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


  • 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


  1. Mix all the ingredients together
  2. Fry up in some oil
  3. Makes 12-14 fritters
  4. Enjoy!


Our giggly gang!

Bibimbap – Mixed veggies and rice

Family bibimbap

A delicious bowl of rice, veggies and seasoned beef topped with a fried egg.  Add in some spicy garlicky sauce and you have a bowl of Korean goodness!

I love this picture of our dinner tray.  We have been enjoying eating our dinner outside in the beautiful summer weather.  The kids have wanted to eat in all different locations in the yard, forgoing the picnic table.  This dinner in a bowl is a perfect picnic-in-the-frontyard kind of meal!

picnic dinner

gardenOur dinner location!

The things you need: (for 6 servings)

The time you need: (25 minutes – including cooking rice)

  • 5 cups cooked rice (I mixed short grain white and brown). See how to make rice here
  • 2 carrots julienne-d
  • lettuce cut thinly
  • 1/2 zucchini cut thinly
  • 1 cup bean sprouts (they are my yobo’s favourite but I didn’t have any when I made this)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • black pepper

Bibimbap sauce (courtesy of Sue at mykoreankitchen.com… the best sauce I have ever had!)

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp gochujang
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced ginger

The how to:

  • marinate the beef in the seasoning then fry
  • lightly fry the carrots with a little bit of sesame oil and salt and set aside
  • lightly fry the zucchini in the same way and set aside
  • blanch the bean sprouts, squeeze to drain the water and season with a sprinkle of sesame oil and soy sauce
  • make the bibimbap sauce
  • fry the eggs over-easy
  • assemble the bowls: rice on the bottom, veggies and meat in cute little piles around the edge with a egg in the middle, top with bibimbap sauce
  • to eat: mix it all up and enjoy!


Note: bibimbap translates mixed rice so use your muscles and mix it up well 🙂

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!

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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!

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Summer fun!


Yawna kimbap – Smoked salmon rolls

salmon kimbap

A delicious combination of smoked salmon, yellow radish, cucumber and avocado rolled up in a sesame flavoured rice roll.

I was going through the fridge looking for some inspiration and lo and behold I found all the ingredients for a fabulous kimbap! My brother-in-law had smoked me some salmon, my mom had given me avocados before they left on a trip and I always have yellow Korean radish and cucumber on hand. Lucky for my yobo, since if I ever ask what he wants for dinner he always says “kimbap!”

Now you might be thinking, “aren’t these sushi rolls?”  They obviously are very similar with a few distinct differences. One of them being the seasoning for the rice; kimbap utilizes sesame oil and salt to flavour the rice while Japanese rolls use sushi vinegar. Another distinction is the ingredients; kimbap tends to have more ‘stuff’ in them and they usually include of pickled yellow radish.  I must admit though that the avocado is not very authentically Korean 🙂

So if you haven’t given kimbap a try, here is your chance!

salmon kimbap

Yield: 10 rolls

The things you need:

  • 8 cups cooked sticky rice (4 cups uncooked = 8 cups cooked)
  • a package of kim, seaweed or nori sheets (10 pieces) I just buy what is on sale.  I am not too picky!
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • Korean pickled yellow radish (see pic… available at Asian markets)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 fillet of smoked salmon

The prep:

  • cook the rice.  I used 2 cups white and 1 cup brown this time (trying to be healthy!)  For a step by step on rice, see here
  • once the rice is made, allow it to cool for a few minutes, add the sesame oil and salt and mix well
  • cut the radish into 10 long thin pieces (6 inches)
  • cut the cucumber into 4 long pieces (6 inches), give the column of seeds to one of your helpers to gnaw on and slice the outside chunks into 10 long pieces
  • peel the avocado, take out the seed and slice thinly
  • break the salmon fillet into smallish pieces

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The assembly:

  • put the sheet of kim, seaweed, on a bamboo roller
  • scoop 3/4c + a little smidge rice onto the seaweed
  • nicely spread out the rice on the top 2/3 of the seaweed
  • place the ingredients on the bottom end of the rice
  • carefully make one roll from the rice side to cover the ingredients and pinch it nice and tight
  • roll the roll over the rest of the seaweed nice and tight
  • take a few little grains of rice to act as glue and place them on the loose end of the seaweed and squeeze roll tightly
  • let the roll sit a few minutes before cutting
  • cut with a sharp clean knife into small bite size pieces (this way it looks like more and you can eat it gracefully!)

