A Tradition Has Begun & Pork Belly Ssäm

¡Buena suerte! Bonne chance! Lykke til! Also known as good luck! All over the world people ring in the new year by eating foods meant to bring prosperity and good fortune. We happened upon a list outlying ten different traditions, and decided we would eat all ten. A little extra luck couldn’t hurt.

Grapes: At midnight on New Years Eve, you munch on 12 grapes, one for every stroke of the clock.

Noodles: Long noodles bring long life. You have to get the entire noodle in your mouth before chewing. If you break it before, you have already messed up your luck and you might as well give up now!

Lentils : Eat them to bring good fortune to the new year. They grow while cooking symbolizing growing wealth. They also don’t require any soaking so you can cook them as they are.

Fish: Represents moving forward since fish swim forward and abundance because they swim in schools. I know I didn’t cook this but I had too many other things to do today. SMOKED SALMON COUNTS!

Greens: They are associated with wealth and economic prosperity. Since I added garlic they are also associated with funky breath.

Pomegranate: Mediterranean countries consume as they are associated with abundance. They are also fun to eat.

Citrus: The Chinese set out bowls of tangerines and oranges to promote luck and wealth.

Black-Eyed Peas: Their resemblance to coins represents prosperity.

I cooked them with the ham bone I froze from Thanksgiving and they came out superb! Thanks Shaunte for the tip!

Round Cakes: Resembling a coin also, most cakes have a hidden gem inside and bring extra luck to the person who gets it in their slice. We made Vassilopita, a Greek sponge cake. Write the upcoming year on top of the cake in almonds.

Choose your piece carefully ….

Pork: Many countries view pork as good luck due to the pig planting their feet firmly in the ground while pushing their snouts forward when eating. This shows progress and future prosperity. Follow me to the only pork recipe you will ever need for future prosperity.

Pork Belly Ssäm with Mustard Seed Sauce.

The day before you intend to create this master piece, you must prepare it. You will need:

3 pounds skinless pork belly

1/3 cup kosher salt

1/3 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Massage your belly nice and good. Oh yeah ….

Cover this with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning drain the bowl as there will be a lot of liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place belly in a pan.

Cook for 1 hour at 450  degrees. At the 30 minute and hour mark, baste the meat.

I can’t even begin to describe how lovely this smelled. Bacon times 50! After an hour of cooking, reduce heat to 250 degrees and cook for another 30 minutes. Once done remove from pan and let slightly cool. Wrap in foil and chill in the refrigerator. We will come back to this later to finish it up. Now let’s make the pickled mustard seeds. Yes, I said pickled!

1 cup yellow mustard seeds

1 1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp. kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Cook for 45 minutes. The seeds will get nice-n-fat. Store in a mason jar and cool.

30 minutes before you will be eating this dish, make the mustard seed sauce.

6 tbsp of the pickled mustard seeds, try not to get too much of the liquid or your sauce will be runny

3 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp hot Chinese mustard

3 tbsp mayonnaise

1 small bunch green onions both green and whites diced

2 cucumbers, diced


Combine all the ingredients.

Mix thoroughly.

Oh snap! This is the one of the best sauces I have ever tasted. It will probably be the same for you too if you dare to attempt making this treasure. Place in the refrigerator to chill and grab your pork belly. Fire up that grill baby!

Toast each side for 2 minutes and this is what you’ll get.

Slice into half inch pieces and serve wrapped in lettuce with a dollop of mustard seed sauce.

Now to sum up the good luck meal … here is my baby girls plate. Can you tell she wants some good luck this year too 🙂

This is now my new favorite holiday of the year and I can’t wait to do this with family and friends next year. We had so much food we ate lucky for 3 days!

Meal inspiration and facts from: http://www.delish.com/entertaining-ideas/holidays/new-years-eve/lucky-foods

Pork Belly Ssäm and Mustard Seed Sauce from David Chang’s book MomoFuku but brought to my attention from a food blog http://www.sodelushious.com I just had to taste this pork belly and it was everything I figured it would be. Now go make this wth are you waiting for!


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