Korean nachos

korean nachos

An East meets West combination! A wonderfully weird marriage of a Mexican classic and a Korean side dish. Korexican. Mexiorean. Whatever you want to call it, it is the best of both worlds. Mashi-e-sawyo! Delicioso!

I usually shy away from ‘fusion’ food.  It is really popular in Korea and I know California has a big Korean fusion culture, but I remain skeptical about mixing flavours from different ethnic foods. But I was making the kids and me some nachos the other day for dinner and knew that my yobo would be less than excited about them.  He is not a picky eater at all and he will eat anything I make him, but Mexican is not is favourite kind of food.

Then I remembered a recipe I saw at my sisters house in  Fresh Juice magazine: Korean Tacos

Fresh Juice

Inspiration hit! Since I did not have the magazine, I just improvised this Korean version of nachos. And the verdict?  Delicious!  I ended up eating these instead of the ones I made for me and the kids 🙂 And my yobo? He devoured them and asked for more! Always a good sign!

The things you need:

  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 heaping teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp gojujang, red pepper paste
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • lettuce
  • cucumber
  • hot green peppers
  • kimchi
  • sesame seeds
  • nacho chips

The how to:

  • brown the ground beef with the garlic and add the sesame oil, taco seasoning and soy sauce
  • mix together the gojujang, vinegar and sugar to make a yummy spicy dressing
  • chop your lettuce, cucumbers and hot green peppers into bite size pieces
  • assemble: nachos, lettuce, ground beef mixture, cucumbers, peppers
  • drizzle the dressing over it all and top with chopped kimchi and sesame seeds!
  • to take it up a notch in fusion… add cheese! (it was surprisingly delicious!)
  • Enjoy!

korean nachos

Beef and broccoli

Beef and broccoli

Before I moved to Korea I admit that I was a little ignorant about the differences in East Asian cuisine; I hadn’t even heard of kimchi.  So when people asked me if I liked Korean food, I replied that I was sure I would since I like Chinese food.  Now, as experience as taught me, Chinese food and Korean food are quite different.  And Chinese food served in Canada is not very authentic Chinese, especially the dishes served up in the the food court in the mall.

One of my favourite Chinese dishes is and has always been beef and broccoli.  My mom made it often growing up and since it included my favourite vegetable, it was a winner in my eyes.  In my naivety about Korea prior to setting out and moving there, I assumed that since Chinese food had lots of broccoli, Korean food would as well.  Once again, experience was my teacher and I learned that Koreans don’t traditionally cook with it and it wasn’t easy to find.  So even though I have grown to love Korean food, I still really enjoy a yummy beef and broccoli dinner!

(This is based on my mom’s recipe)

The time you need: prep: 15 mins  cook time: 15 mins

The things you need:

  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/4 c leek
  • several mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1/4 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 c beef broth (my kids like it saucy)
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

The how to:

  • chop the veggies
  • heat up a wok
  • add the olive oil and allow it to heat.  add the garlic and the ginger. saute them for a few seconds
  • add the beef and brown
  • once browned, remove from the pan and add soy sauce
  • add chopped vegetables, a splash of water and stir fry on medium high until almost cooked
  • mix together the beef broth, cornstarch and soy sauce and add to the veggies and give a quick mix
  • add the meat and juices
  • cook until thickened
  • serve over rice and enjoy!

big helpers

My big helpers!

Hoisin beef stir fry

april 107

This delicious combination of vegetables and beef in a sweet hoisin sauce has a secret ingredient, garlic stems!

My mom whipped up this fabulous dish for dinner tonight.  My yobo was not going to be home so my mom invited me and the kids to stay.  Then my sister’s husband was also not going to be home so my mom invited her and her 4 boys for dinner too.  She looked in the fridge and came up with this amazing dish in no time at all.  How she does it, we are not sure.  We are all just glad she does!

Not only is my mom a wonderful cook, she makes it look easy.  She can make a meal for a dozen people on a moments notice and it will be delicious.  My mom claims it all has to do with having the ingredients in the house; they have two chest freezers and two fridges even though it is only her and my dad at home.  She loves to host and truly has the gift of hospitality.  “There is always room for one more” is her motto. (If you have been to their house on Sunday for lunch, you will have experienced this!)