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kyah and nyles

Kimbap kids in the kitchen!

If you like rolls, check out these:

cucumber rolls kimbap rolls

Naked cucumber rolls      Kimbap

Our garden – growing for cooking

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I am so excited; we planted our vegetable garden! The compost has been spread, the top soil has been raked, the mounds have been built and the seeds and seedlings have been sown!

So what have we planted?

green onions green onions for seafood pancakes

gardening 031 potatoes for a yummy side dish

korean garlic onions Korean garlic onions for cucumber kimchi

peppers green peppers for dipping

gardening 023 zucchini for veggie pancakes

gardening 036 yellow zucchini for fun!

gardening 033 radish for radish kimchi

gardening 032 lettuce for eating with dwaeji bulgogi

gardening 037 kale for good dutch cooking 🙂

gardening 035 leek for beef and broccoli and stir frys

gardening 034 spinach for chapjae and smoothies

gardening 039 peas for pickin’ and eatin’

gardening 026 perilla (Korean sesame leaves) for bulgogi

garlic garlic for everything

gardening 038 rhubarb for a delicious crisp

and since we use all our compost on the garden, each year we have mystery plants that grow. Any guesses?

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My garden gnomes!

So, what is growing in your garden?

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!

Nachae kimbap – Naked cucumber rolls

cucumber rolls

A favourite with kids and adults alike, these easy rolls look extra fancy with the rice on the outside!

Now you might be wondering about the name (a little risque, I must say!) My yobo says they are called ‘naked’ kimbap in Korea since you can’t see the seaweed on the outside.  Personally, I always think of them as ‘inside-out’, like they have their shirts on inside out.

Since you taste the rice first and the crunch of the cucumber, if you have someone in your life (or maybe even you) who is leery to try rice rolls because of the texture or taste of the seaweed, naked kimbap is a great introduction.

Yield: 4 rolls of nachae kimbap

The time you need: prep: 20 mins (for rice to cook) rolling: 10 mins

The things you need: (to make 4 rolls)

  • 2 cups of rice (4 cups cooked rice).
  • 4 sheets of kim (seaweed)
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • sesame seeds to garnish

The prep:

  • make the rice. For a great tutorial on how to sticky rice, click here
  • once the rice is cooked, let the rice cool slightly and add the sesame oil and salt
  • cut the cucumber into really thin long pieces discarding the seeds (they just make things watery!)

The assembly:

  • lay the seaweed, kim, on a bamboo roller.  (If you don’t have one, don’t stress.  I just find it does make it easier but they can be made without one.)
  • scoop 1 cup of rice on the seaweed
  • spread it out evenly covering the entire piece of seaweed
  • flatten and smooth it out with the spatula
  • IMPORTANT STEP: cover the rice with a piece of saran wrap and flip it over so the seaweed is facing up! (You may have seen this being done at a sushi restaurant. I have tried to do it without the saran wrap and it was a sticky mess! 🙂 )
  • layer 1/4 of the cucumbers at the top of the rice
  • carefully make a roll over the cucumbers  (Be sure to not roll the saran wrap along with it…. not that I know from experience!)
  • continue to roll the nice and tight. When it is all rolled, use the saran wrap and the bamboo roller to give it a tight squeeze
  • allow the roll to rest a few minutes (while you roll the other ones) and cut with a sharp knife
  • arrange, garnish with sesame seeds and pat yourself on the back!

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Hoisin beef stir fry

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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

Kimbap – Korean rolls

march 046

Kimbap, Korean rice rolls, are a wonderful medley of vegetables, egg, radish and meat tightly wrapped in sesame rice and seaweed.

