Kimchi jeon – Kimchi pancakes

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If you like kimchi, then this is the pancake for you! When your kimchi has passed its prime (and you will know when this is by merely opening the fridge), this recipe is a great way to use it up.

Kimchi and Koreans are synonymous.  You rarely have one without the other.  Koreans eat kimchi with almost every meal, make almost every vegetable into a form of kimchi and add kimchi to almost everything they eat, even pancakes!

Now I admit that it has taken me some time to acquire a taste for this spicy fermented cabbage. I do still prefer it fresh and young (as opposed to aged and old) or cooked up with something else.  In this recipe, the intensity of the cabbage and the spice is reduced when it is fried.  The seasoned batter and the crispy outside are irresistible. After all, I can’t pass up a pancake.  (See my professed devotion to them here.)

The recipe:

How long it takes: prep time: 5 minutes   cook time: 10 minutes

Yield: 12 small pancakes or 4 big pancakes

What you need:

  • I 1/2 cup chopped kimchi
  • 2 – 3 eggs (depending on how the chickens have been laying)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup liquid (water and kimchi juice)
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • oil for frying

The how to:

  • mix all the ingredients together well
  • heat oil in the frying pan on medium high
  • ladle batter into the pan and try to flatten it out as much as you can
  • flip when the bottom is browned and pressed down on the pancake to ensure the kimchi gets cooked
  • continue to fry, flip and flatten until the pancake is browned and crispy
  • serve hot and enjoy with soy sauce or dipping sauce.

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“Grr… can’t wait to sink some teeth into those pancakes!”

 


Hobuk jo rim – Zippy zucchini side dish

zippy zucchini

Want a zucchini recipe that will knock your socks off?  This tangy Asian inspired dish is it! Salty sweet with a little bit of heat and that unassuming vegetable is now the star of the show!

My older sister makes a fabulous version of this with beans but my family doesn’t prefer beans.  Zucchini, on the other hand, is a popular vegetable in this house and I find a way to include it in most meals.  Korean cooking utilizes zucchini as well, but this recipes takes it up a notch! Give it a try.

The recipe:

The time you need: 10 minutes

The things you need:

  • 1 medium – large zucchini
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 sweet chili sauce
  • red pepper flakes (optional)

The how to:

  • slice the zucchini into medallions
  • mix together in a bowl the soy sauce, brown sugar, sweet chili sauce and red pepper flakes
  • heat up the oil in a wok
  • saute the ginger and garlic until just browned
  • add the zucchini and stir fry on medium to high heat for 3 or 4 minutes
  • add the combined sauce and cover to coat, stir frying for another 1-2 minutes
  • serve and garnish with sesame seeds

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My brown pumpkins with green pumpkins.

Dwaeji Bulgogi – Spicy Korean pork

spicy korean pork

This spicy pork is yummy! It is marinated in a spicy red pepper sauce and served in crisp lettuce leaves.  It is my favourite way to eat pork.

I am always nervous when making spicy food. Is it spicy enough? Is it too spicy? Will it make my guests ears burn and have them guzzling water? Will my Yobo find it too mild? Will the kids be able to handle the heat?

As a result, I am forever second guessing myself when I am making it.  Should I add more spice?  Should I add more of all the other ingredients in the sauce to make it less spicy? Should I cook it really long to calm down some of the heat?  Should I start over?

But this fabulous dish is worth all the anxiety!

The recipe:

How much time you need:

prep: 10 mins (+ marinating time) cooking: 20 mins

What you need:

  • 1 lb thinly sliced pork belly / side
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  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 3 or 4 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot thickly sliced
  • lettuce leaves washed (for serving)
  • 3 tbsp gojujang (red pepper paste)
  • 1 tsp gojugaru (red pepper flakes) – to adjust the heat increase or omit these flakes
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

The how to:

  • mix together in a bowl the last 8 ingredients
  • cut the pork belly into pieces (2 – 2.5 inches long)
  • add the onions and carrots to the pork
  • combine all the ingredients making sure all the pork is well coated
  • allow to sit as long as you have time (the longer the better).  Since I usually decide what I am having for dinner at 5pm, my pork doesn’t get to marinate as long as I would like.
  • there are three options for cooking this that are all delicious.
  1. heat a pan on medium high heat and fry the pork (no need to add oil to the pan as it is a fatty pork). Fry until all the pork is cooked and the sauce starts to caramelize
  2. preheat the oven at 400f. Heat a skillet on medium high heat and quickly fry the pork for 5 minutes or so. Cover with foil and transfer the skillet to the oven to cook for 45 minutes or so.  Check on it occasionally to ensure it isn’t burning on the bottom
  3. barbeque!
  • serve with lettuce leaves and rice

Say “kimchi”!

