Pork Kimchi Stir-Fry, known as Buta Kimchi in Japan, is a popular home-cooked dish made with thinly sliced pork, napa cabbage kimchi, and onions. It’s an easy and delicious weeknight meal ready in 20 minutes!
As you may already know, traditional Japanese food doesn’t have spicy dishes. Back then when I was growing up, foreign ingredients such as bell peppers, bok choy, zucchini, and avocado were not common at the supermarkets. But time has changed and Japanese cuisine has evolved with so many new flavors and spices.
Korean cuisine, in particular, has influenced how families eat at home in Japan. For example, kimchi has become a staple dish and there are many Japanese-style, milder Korean recipes that have taken the stage of Japanese dinner tables and in lunch boxes.
This Pork Kimchi Stir-Fry, or what we called Buta Kimchi (豚キムチ炒め), is now one of the popular home-cooked dishes and on the menu of izakaya restaurants.
3 Reasons to Keep Buta Kimchi Recipe in Your Back Pocket
- Super fast and easy! With minimal ingredients and one pan, you can get this quick stir-fry on the table in less than 20 minutes! You’ll love it for a delicious quick weeknight dinner.
- All pantry-friendly ingredients. I always store different kinds of thinly sliced meat in the freezer. They defrost faster than a big chunk of meat. I keep a jar or two of kimchi in my fridge to make Kimchi Nabe, Kimchi Noodle Soup, Kimchi Fried Rice, and of course, this recipe. The rest of the ingredients and condiments are all pantry staples for Japanese cooking.
- Flavorful and delicious. When you only have time for one simple dish to go with the rice, I highly recommend cooking something flavorful and savory. Spicy food is even better as it will wake up your senses. To speed things up, I suggest freezing some cooked rice in advance when you can. I always have a few containers of steamed rice saved for the hectic days. When they are reheated, it is just as fresh as freshly cooked rice! See how I store my rice here.
If you’re familiar with the Korean dishes, this recipe will remind you of the spicy pork stir-fry dish known as jeyuk bokkeum but Buta Kimchi is a much milder, simpler version.
How to Make Pork Kimchi Stir-Fry
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Thinly sliced pork belly
- Kimchi (well-fermented or fresh) – I recommend well-fermented kimchi for this dish, but if you’re not a kimchi fan, definitely try this with fresh kimchi!
- Green onions
- Seasonings: sake, soy sauce, kimchi juice from the kimchi jar, and roasted sesame oil
Overview: Cooking Steps
- Cut the kimchi, the onion, green onions, and thinly-sliced pork belly into smaller pieces.
- Stir-fry the pork, onion, green onion, and kimchi, and season with sake, kimchi juice, and soy sauce.
- Drizzle the sesame oil and serve hot.
3 Tips to Make the Best Pork Kimchi Stir-Fry
- Cut the onion into thin slices so that they will cook faster. Thinly-sliced onion is added after the pork is fully cooked and no longer pink. However, if you have (thick) onion slices, they require more time to cook, so add the onion while cooking the pork.
- Add sake (Japanese rice wine) to remove pork’s gamey odor. You will notice that we use sake frequently in Japanese cooking. When the alcohol in sake evaporates, it takes away any odor from the fish and meat. The fermented rice in the sake also leaves natural sweetness and umami to the food. You can substitute it with Chinese or Korean rice wine or dry sherry.
- Careful not to overcook the pork. Pork gets tough when it’s overcooked. That’s why thinly sliced pork belly is a great choice for stir-fry dishes as it has enough fat and doesn’t dry up easily. If you are going to use pork loin, for example, you may want to transfer the meat to a plate as soon as it’s no longer pink and add it back into the wok/pan when you mix everything together at the end.
What to Serve with Buta Kimchi
For a well-rounded dinner, buta kimchi is amazing as a main dish to go with rice, a side of veggie, and miso soup. Or you can serve it over rice as Buta Kimchi Don (rice bowl). It is even delicious as a topping over ramen. Give it a try!
Love Kimchi? Make These Delicious Kimchi Recipes!
Tableware from Musubi Kiln
I’ve partnered with a great ceramic online shop from Japan called Musubi Kiln. You will get 10% off with a coupon code JUSTONECOOKBOOK for your purchase. In this post, I’ve used:
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Pork Kimchi Stir-Fry (Buta Kimchi)
- ½ lb thinly-sliced pork belly (you can slice a block of pork belly on your own; you also may use thinly sliced pork loin)
- ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ⅛ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ½ lb kimchi (use Fresh Kimchi or traditional fermented kimchi; roughly 1½ cups for 2 servings)
- ½ onion (143 g, 5 oz for 2 servings)
- 2 green onions/scallions
- 1 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil
For the Seasonings
- 1 Tbsp sake (sake helps to remove the pork's gamey odor; you also can use Chinese rice wine or dry sherry, or otherwise, skip it)
- 1 Tbsp kimchi juice (it's the juice from the kimchi jar)
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp roasted sesame oil
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Prepare the Ingredients
- Cut the kimchi into smaller pieces with a knife or a pair of scissors.
- Cut the onion into slices ¼ inch (6.3 mm) thick.
- Cut the green onions into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces. If the white parts are too thick, cut them in half lengthwise.
- Cut the thinly sliced pork belly into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces.
- Season the pork belly slices with salt and pepper.
- Preheat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sesame oil, spread it evenly, and then add the pork belly slices.
- Stir-fry the pork with a blunt-end wooden spatula until it is no longer pink. If your pork belly has rendered too much fat, you can wipe off the excess oil in the pan with a paper towel.
- Add the onion slices and green onions to the pan.
- Stir-fry until the onions are slightly tender, about 2-3 minutes. Then, add the sake and mix well.
- Add the kimchi and stir to mix with the rest of the ingredients.
- Add the kimchi juice and soy sauce. Stir-fry until there is no liquid left in the pan, about 1 minute.
- Drizzle the sesame oil on top and mix it all together. Transfer the stir-fry to a serving plate or individual plates. Serve hot with steamed rice.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days and in the freezer for a month.