Gamjatang is a spicy Korean pork bone soup prepared by slowly simmering pork bones until soup is milky in consistency then seasoned with Korean seasonings like gochugaru and gochujang.
You might have recognised this dish if you have been into a Korean restaurant, that red soup broth that is served with pork bones and wilted cabbage, it is called Gamjatang. This spicy pork soup with hints of sweetness and lots of umami is seasoned with Korean spices like gochugaru, doenjang and gochujang which gives it that distinguished flavour. A popular soup dish in Korea where it is commonly served at homes and in restaurants.
Gamjatang originated in the southern Korean province of Jeolla, a place where is famed for its agriculture, where pigs are widely raised. During those days’ cattle were mostly used to help with ploughing the fields which means it’s quite a valuable commodity and was barely used for food. This explains this dish’s pork origin, since pigs during those days are a cheaper alternative for a protein source, they were slaughtered and used for feasts and special occasions.
Incheon harbour then opened around 1800’s and it began to develop as an international commercial port. During these days many people migrated to Seoul and its surrounding area from Jeolla Province. Constructions was everywhere and gamjatang become popular among them because it is cheap and nutritious, with its high fat content, this dish provided the right calories for these workers. Since then gamjatang became one of the iconic foods of Incheon. As time progresses, it’s not a laborers food anymore and it can be found in most Korean restaurants, and today we are making this soup here in Auckland and this is my take it.
In a large pot pour water halfway then bring it to a boil, once boiling blanch Napa cabbage. Remove from pot then rinse with cold water, set it aside.
Using the same pot and water, cook potatoes until tender, remove potatoes from the pot then set it aside.
Still in the same pot with the same water, add pork bones then parboil for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, drain pot then separate pork bones, rinse with running cold water to remove scum from the meat and bones surface. Set it aside.
Using a clean pot, pour 8 cups of water add the pork bones together with the onions, white section of the spring onions, garlic, ginger and black pepper. Bring it to a boil then simmer for 2 hours covered in low heat.
Sieve broth through a colander or strainer into another pot, separate and set aside the pork bones and broth, discard the rest.
In a bowl combine all seasoning ingredients then pour on the pot.
Add the reserved the pork bones, potatoes and Napa cabbage. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the green parts of the spring onions, mung bean sprouts and Chrysanthemum leaves, cook for 2 more minutes. Serve with steamed rice and kimchi.