When you're craving a fresh Korean dish, but don’t have time to make a complicated meal, what do you do? We've got a solution! Get out your chef hat, and let’s get cooking with these 5 easy do-it-yourself Korean recipes:
- KIMCHI JJIGAE (김치 찌개) or KIMCHI STEW
Kimchi is a versatile food that can be a side dish, a condiment, or used in other dishes to flavour them. If you've got some old kimchi hanging around, one of the favorite winter dishes in Korea is kimchi stew. The best type of kimchi to use in the stew is one that is quite sour, so a freshly-made batch is not normally used. Make sure to save the juice for more flavor!
- ½ pound pork belly, sliced into thin strips
- 2 ½ cups cups kimchi
- ½ onion, chopped
- 1 8oz block of firm tofu, cubed
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp gochujang (red pepper paste)
- 1 tbsp gochugaru (red pepper flakes)
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 stalks green onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, diced
- Cooked rice for a side (optional)
- Heat sesame oil in stock pot over medium-high heat
- Add pork belly, onions, and garlic; and sauté until meat has slightly browned.
- Add kimchi, soy sauce, gochujang and gochugaru;
and fry for 2 minutes.
- Add water and chicken broth, plus any leftover kimchi liquid, and let stew over medium heat for 30 minutes
- Add tofu, and baste 3-5 minutes, allowing flavors to penetrate tofu
- Garnish with green onion, and serve with a side of rice
- PAJEON (파전) or SCALLION PANCAKE
Korean pancakes, or jeon (전), are one of the staple side dishes in Korea. They can have many different ingredients, such as seafood, kimchi or vegetables; and are easily made as Korean pancake powder, buchimgaru (부침가루), is readily available for purchase in Korea as well as some Asian supermarkets in other countries. To make, all you do is add water and then the ingredients. If Korean pancake powder is not available in your area, try this recipe as an alternative:
- 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
- ½ cup of rice flour
- 1 tbsp of cornstarch
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp onion salt
- 1 egg
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp vegatable oil
- 2 green onion stalks, cut into ¼ inch pieces
- Mix all the dry ingredients and add egg and water slowly, mixing until smooth. (The batter should be thin and runny. If yours is not, add water in until you get that consistency.)
- Put a non-stick or cast iron pan over medium-heat with a tablespoon of oil. You want it warm enough to cook the pancake but not burn it.
- Mix green onions into the batter.
- Spread a thin layer batter over the pan, and cook approximately 2 to 3 per side, until light brown.
- Timing will differ for each pancake and the type of pan, but it should cook quickly.
- MIYEOK GUK(미역국) or SEAWEED SOUP
A popular dish eaten in Korea by women after birth, and everyone else on their birthdays, seaweed soup is relatively simple to make. The mistake generally those unfamiliar with it might make is using the wrong type of seaweed. There are three types that people may be familiar with: the first is called laver, or the sheets used for kimbap; the second is kelp, which is used mostly in flavoring for stocks; the third is the type used in seaweed soup, miyeok. You may also find it called sea plant or sea mustard.
- Handful of dried miyeok (approx. ½ cup)
- ½ pound beef brisket, cut into thin slices
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 5 cups water
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp Korean soup soy sauce
**Do not use regular soy sauce.** It will change the flavor and color of the soup. Adjust by using more salt and a dash of fish sauce if you have that available.
- Soak dried miyeok for about 20 minutes; drain.
- The soaked miyeok should almost quadruple in size, giving you around 2 cups of rehydrated seaweed.
- Rinse well (to avoid possible sand or grit in your soup), pat with paper towel to absorb excess moisture, then cut into 1-inch strips.
- In a stock pot over medium heat, add beef, sesame oil, and garlic. Sear lightly.
- Add chopped seaweed and sear for another minute.
- Add water, sea salt, and soup soy sauce.
- Cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
- BIBIMBAP (비빔밥)
One of the most widely recognized Korean dishes around the world today is bibimbap. The love of this colorful dish cannot be denied. What looks quite difficult is actually quite simple to do.
**To add more flavor to the meat: marinate the cut strips in garlic, ginger, soy sauce and brown sugar in a sealed bag overnight.
- 2 cups of rice
- ½ pound beef sirloin, cut into thin strips
- 2 medium carrots, matchstick-cut
- ½ red bell pepper, matchstick-cut
- ½ English cucumber, matchstick-cut
- 2 green onion stalks, cut into angled ¼ inch pieces
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp of garlic, minced
- ½ tsp of ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- gochajang sauce
- Cook rice, and set aside.
- Depending on the type of rice, you may want to start it about 10 to 15 minutes beforehand.
- In a cast iron (or non-stick) pan, stir-fry the beef with the sesame oil, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and brown sugar. Cook until the beef is done to your liking.
- Add the bell peppers, carrots, and green onions, then lightly stir-fry on high heat for about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl.
- Wipe the pan clean, add a bit of vegetable oil, and cook egg to your liking.
- If not using a cast iron pan: Arrange the meat and veggies on top of your rice with the egg as your topper, and serve with gochujang on the side.
If using a cast iron pan: Wipe clean again and add a teaspoon of sesame oil.
- Add rice, then other ingredients back as if in a normal bowl, and heat until you hear a crackling sound. This is the rice getting its crunchy and crisp outside layer.
- If you have a dolsot (돌솥) or stone bowl: Heat bibimbap over a burner to get your rice crisp.
- Serve from the hot cast iron pan or dolsot with a side of gochujang.
- GOGUMA LATTE (고구마 라떼) or SWEET POTATO LATTE
A favorite winter snack in Korea is the roasted sweet potato. Compared to its European cousin, it has more of a sweet, nutty flavor which lends itself well to this dish. If you cannot find an Asian sweet potato in your local market, you can substitute with another variety; it will just be a not be as sweet, so you may have to adjust other levels.
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 cup half & half
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- Cinnamon (optional)
- Wash sweet potato thoroughly.
- Cut length-wise and place in the oven on a baking sheet at 350°F, for about 30 minute
- Check with a fork to see if the potato has softened. If not, keep baking them for 10-minute intervals until done.
- Once soft, remove the insides of the potato and put into a bowl.
- Add half & half and 2% milk (adjust milk fat content to your liking)
- Combine the potatoes, milk, sugar, and vanilla into a blender. Blend until smooth.
- If you want froth, blend longer.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve
We hope you enjoy these favorite Korean recipes! If you make them, let us know how they turn out and show us pictures of your dishes. Happy cooking!