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Recipe from www.koreanbapsang.com

Top 10 ingredients in Korean cooking

There was much debate on what should make the list, let alone what order they should come in.  So if you are wanting to do some Korean cooking, these are the ten things you should have in your pantry or fridge (in no particular order since we couldn’t agree):

1. Short grain or medium grain rice

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We buy 40 lb bags in our house.

2.Garlic

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Lots and lots of garlic.  Apparently Koreans are called the Italians of Asia and it is reflected in their consumption of this bulb.

3. Soy sauce

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Many people have commented on how often soy sauce is featured in Korean recipes.

4. Green onions

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5. Gojujang (spicy red pepper paste) / Goju garu (spicy red pepper flakes)

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They like it spicy!

6. Sesame oil

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7. Sesame seeds

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They garnish almost everything in these little guys.

8. Tofu

9. Soy bean paste

10. Kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage)

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Technically not an ingredient on its own, but as it is used as one in so many dishes, it deserves a place on this list.

There you have it.  Now you are all set!

 

 

Dolsot bibimpap – Stone pot mixed rice dish

bibampap

My yobo’s hometown Jeonju is famous for bibimpap.  When Koreans can’t understand my pronunciation of the city (for I fear I have a terrible accent when I speak Korean), I always mention this dish.

Jeonju, not to be mistaken with Jeongju, Jinju, or Jeju is the home of this fabulous mixture of rice, vegetables, hot sauce and an egg.  There is a cold version of this that is served in the summer but I really like the rendition cooked up in a hot pot.

There are lots of really complicated bibimpap recipes out there, some taking up to 3 hours to prepare.  I am about easy Korean food, and who has that much time to whip up dinner anyways?  I don’t know if this recipe would be Jeonju recommended, but my yobo from Jeonju approves!

The recipe:

The time you need: prep time: 25 minutes (includes cooking rice)    cooking time: 10 minutes

The things you need: (for 6 servings)

  • 5 cups cooked rice
  • cucumbers (sliced thinly)
  • carrots (sliced thinly)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • lettuce (shredded)
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • egg
  • (optional) mushrooms or peppers sliced thinly
  • garlic
  • soy sauce
  • ginger
  • sugar
  • pepper
  • 3 tbsp gojujang sauce (Korean red pepper sauce)
  • vinegar
  • sesame seeds

The how to:

  • heat the stone bowls in the oven at 400 F
  • blanch and squeeze the spinach then season with 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon garlic
  • brown the ground beef with 1 tbsp garlic, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and pepper
  • mix together gojujang with 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar
  • arrange all the vegetables on a large plate for easy assembly
  • set the table with individual pot holders to prevent burning your table or table cloth

The big moment:

  • heat an element on high
  • with oven mitts (important!) take a bowl out of the oven and place on the element
  • pour in 1 tbsp sesame oil on the bottom of the pot and allow to heat for a few seconds
  • scoop in 3/4c – 1c of cooked rice, top with 2 tbsp (ish) of each vegetable and 1/4c of the beef mixture
  • scoop as much of the spicy gojujang as desired
  • crack an egg on top of it all
  • sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve!
  • now the dish is called mixed vegetables so mix it all up and as you do so the hot dish will cook the egg.

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The kids love ‘cooking’ their dinner when they mix it all up!

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(Note: since gojujang is really spicy, I mix ketchup with it in the kids dishes)

Yachae jeon – Vegetable pancakes

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I really like pancakes. I could eat them every meal of the day.  I like them with fruit in them, I like them smothered in maple syrup, I like them hot, I like them cold.

‘And I would eat them in a boat!
And I would eat them with a goat…
And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good so good you see!

So I will eat them in a box.
And I will eat them with a fox.
And I will eat them in a house.
And I will eat them with a mouse.
And I will eat them here and there.
Say! I will eat them ANYWHERE!  I really like them.’ *

My kids on the other hand do not prefer them.  When I offer to make them, they request oatmeal instead.  But they do like these pancakes; full of veggies, dipped in soy sauce.  Who are these kids anyways? ‘No’ to blueberries and syrup, ‘yes’ to vegetables and soy sauce!

I have tried lots of savoury pancake recipes, with different spices and ingredients. But this is my favourite ‘go-to’ recipe.  It is simple and basic.  It comes together easily and can be adjusted to what you have in your crisper drawer. They taste delicious hot and dipped.

So if you are in need of a quick and easy dinner, make pancakes.  Need to get more veggies into your diet, make pancakes.  Having company, make pancakes.  Crave a midnight snack, make pancakes.  Hosting a new years dinner, make pancakes.  (You get my point.)

