(For those unfamiliar with cockney rhyming slang "telling porkies" means "telling lies")
Up until last night I believed that 보쌈 (Bossam) was steamed pork. I trusted those who explained the dish to me when I first had it and I trusted that wikipedia knew what it was talking about. I'd only ever eaten Bossam in restaurants (though I have consumed hundreds of platefuls over the years) and I'd never questioned the provenance of the English translation.
Last night my culinary world was rocked when my wife decided to make it at home for the first time. She knew the family recipe and when I got home she was busy putting the finishing touches to the meal. The side dishes were being put into bowls, the jjigae was on the stove and the pork was gently simmering in the pot... Wait? Simmering? Not steaming? As everything I knew crumbled around me, I sank to my knees and let out a scream of anguish. I had been lied to all this time. Bossam was not steamed, it was boiled!
My wife has mean knife skills and my photography is sometimes blurry! Yay!
It turns out that the recipes for Bossam in our Korean books all involving boiling the meat. My wife added 된장 (fermented soy bean paste), onions, spring onions, ginger and garlic to the water and then simmered the pork for about ninety minutes or so. It gave the meat a slightly khaki tinge and tasted delicious.
Side dishes were kept to a reasonable number. A selection of beansprouts, sweet potato shoots and pigweed (appropriate for a porky dish).
Plus the always popular dwenjang stew.
It was a supremely delicious meal and worth the crushing disappointment of finding out my culinary ignorance. Unfortunately we didn't have any fermented shrimp on hand (a superb addition to Bossam), but other than that the meal was perfect.
Remember kids: Bossam is boiled pork! Don't let them fool you!