Grilled eggplant -gaji namul

eggplant produce

A simple yet delicious recipe for eggplant.  If you think of eggplant as just a bland mushy vegetable your mom made you eat, think again.  Marinated and grilled, these purple beauties have a perfect soft texture and great flavour.

My yobo has fond memories of eating eggplant.  Every time we see them in the store, he reminds me of them.  I don’t have many memories of eggplants, and the ones I do have, haven’t left me pining for purple-ness on my plate.

So when my yobo’s customer offered him some eggplants from her garden, he enthusiastically accepted them and brought them home hoping I could remake his childhood eggplant dreams.  I haven’t eaten eggplant in Korea so I did some research.  Even my favourite Korean recipe blogs did not have anything that made me want to jump up and eat eggplant.  But then I started looking at non-Korean recipes and I have to say that I think we got something on these Koreans in this department;  lots of fabulous recipes for grilled eggplant.  And those recipes, had me up on my feet.  So I took the marinade from a Korean recipe and grilled these babies!  Oh boy, were they delicious.

eggplant grill

So when I went to serve them with dinner, my yobo looked aghast!  What had I done to his eggplant darlings.  They were not looking at all the eggplant dishes of his long gone youth.  Sceptically he tried them; and then he admitted they were delicious.

So if you have an eggplant growing in your garden, or your loving neighbour hands you one, try this recipe.  You’ll thank me.

Grilled eggplant

Grilled eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 green onion finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp gochu garu (red pepper flakes) - optional

Instructions

  1. Heat the bbq
  2. Slice the eggplant thinly
  3. Mix together the remaining ingredients
  4. Marinade the eggplant in the mixture for a few minutes
  5. Place the eggplant slices on the grill
  6. Flip when browned and grill the other side for a few minutes (depending on the thickness of the eggplant)
  7. Remove and serve hot.
http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=2031


Zucchini pancake – hobuk jeon

zucchini pancake

A simple savoury recipe that tastes like the summer garden!

It is that time of year again where the garden is overgrown and the zucchini are in abundance.   I mentioned that this year my garden has been unloved and is in desperate need of attention.  Normally I dote on my garden and faithfully water it and daily check in on all the treasures growing under the leaves and on the vines.  With life having gone sideways earlier this summer, the garden has been neglected.  So much to my delight and surprise, the other day when I was mumbling my apologies to my garden, I discovered several huge zucchinis growing.

We have a real love affair with zucchini in our house.  We eat it multiple times a week and I shred up the excess from the summer and I put in almost every soup or stew imaginable in the fall until my supply runs out. So discovering these beauties was a score.  We got right down to grating them and produced 6 loaves of zucchini bread, copious amounts for the freezer and these fabulous pancakes for dinner!

And I was happy to note that there were a few more zucchinis hiding amongst the overgrown weeds in the garden… 🙂

So however you get your zucchini, whether it is from your garden, from a friend’s garden or the fruit and veggie stand, do yourself a favour and make these!

girls and zucchini

My girls and their green babies…

boys and zucchini

and my boys and their green weapons!

Zucchini pancake – hobuk jeon

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 large or 16 small

Zucchini pancake – hobuk jeon

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini
  • 3 green onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Slice the zucchini finely (or grate coarsely... which ever works for you)
  2. Cut the green onions into 1 inch pieces
  3. Mix together the remaining ingredients and add the vegetables
  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat
  5. Add desired amount of batter
  6. When browned, flip and squish down the pancake as flat as possible
  7. Flip again and squish
  8. When deliciously brown, serve hot with soy sauce
http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=1993

Sesame spinach side dish- sigeumchi namul

spinach

Trying to get more vegetables into your meal plan?  Tired of the same old, same old steamed veggies?  This delicious garlicky spinach Korean side dish will have you craving those leafy greens!!

This is a very common side dish (banchan) in Korea served with rice and other side dishes such as kimchi,  honey potatoes or a bell pepper banchan. It is one of my yobo’s favourite; he has fond memories of eating this everyday in spinach season. He waxes on about his mom and his childhood when he eats it  reminiscing about trimming spinach in the garden.  He recalls being influenced by Popeye cartoons and wanting to eat lots of it to grow big and strong.  Our kids have no idea who Popeye is, so the stories are lost on them.  This poor generation of kids, not having heroes like Popeye to look up to.  I should find some old cartoon clips and show them.  For educational purposes, of course!

So whether you are old enough to remember Olive Oyl and Brutus or not, I promise you, if you make this dish, it will be gone before you can say ‘Popeye’!

Sesame spinach – Sigeumchi namul

Ingredients

  • 300g spinach
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 green onion chopped fine
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. blanch the spinach in hot water for 30 seconds
  2. drain and squeeze out excess water
  3. add the remaining ingredients
  4. mix well
  5. serve and enjoy!
http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=1428

Recipe from Maangchi.com

Pork sausage zucchini pancakes – dwaeji gogi jeon

pork zucchini pancakes

Love these pancakes!  All the yummy-ness of sausage and zucchini fried up in a pancake.  Who could ask for more?

#vintage corelle dishes

I don’t hashtag. I’m not on twitter.  And I don’t normally even think in social media lingo. I never LOL or TTFN.  Call me old. So old in fact that these vintage 70s dishes are still used at my moms everyday.  I grew up eating cereal out of the matching bowl and toast from the salad plates. I happen to have one in my cupboard that brought something delicious home from her place.  I thought it would be the perfect plate for these crispy pancakes! Everything tastes better on mom’s dishes!

Do you have this set or something similar?  Does your mom?  Or (gasp) Grandma?

Pork sausage zuchinni pancakes

Ingredients

  • 250 g pork sausage
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Remove the pork from the casings
  2. Slice the zucchini thinly
  3. Cut up the green onions
  4. Mix all the ingredients together
  5. Oil the pan generously (I didn't say these were healthy!)
  6. Fry on medium high heat until browned squashing them thin
  7. Flip and squash until browned nicely and the sausage is cooked
  8. Enjoy!
http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=1381

I confess my undying love to pancakes here and you can give these marvelous pancakes a try too!

seafood pancake Seafood pancake – hae mul pa jeon

veggie pancakes Veggie pancakes – yachae jeon

kimchi pancakes Kimchi pancakes – kimchi jeon

Hoddeok - stuffed pancakes Sweet stuffed pancakes – hoddeok

Rice fritters

rice fritters

A perfect use for leftover rice – rice fritters.  A yummy combination of rice, vegetables and cheese, fried up hot and crispy.  You might find yourself making extra rice, just to make these the next day!

I am sure it comes as no surprise that we eat a lot of rice in our house.  As a result we also tend to have left over rice in the fridge.  The amount of leftover rice, however, depends on who makes the rice. I like to aim to have the perfect amount for dinner. Kyah makes the same amount every time regardless of what is on the menu.  My yobo, on the other hand, makes as much as our rice cooker can handle. Go big or go home! So after my yobo has lovingly made rice for the family, we have copious amounts of leftover rice!

Rice fritters

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked rice (short grain)
  • 1 carrot shredded
  • 2 green onions finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients together
  2. Fry up in some oil
  3. Makes 12-14 fritters
  4. Enjoy!
http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=1025

 kids

Our giggly gang!

Jjajang ramyun – black bean noodle ramyun

jja jang ramyun

This bowl of yummy hot noodles is a deliciously quick lunch. It tastes so good, you’ll forget you are eating ramyun!

We really enjoy jjajang myun, black bean noodles. It is one of the things I haven’t ever made from scratch or even really tried.  If we go out for Korean food, this is what we usually order. (See restaurant review here and here!)

But we really like it and going out is expensive with lots of hungry kids, so we resort to making the instant kind at home (more often than we would admit). As we have discovered, all black bean style ramyun noodles are not created equal!  This one, however, is a winner!

Jjajangmen package

The secret to its deliciousness is the pouch of jjajang sauce (not powder!) that is included.

jjajang sauce

It cooks up quick and easy and makes a great weekend lunch.

Warning: You may need to remove your shirt when you eat it.  It gets messy!

noodles

noodles

This is not a recipe so much, since it is just following the instructions on the package; it is more of a product review with cooking directions 🙂

Jjajang ramyun

Ingredients

  • 600 ml water
  • 1 package paldo jja jang men instant noodles
  • cucumber slices to garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil
  2. Add dry noodles
  3. Boil for 5 minutes
  4. Drain out the water and leave 2-3 tablespoons of water in the bowl. (This is important since you want it saucey!)
  5. Squeeze the sauce out of the package
  6. Mix well
  7. Serve with cucumber garnish
  8. Enjoy! 🙂
http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=956

Pork mushroom dumplings – Dwaeji gogi beoseot mandu

Pork mushroom manduA delicate blend of pork, mushrooms and onions, wrapped in a dumpling skin and fried to perfection.  A perfect pork present!  A paramount pocketful of pork! A marvelous mouthwatering mushroom mandu! A delectable dumpling for dunking. 🙂

I haven’t made mandu, Korean dumplings, in a while but I had pulled out ground pork in the morning without any idea what to make with it.  Though I like my other recipe for mandu, I didn’t have all the ingredients in the house. Out of my crisper drawer, much like Mr.Dressup’s tickle trunk, I pulled mushrooms and onions. I improvised the following recipe and to my delight, and that of my family, it was delicious!

The things you need:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 large green onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 c mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1/4 c onion finely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 30 dumpling skins

The how to:

  • mix together all the ingredients – except the dumpling skins of course 🙂
  • using a teaspoon, scoop a small amount of the mixture into the centre of the dumpling skins
  • wet the edges and press together (either by hand or using a mandu press)
  • heat a frying pan with vegetable oil
  • place as many dumplings as will comfortably fit in the pan (you will need to do more than one batch)
  • fry for 1-2 mins until the bottoms are brown then flip them over
  • add 1/2 cup of water and steam the mandu until the water has evaporated
  • fry for another 30 seconds or so and serve with dipping sauce
  • Enjoy!

Kalbi hamburger patties

kalbi patties

There is nothing like home made hamburger patties! And with three easy  ingredients, these make the yummiest burgers you have ever tasted!

Three ingredients? How can that be?  While I am one who likes to make a marinade from scratch, I have a hard time passing up a good bargain when I see one.  I found Kalbi sauce on for 50% off!  I can’t even buy the soy sauce for that price! (50% off of $3.98 = $1.99! for 800ml)

july 006

So what is it? It is a Korean kalbi marinade sauce made with soy sauce, sugar, onion, garlic, ginger and sesame. So even though I don’t usually love to cook with pre-made sauces, I couldn’t pass up a good deal and with 5lbs of ground beef on sale as well, I took the easy route to yummy-ness.

kalbi sauce

What is the third ingredient you wonder?  Green onions!  Gotta love green onions!

The things you need: (a re-cap)

Yield: 24 large hamburger patties

  • 3/4 of a jar of Kalbi sauce (about 500ml)
  • 5 lbs of ground beef
  • a bunch of green onions finely chopped

The how to:

  • mix the sauce and green onions into the ground beef
  • get in there with you bare hands and mix well
  • form patties the of a baseball
  • press onto a parchment paper lined pan
  • fire up the BBQ and enjoy!
  • or cover in plastic wrap and freeze for future goodness!

ground beef

Sorry – no kid pictures.  I try to be a good mama and have them help me in the kitchen but I don’t love having them play with raw meat.  🙁

Rice balls – jumuck bap

rice balls

A perfect appetizer: seasoned sticky rice coated in sesame seeds or seaweed.

My yobo tells me that ‘jumuck bap’ translates to ‘fist rice’ since they were traditionally made as big balls of rice for soldiers during war times.  Rice and other ingredients were formed into a ball and could be eaten on the go. We make them small in our house… the size of a small child’s fist! 🙂

The options are endless with rice balls; they can be made with just about anything.  Mix in meat in vegetables, add a seasoning or roll them in something.  Whatever you choose, they are sure to be a hit. The hands down favourite of these two were the roasted seaweed balls.

The things you need:

  • warm cooked sticky rice (here is a handy use for left over rice you might have sitting in the fridge)
  • sesame oil (to taste)
  • salt (to taste)
  • crumbled roasted seaweed
  • toasted sesame seeds

The how to:

  • season the rice with sesame oil and salt
  • scoop a small ball of rice (an ice cream scoop size) and with plastic gloves or plastic wrap shape the ball and firmly press it together. Note: if you do not use plastic wrap you will end up with rice stuck on your hands and you will be trying to pick all the rice off you for some time…. not that I know from personal experience or anything 🙂
  • roll in crumbled seaweed or toasted sesame seeds
  • enjoy!

rice scoopseaweed ricesesame rice

Dwaeji bulgogi – bbq pork strips

bbq pork

Marinated pork strips, fresh veggies and some sunshine!

When the sun is shining, I just want to eat outside.  Everything tastes better outside.  And everything tastes better BBQed!

Koreans have BBQ down to a fine art.  They use these single element butane BBQ that sit nicely on the table.  With a grill plate that allows for even cooking and collects grease, the food is cooked up as you eat.  This allows time for socializing with the cook and food hot off the grill.  Both are very important to me: hot food and good conversation!

may june 067

The things you need:

  • 1 lb pork strips
  • 3 big cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ginger minced
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • black pepper
  • 2 tbsp green onion
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 1/2 zucchini chopped

The how to:

  • combine all the ingredients and marinate for a while
  • get out your handy dandy butane bbq and grill plate
  • bbq at the table
  • eat hot and enjoy!
  • Note: a little bit of bbq’ed kimchi with this is delicious!

may june 068

Summer fun!