The recipe:

The time you need: prep time: 10 minutes     cook time: 15 minutes

Yield: 12 medium pancakes or 4 jumbo pancakes

The things you need:

  • 1 cup flour (I use whole wheat flour because that is all I ever have in the house.  I’m like that)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 eggs (I always try to throw in extra eggs whenever I can- to use up all the chicken lovin’ we receive)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 -3 carrots cut thinly (You want to cut them really thin so they cook and aren’t crunchy when you eat them)
  • 1 med zucchini cut thinly (Have I sung the glories of a mandolin yet?)
  • 4 green onions cut thinly
  • oil

The how to:

  • mix together all the ingredients in a mixing bowl
  • heat fry pan on medium and coat with oil (I re-oil the pan for each batch)
  • drop 1/4 cup of batter on pan (I usually fit 3 pancakes on a pan)
  • flip when browned.
  • flatten the pancake as much as you can (my yobo really smushes it as much as he can)
  • flip again and smash
  • when browned nicely on both sides (and squashed thin) serve with soy sauce or a dipping sauce

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My little pumpkin napping in the backpack as I cook.

* Dr. Seuss “Green Eggs and Ham”

Korean New Years

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We are lucky.  We celebrate holidays from three different cultures! We enjoy all the Canadian holidays, join in a few Dutch traditions and participate in Korean festivities as well.  We are especially fortunate since most of these celebrations revolve around food!

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When we have finally recovered from the Christmas holiday bonanza and starting to feel like we could use a good reason to party again, Korean New Years approaches.

We, as a little family, always celebrate it with a Korean meal of sorts and when I am up for it, we invite the extended family to join us in a big Korean feast.  This year was the year of the feast.  There are always the perennial favourites that must be made and I attempt to make a few new dishes to keep things interesting.  Everyone brushes up on their chopstick skills, tries something spicy and eats too much.

One of the bonuses of celebrating in Canada is that we can pick a date that works for us; we rang in the new year two weeks early.  Which means of course, we can party again on the actual holiday.

 

Talgyal jang jorim – Soy sauce egg

blog jan 2013 006 We have chickens. Lots of chickens.  So we have eggs. Lots of eggs.  I am always looking for new ways to cook eggs. This is a tasty recipe I recently tried.

I don’t remember having these in Korea and but my Yobo assures me they made a regular appearance at his family’s table growing up. My family members who have traveled to China tell me these are wildly popular there too.  Maybe I need to take another trip out east to discover for myself!

The recipe:

The time you need: 20 minutes

The things you need:

  •  6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup water

The how to:

  • Boil the eggs for 10 minutes
  • Drain the water and rinse in cold water
  • Peel the eggs
  • Mix together the soy sauce, sugar and water in a small pot
  • Simmer the eggs in the mixture, stirring often until the liquid is all gone
  • Slice and serve.

blog jan 2013 005We love our chickens and our chickens love us!

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 Adapted from Practical Korean Cooking by Noh Chin-hwa

 

 

Gamja jo rim – Potato side dish

gamja jo rim

I love potatoes. I am a Dutch Canadian girl married to a Korean and though I enjoy eating rice, I really like potatoes. This recipe is a wonderful marriage of both of our roots: potatoes in a salty sweet garlic sauce.

A Korean meal usually consists of rice, a main dish and a few side dishes. Side dishes (ban chan) are often made in a big batch and a small portion is served with each meal. This is one of my favourite side dishes. Seeing how I feel about potatoes, I have no problem forgoing the rice and eating this all.

The recipe:

The time you need:

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 15 minutes

The things you need:

  • 3 medium potatoes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp garlic (minced)
  • sesame seeds

The how to:

  • Cut potatoes into cubes
  • Fry the potatoes in the oil for a five (ish) minutes on medium-high
  • Mix the water, soy sauce, honey, sugar and garlic together
  • Add the mixture to the potatoes and continue to cook until the sauce is reduced (another five minutes – it will start smelling divine at about this point)
  • Lower the temperature a little and continue to fry until potatoes are fully cooked, stirring occasionally (about another five minutes)
  • Use a fork or chopstick to check if the potatoes done (while you are at it, sneak a taste!) If they are not done add a little water to ensure the sauce does not burn.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds
  • Enjoy hot or cold.  (Korean side dishes are often eaten cold.)

My big helper enjoying the last licks of the honey pot!

My original picture:

honey garlic potatoes

Recipe adapted from aeriskitchen.com

Korean language school

Every Saturday morning, Kyah, Jaina and I head off to Korean language school.  We pack up our backpacks with our books, binders and a snack and enter the world of Han-gul for the morning.  The girls really enjoy that the mom goes and studies too, and I really like that I have a few hours every week to exercise my brain.

As we inch towards a basic knowledge of Korean, we get to sprinkle our conversations with more and more Korean vocabulary and expressions.

Today’s lesson in my adult class involved prepositions of place (in, on, under).  My fabulous sentence of the day was: There is coffee in my cup.  Important things I need to know how to say!

Note: if you can read Korean, the sentence above is my wonderful classmate’s sentence.