters, pork belly, napa cabbage yuuuuuuummmy!!! I’ll make it on our fish market day on the 16th of May when I can get super fresh oysters! And low carb too yay!

  15. aussie_beginner joined 5/15 & has 1 comment

    I can’t wait to try this out, this is my favourite dish to order at the Korean restaurant, thank you so much Maangchi! I’m allergic to shrimp so what can I make to replace it?

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