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Vegan Bossam Recipe

December 10, 2010

vegan bossam

Bossam is a dish that Koreans traditionally ate on kim-jang-nal (the day your family makes kimchi). As we’ve mentioned earlier, the family sets a whole day to make kimchi, and at the end of the day when work is over, people get together for a Bossam dinner.

Bossam is originally a pork dish. You eat it like bulgogi – so you wrap it like a small taco, with napa cabbage, radish kimchi and pork. It’s actually such a popular dish in Korea, there are Bossam restaurants everywhere. The most popular and biggest chains are, Nol-boo’s Bossam and Grandma Won’s Bossam.

Whenever we go to Seoul, Bill always points to those restaurants (since they are everywhere) and asks me, “What kind of food do the have there?”. So, after getting that question from Bill multiple times, I decided that I would make something similar, just to show him what it is like.

It’s a rather simple dish with a simple flavor, as it’s basically using the leftover kimchi stuffing (with several other ingredients added) and napa cabbage from making kimchi to wrap the meat alternative. But I just love the combination of the slightly cooked/boiled napa cabbage and the refreshing kimchi stuffing!

Vegan Bossam Recipe (Serves 4)

Main Ingredients:

1/2 large daikon/ Asian radish

1/4 napa cabbage

1 block of seitan or tempeh (with 1Tbs of soy sauce)

Kimchi Stuffing Ingredients:

2 tbsp garlic, minced

2 tsp ginger, minced

1 green onion, chopped

1/2 asian pear cut into matchsticks

3 chopped up, soaked shitake mushroom

15 pine nuts and 3 thinly sliced chestnuts (are best, but substitute with other nuts if you need to)

1/4 cup red pepper powder

2 tbsp raw cane sugar

1 tsp kelp powder

1/4 tsp black pepper power


1. Cut radish into matchsticks and add 2 tbsp of salt and leave for 30 minutes.

2. When wilted, wash twice and squeeze. Add the sauce ingredients and mix well. (It will taste better if you let it sit in the fridge overnight.)

3. Slightly boil the napa cabbage until just wilted. Rinse in water and drain well. If you don’t have a big enough pot, dip each end  and then the middle in boiling water until slightly wilted.

4. Slice (normally into 2x2inch blocks, but size doesn’t really matter) and cook seitan or tempeh. The traditional way is to steam the “pork” without any flavoring, but steamed seitan or tempeh does not have much flavor, so I pan fry it with a drizzle of soy sauce. I used homemade seitan here in the pictures.

5.  Serve with rice and banchan!

bossam radish marinating

Here is the radish sitting while the flavors soak in.

inserting top 1/4 of napa cabbage into boiling water

Dipping each end of the cabbage in the water here, but if you have a large pot, you can just dip the whole cabbage in. Remember, you just want to slightly boil until wilted and then run cold water over it. Don’t overcook it!

vegan bossam

Wrapped in the cabbage and ready to eat! (If you let the radish sit overnight, it’ll be even better.)

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