This photo essay is a recipe for jeyuk deopbap (제육덮밥), which Naver English Dictionary loosely translates as "a bowl of rice topped with pork." Jeyuk deopbap is one of the most under-appreciated Korean foods. While foreigners and people outside of Korea are gobbling up bibimbap, drinking soju and makgeolli, etc., jeyuk gets ignored. I have eaten at Korean restaurants in Japan where jeyuk is not even on the menu. Perhaps the reason it is ignored outside Korea is because it is normally so spicy (it is supposed to contain cheongyang chili peppers, which are spicier than regular red chili peppers). Well, for someone who likes spicy food, let me tell you, jeyuk is great. It was one of my favorite foods in Korea, and I often ordered it from my local Kimbap Cheonguk for ₩3,500.

Jeyuk is expensive outside of Korea. My favorite Korean restaurant here in Japan charges an expensive ¥1,200 for jeyuk and some rice. Therefore, yesterday, I decided to learn how to make it myself and bought the ingredients. Today, I made it for the very first time. I do not claim to be an expert on how to make jeyuk, but I gathered the 16 ingredients and followed the instructions on this page as well as I could, and the result was jeyuk that was not just edible, it was actually quite delicious.

If you follow this recipe, you can make it, too. I will explain it in plain English.

Basically, the recipe has these four major parts:

  1. Part I: Gathering the ingredients from a supermarket or wherever
  2. Part II: Boiling the meat in water with a few of the ingredients
  3. Part III: Making yangnyeomjang (seasoning paste)
  4. Part IV: Mixing the boiled meat with the yangnyeomjang and frying it up in a frying pan, adding in the vegetables/chili peppers and any other ingredients that are necessary

Part I: Ingredients

In order to make it easier to get the ingredients, those ingredients that are Korea-specific will be labeled in both English and Korean. Just print this out and show the clerk.

This recipe serves about three people. I recommend serving it on top of rice, and have kimchi, such as ggakdugi, on the side, and/or other Korean side dishes.

  • ~400 grams of pork (neck meat recommended)
  • 1 onion
  • ½ carrot
  • 1 chili pepper (the original recipe just calls for one, but Korean chili peppers are big, so I used seven very small ones instead)
  • 1 cheongyang (청양고추) chili pepper (note: this ingredient is very, very spicy, and I know that some Korean restaurants make it with regular chili peppers, leaving the cheongyang chili pepper out)
  • Cheongju (청주, 清酒) (alcohol, a small quantity only)—since only a little bit is required, the type of cheongju does not matter much. I used Japanese sake. Many types of sake in Japan are labeled "清酒," which is read as "cheongju" in Korean hanja. My jeyuk tasted fine, so I think it was okay to use low-grade sake.
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of gochujang (고추장)
  • 2 tablespoons of chili pepper powder
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped spring onions or Welsh onions (the recipe calls for only one tablespoon, but then goes onto mention two steps in the recipe in which a tablespoon of spring/Welsh onions have to be added)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic (see above—the original Korean recipe lists only one tablespoon in the ingredients, yet two seem to be required)
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger juice (I did not know where to find ginger juice, so I just chopped up ginger really finely, crushed it up, and added a bit of water, and that worked) (as with above, the recipe only calls for half a tablespoon, but then tells the cook to put in ½ a tablespoon twice during the recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar (I did not have any sugar around my apartment except for one packet from an airplane, which was probably less than two tablespoons, but that did the trick)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil

Part II: Boiling the Meat with Some of the Ingredients

1. Chop the pork into strips like these. However, please keep in mind, my strips were a bit too thick. It was okay (they still tasted good), but jeyuk at a Korean restaurant has thinner strips. Please note that I had 21 strips like the ones you see above. They just are not in this picture.

The original Korean recipe, by the way, states that you can make jeyuk with leftover samgyeopsal. I have not tried this.

2. Chop up the garlic until you have two tablespoons' worth (my garlic appears to have been sprouting a little bit, but that was okay).

My Substitute for Ginger Juice—Finely Chopped, Crushed Ginger with a Bit of Water

1 Tablespoon of Chopped Spring Onions

3. Add one tablespoon of chopped garlic, the ½ tablespoon of ginger juice, and 1 tablespoon of chopped spring/Welsh onions to the meat in a frying pan.
4. Fill up the pan with water (so the meat is submerged). Make sure the meat and the things I just told you to put in are mixed around. Boil it until all the meat turns from red to gray. Then drain off the water, being careful not to lose anything from the frying pan except the water.

Part III: Making the Yangnyeomjang (양념장)

Apparently, every Korean household has a different recipe for yangnyeomjang. I used the one from the Web site (see first few paragraphs).

5. To make yangnyeomjang, mix 3 tablespoons of gochujang, 2 tablespoons of chili pepper powder, 1 tablespoon of chopped spring/Welsh onions, 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic, and ½ of a tablespoon of ginger juice (see above for the substitution that I made for this). Oh, and also mix in two tablespoons of soy sauce, two tablespoons of sugar (less is probably okay), and one tablespoon of sesame oil. Mix all this around. My batch looks more brown than the original Korean recipe's author's (which was red), but the taste ended up being okay, so I think it is no big deal. I think mine was much darker because my gochujang was darker.

6. Mix the pork that you already cooked with the yangnyeomjang. It is best to let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or more, but it is also okay not to do this if time is of the essence. Right about now, it should really be starting to look like Korean food:

Part IV: Mixing the Ingredients Together and Frying Them in a Frying Pan

7. Chop up the ½ a carrot into very long, thin strips like the picture to the left. Chop up the other vegetables, as well—the onion, the chili pepper(s), and the cheongyang chili pepper.

Optionally, you can add even more chopped spring/Welsh onions, or Chinese cabbage (baechu, 배추), though I will note that I did not do this myself, and in fact think that Chinese cabbage in jeyuk is a little strange.

8. Fry up the meat and the yangnyeomjang together in the frying pan. Keep stirring them.

9. Add in the vegetables and chili peppers. Throw in the salt, the pepper, and the cheongju (just a little bit) at this point, too. Keep frying until everything is well-cooked.

10. Put it on rice to make jeyukdeopbap. Enjoy your meal! I did not have a large plate or bowl, so I used a plastic tray: