An easy Spicy Korean Pork Bulgogi recipe made with thin slices of pork belly and a sweet gochujang sauce that can be served with a side of rice, wrapped in a lettuce or used in tacos!
Korean food (along with Thai food and Indian food) is one of the most flavorful foods I have ever come across in my life and is something that I love to eat often, so naturally I would learn to make it at home especially if it’s simple to make and can be made in less than 30 minutes (minus marinading time).
Korean spicy pork bulgogi is loaded with spicy and savory flavors from the gochujang paste and fish sauce but also has a balance of sweet in it as well from the mirin and the sugars. Its intense in flavor from the garlic, ginger and onion marinade and is absolutely delicious on top of some plain white rice to mop up that salty umami sauce.
INGREDIENTS FOR SPICY KOREAN PORK BULGOGI
- Pork – I like to use pork belly for this recipe, but this recipe also works with pork shoulder or pork butt as well.
- Gochujang (Korean Fermented Chili Paste) – There is no good substitute for this ingredient. So if it’s possible, try to find this at a Korean/Asian grocery store or online since it is the main flavor for this dish. It also keeps very well in the fridge – just make sure that once you open it, seal it back up very well so that it doesn’t dry out. (I like to use plastic wrap under the lid with an elastic, and then put the plastic lid back on top)
- Gochugaru (Korean Chili Flakes) – If you can’t find this, you substitute it with cayenne pepper but in half the amount. You can also omit or use half the amount if you don’t want your spicy Korean pork bulgogi to be too spicy.
- Cooking Wine (mirin) – Mirin is slightly different than Chinese cooking wine because it is sweet in flavor so it cannot be substituted with Chinese cooking wine. If you cannot find Mirin at your Asian grocery store, you can substitute it by mixing either dry sherry or sake with 1 teaspoon of sugar.
- Soy Sauce/Fish Sauce – Personally like using fish sauce for this recipe because I find it more flavorful but you can substitute it for soy sauce as well.
SLICE THE PORK THIN
To be able to slice the pork thinly, keep the pork belly in the freezer for 45 minutes to an hour. This will firm up the meat and make it a lot easier to slice the meat thinly. If your pork belly comes with skin, remove the skin before freezing it.
Once the pork has been sliced thinly, place it all in a bowl and marinate it for 2-3 hours in the fridge.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO ENJOY PORK BULGOGI
- The quickest way to enjoy this is to serve it with some white rice to mop up the spicy sauce from the pork belly.
- If you’re feeling a bit fancy or you have guests, you can also enjoy this as a lettuce wrap as well! I like to use green leaf lettuce, and sometimes with a perilla leaf as the wrap. Once you have the lettuce laid out, you can add a bit of rice, green onions and a piece of Spicy Korean Pork Bulgogi and wrap it and then eat it!
- This spicy Korean pork also goes well in tacos! If you’re having a taco night, use this as the protein instead and top it with your usual taco toppings! (I like to add lime pickled red onions, sour cream and a bit of cheese)
LOOKING FOR MORE KOREAN RECIPES? TRY THESE!
- Korean Corn Cheese (Elote Style)
- Korean Glass Noodles (Japchae / Chapchae)
- Spicy Kimchi Tofu Stew (Kimchi Jjigae)
- Stir-Fried Kimchi Rice Cakes
DID YOU MAKE THIS SPICY KOREAN PORK BULGOGI?
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Spicy Korean Pork Bulgogi
- 1 1/2 lb 650g pork belly (or pork shoulder/pork butt)
- 3 stalks green onions (cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks, including the whites)
- 2 tablespoons garlic (grated, approximately 5-6 cloves)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon ginger (grated, approximately 1 inch of ginger)
- 1 medium onion
- 3 1/2 tablespoons gochujang
- 1 tablespoons soy sauce (or 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce)
- 2 tablespoons honey (or sugar)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons mirin cooking wine
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes - Optional, if you like it spicy)
- Remove the root end of the green onion and cut them into 1 1/2 inch long chunks (including the whites of the green onions). Slice the thicker, white ends length wise again so it that it is the same thickness as the greens.
- If your pork belly comes with skin, remove the skin and discard it.
- Freeze the pork belly for 1 hour. This will make it easier to slice thinly. If you are using a larger cut of meat like a pork shoulder, you may need to freeze it for a longer period of time.
Marinate the Pork Belly
- Peel the garlic, slice the ginger and cut the onion into 1 inch cubes.
- In a food processor, blend the garlic, ginger and onion together into a paste. (You can also grate it by hand if you don't have a food processor.) Place the blended garlic, ginger and onion in a large bowl.
- Add the ingredients under 'Marinade' into the bowl with the garlic, ginger and onion and mix everything together.
- Remove the pork belly from the freezer and thinly slice it. I like to slice it approximately 1/8 inch or thinner.
- Add the pork belly into the marinade and mix everything well. Marinade it in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour (the longer you marinade it, the more flavorful it will be).
Cooking the Spicy Korean Pork Bulgogi
- Set the stove on high heat and set a non-stick frying pan or a high walled pot (to prevent splatter) on the stove and add a bit of oil into it.
- Once the oil is hot, add the pork belly in the pan (including any extra marinade, this will be the sauce)
- Pan fry on high heat for 8-11 minutes. Pork belly splatters quite a bit, so be careful or wear an apron to prevent staining on your clothes.
- Once the pork belly is cooked, turn off heat, add green onions and mix the onions around to let the heat wilt it.
3 Different Ways to Serve This
- The quickest way to enjoy this is to serve it with white rice.
- You can also share this and have it as lettuce wraps! Set out a pile of green leaf lettuce, some white rice and if you can find it, some perilla leaves. You can add a bit of rice, green onions and a piece of Spicy Korean Pork Bulgogi to the lettuce and wrap it and then eat it!
- This spicy Korean pork also goes well in tacos! If you're having a taco night, use this as the protein instead and top it with your usual taco toppings! (I like to add lime pickled red onions, sour cream and a bit of cheese)
- I like to use pork belly for this recipe, but this recipe also works with pork shoulder or pork butt as well.
- If you can't find gochugaru (Korean Chili Flakes), you substitute it with cayenne pepper but in half the amount. You can also omit or use half the amount if you don't want your spicy Korean pork bulgogi to be too spicy.
- Mirin is slightly different than Chinese cooking wine because it is sweet in flavor so it cannot be substituted with Chinese cooking wine. If you cannot find Mirin at your Asian grocery store, you can substitute it by mixing either dry sherry or sake with 1 teaspoon of sugar.
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