This recipe is one my yobo’s mom taught me to make when I lived in Korea.  My mother-in-law is a great cook and an amazing woman. Knowing how much I liked kimbap, every time we came to visit, she would prepare them.  She then patiently taught me how to cook despite my limited Korean language ability.  Using lots of hand gestures, simple Korean and some help from my yobo, I learned how to make these classic Korean rolls. There are many variations of kimbap but this is a basic version that my yobo grew up on.

Kimbap is picnic food or a great snack in Korea.  In my opinion, it is too time consuming for a snack. When I make 10 rolls of it, it is dinner! And a yummy dinner at that.

Yield: 10 rolls of kimbap

The time you need:  prep: 30 mins    rolling: 15 mins (depending how fast you are!)

The things you need:

  • a package of kim, seaweed, or nori sheets (10 pieces)
  • 4 cups white sticky rice (8 cups prepared)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt (to taste… add more if you like it more salty)
  • Korean pickled radish – see picture
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 eggs
  • a package of lunch ham (or you can buy a ham steak and cut it up)

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The prep:

  • make the rice.  For directions, see this post by Kyah – bap
  • when the rice is made, allow it to cool slightly and add the sesame oil and salt.  Mix well.
  • beat the egg and fry on medium low like a crepe.  Flip when browned and cool. Cut into 10 long thin pieces
  • slice the carrots into 10 long thin pieces (6 inches long)
  • slice the radish into 10 long thin pieces (6 inches) or you can buy the package that is pre-sliced for you
  • cut the sides of the cucumber into 4 long pieces from the outside.  Discard the column of seeds. Cut the long pieces into 10 thin pieces each having some green on it – if this is confusing…see the picture 🙂
  • cut the ham into 2 halves
  • lightly fry the carrot in the fry pan used from the egg till it is browned and  lightly salt.

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The assembly:

  • lay the seaweed, kim, on a bamboo roller
  • scoop 3/4c + a little bit of rice onto the seaweed
  • spread out the rice evenly on the top 2/3 of the seaweed
  • use the spatula to spread and smooth out the rice
  • layer the ingredients at the bottom end of the rice
  • then carefully roll the seaweed like a jelly roll – if you know how to roll a jelly roll 🙂 – first pinching the top of the seaweed over the ingredients and then carefully rolling the rest nice and tight
  • use a little bit of rice at the end to ‘glue’ the seaweed to the roll
  • squeeze the roll tightly
  • allow the roll to rest a few minutes before cutting
  • cut with a sharp knife.  I find it helps to clean the knife between rolls or else it gets all goopy from the rice.

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Nothing beats making kimbap in the sunshine!

Dak doritang – Spicy Korean chicken stew

Dak doritang

This savoury spicy chicken recipe is just what I have been craving lately; full of flavour with the right amount of heat. Stewed up with carrots, onions, potatoes and served with rice, it is my new favourite chicken dish.

It is funny. I lived in Korea for over 2 years, yet I hardly remember eating dak doritang.  There are lots of barbeque chicken restaurants in Korea and a version of this with rice cakes is a popular dish.  But for some reason, we didn’t eat this very often.  My taste buds have changed over the years and I can handle much more spice than I could back then.  And truthfully, when we lived in Korea and ate rice twice a day, if my yobo and I went out for dinner, it wasn’t spicy chicken stew I was craving. It was Burger King.

The recipe:

The time it takes: prep time: 10 mins     cook time: 40 mins

The things you need:

  • 2 lbs chicken (I use breasts since my children can’t handle bones in their meat… it reminds them of what they are eating.)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1/4 c water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp gojujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • salt / pepper to taste

The how to:

  • cut the chicken into medium sized pieces (I like to keep some on the bigger size so the spice to meat ratio is appropriate for the kids)
  • cut the onion, carrots and potatoes into medium sized pieces as well
  • oil a pot with the sesame oil and brown the chicken with garlic and the onions
  • add the vegetables and allow to cook for a few minutes
  • add the rest of the ingredients and mix well
  • bring the sauce to a boil and reduce heat to medium low
  • continue to stir occassionally
  • check the potatoes for done-ness (is that a word?)
  • add the green onion
  • serve with rice and enjoy!