The recipe:

Prep time: 20 mins   Cook time: 15 mins

The things you need:

  • 2 lbs eye of round beef strips
  • 2/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups beans
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 1 bunch garlic stems (they can be found in the ‘weird’ Asian vegetable section – according to my sister)
  • 2 cups bok choy
  • 1/2 stalk leek

The how to:

  • marinate the meat – the longer the better – in the hoisin sauce, water and sweet chilli sauce
  • cut up the vegetables and set aside
  • stir fry the meat.
  • mix the corn starch with the 1/4 cup water and add to the meat
  • set the meat aside (or if you are my mom, use another wok) and steam the veggies
  • when the veggies are almost cooked, combine the two together
  • serve with quinoa

The gang

 The happy dinner guests

Bokumbap – Korean fried rice


A tasty fried rice recipe made with the flavours of sesame and garlic.  Mixed up with ground beef, vegetables and egg, it is a complete meal in a bowl!

It was getting late and I hadn’t thought about supper yet.  This happens to me all the time.  Especially when it is sunny.  I feel like if the sun is shining, it is still day time and I don’t need to think about what I am going to make for dinner. Then the troops start getting hungry and this mama needs to start cooking!

When I have no idea what to cook, I always put on a pot of rice.  Surely in the 20ish minutes it takes for rice to cook, I can whip up something to go with it.  I know there are homes where potatoes or pasta are put on in the same way, but in our house, it is rice.

Still at a loss, I fry up some ground beef.  Directionless I cut up some veggies and figure inspiration will have to hit at some point.  And it did!  Just in time because the kids were really hungry now.  Bokumbap, Korean fried rice!

The things you need:

  • 2 cups rice uncooked (= 4 cups cooked rice)
  • 3/4 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic (2-3 cloves)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • pepper to taste

The how to:

  • cook the rice. For directions see here.
  • Slice up all the veggies thinly (a mandolin is great for this!)
  • brown the ground beef with the garlic. Drain and add sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar (I realize it sounds funny to drain the fat to add oil but the sesame oil adds lots of flavour). Set the beef aside.
  • scramble the eggs. Set them aside.
  • using the same fry pan (because who likes dishes?!), cook the veggies.
  • when the veggies are done, add the rice.  Mix it around really well.  You don’t want any rice to still be white!  Add the beef and the egg and continue to mix it up.  Add pepper to taste.
  • Serve it up!

taron bokumbap

 “Hey Mister! Try some of this bokumbap!”

Duk Kalbi – Korean beef patties

I found this recipe in the funniest place: a dutch church cook book!

Every time I make these, I can’t make enough.  My Yobo gushes over them, my kids fight over them and I try to lick the pan. (Just kidding, I don’t actually lick it, I lick my finger that has been in the pan!)

Once when we went to visit Korea, my Yobo’s friend took us out to dinner to a very nice place.  Nicer than anyplace my Yobo has taken me.  This was the first time I tasted duk kalbi.  It was delicious.  I was told it was expensive, very expensive.  I thought to myself, I can make this.

I am sure the rendition I had in that restaurant was made with ground sirloin, but I am a mom of four hungry kids on a budget, so ground beef makes its appearance in my recipe.

The recipe:

The time you need:

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 15 minutes

The things you need:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • black pepper

The how to:

  • chop the onion into fine pieces.  To be a good Korean, you need to do this with your handy pair of kitchen scissors.
  • mix all the ingredients together
  • press into patties the size of your palm (ish)
  • place on a fry pan and fry on medium low.  Turn them over as they brown and flatten them down.
  • continue to fry until the juices start to caramelize and form a wonderful sticky coating on the outside
  • allow to rest for a few minutes before serving (as you quickly set the table, check on the rice and stir fry the veggies)
  • serve and be sure to sneak a lick of the pan

Note: these are also delicious bbq’ed and served as sliders. Sorry, no pan to lick if this method of cooking is chosen.

A good Korean in the making using her kitchen scissors.