Before I made dwaejigogibokkeum (spicy stir-fried pork), it had been a long time since I’d really cooked a meal. So long that I’d forgotten how relaxing and freeing I find the process. My thoughts race about so much that cooking is probably the closest I get to meditation. & yet, I think it’s amazing how cooking invokes all the senses. In that way, it invigorates me and reminds me of the most basic but most precious components of human life. Where would we be without our senses?
I love cooking dishes that challenge me. In the case of dwejigogibokkeum, my challenge was slicing the meat thinly. I couldn’t get a hold of pork belly, so used another cut of meat that I can’t remember the name of. I was actually ecstatic when I managed to cut it down to 1/4 inch slices, as directed in Maangchi’s recipe (that woman is amazing!), and with fairly even cuts at that. I should have taken a photo, but such is life.
I had to make some adjustments to Maangchi’s recipe to suit the availability of ingredients here. I couldn’t find green chillies anywhere, but had some cut-up red chilli that came with the Thai food I had delivered a while back. Also, all the fresh ginger I could find was sub-par, so I threw in a little (okay…a lot) of powdered ginger and hoped for the best. It’s the powdery stuff on top of the red stuff (gochujang) in the photo above.
Thankfully, it turned out delicious! I found the dwaejigogibokkeum very filling, and not as spicy as I was expecting (though if you’re not okay with spicy, you should probably reduce the amount of gochujang, or pass on this dish). I would recommend cutting the green onions like Maangchi does, in longer pieces, rather than into little bits like I did, since the sauce can drown out their presence if they’re cut too small.