Pork bone soup is one of my comfort foods and I finally took it off my cooking bucket list.
Our previous home was located in a Korean community. It was there that I discovered gamjatang at Owl of Minerva.
This restaurant is open 24 hours, so before T entered our lives, the hubby and I often went to satisfy 1 am pork bone soup cravings.
Korean culture has experienced a global renaissance – from “Parasite” being the first foreign language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars to the record-breaking success of the Netflix series, “Squid Game.”
The hubby introduced T to K-Pop. This catchy song below by BlackPink was on rotation during this summer’s roadtrips.
I love that T is growing up in a city with diverse cultures and has classmates from all around the world. This will enrich his life.
When I was a bit older than T is now, I invited a friend – who was Greek – for a sleepover and Ma made chicken adobo, a Filipino meat dish cooked in heavy soy sauce and vinegar.
I remember feeling very self conscious as I watched his curious reaction and had wished for pizza to feed him instead.
As an adult, I crave and proudly share my culture’s cuisine with the world.
I love discovering other types of cuisine too. While T is a picky eater, we expose him to them so he’ll get used to seeing and smelling them; hopefully, tasting more one day too!
Korean pork bone soup is a dish I’ve been wanting to make forever.
I’ve put it off because it seemed intimidating.
I’ve often written about how cooking is one of my self-care routines.
As people who cook will tell you, the process is often more rewarding than the end.
I enjoyed going to the Asian supermarket to hunt down my ingredients, like “Asian cuts” of pork neck bone and Korean condiments such as gochujang (chili pepper paste) and doenjang (soybean paste).
I love the meal prep process, when I first lay out the ingredients in a colorful spread.
It’s akin to the satisfying before and after of fixer upper renovation shows.
I first boiled the pork neck bone for 5 minutes to remove excess fat and then rinsed them in cold water.
I then laid the soup stock into the Instant Pot: 3 ginger slices, 6 cloves of crushed garlic, 4 stalks of green onion (white part), 1 onion quartered, 2 bay leaves, 2 tbsps of doenjang (soybean paste), 2 tbsp of fish sauce and 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce.
I layered the pork neck bone on top, added 7 cups of water and pressure cooked on high for 22 minutes.
While the Instant Pot then naturally released for 15 minutes, I prepared a mixture of 6 garlic cloves minced, 1/3 tbsp of ground black pepper and 2 tbsp of gochujang (chili pepper paste).
I opened the Instant Pot and then scooped this mixture into the boiling soup.
I added in potatoes (halved) and Napa cabbage into the soup and let it boil for 20 minutes, so the broth would thicken.
The hubby dug out a black ceramic bowl from storage in our basement, which we hadn’t used in many years.
I served my portion in this bowl and it looked like legit restaurant-served gamjatang!
While it wasn’t Owl of Minerva level, I was very happy with how it turned out! The meat melted off the bone.
Even the hubby, who normally dislikes meat on bone, enjoyed his dinner and complimented the taste of the broth.
It was a satisfying journey and outcome – and I felt better again.
As we enjoyed our soup, T calmly enjoyed a panda-shaped chocolate popsicle. The packaging was in Chinese text, so I’m counting that as exposing T to ethnic cuisine!
After the up-and-down week we had, it was a wonderful way to spend quality family time on a cool autumn Saturday evening.