Tteokbokki are a favorite snack in my household. They are delicious chewy rice cakes in a spicy (and a liiiiiiittle bit sweet) sauce. Koreans typically mix in fish cakes, green onion, and hard boiled eggs. Feel free to mix any of these in at the end! But this recipe follows my vegetarian diet, so instead of fish cakes I always add in some delicious broccoli. So Let's get cooking!
Step 1: Start by preparing all ingredients. Clean and chop broccoli, clean and slice the green onion. I like the green onion to be sliced in 3-4 inch segments, then I slice the white parts lengthwise. Also I guess open the tteok package? Preparing the ingredients for this dish is really easy.
Step 2: Combine tteok, water, gochujang, gochugaru and sugar in a pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Bring down to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes. The sauce should be thickened at this point.
Step 3: Add green onion and broccoli and stir. After the broccoli is cooked, top with sesame seeds and serve!
What midwesterner doesn't love potatoes?
That was a rhetorical question, because obviously they don't exist. So as a midwestern korean, I can't get enough of this side dish. These braised potatoes are both sweet and savory. They take about 40 minutes to make, but are actually pretty hands-off.
Step 1: Preparing your potatoes!
If you're using some russet potatoes, start by peeling the potatoes. If using a new or red potato, you can skip the peeling. I used new potatoes so I just went straight to cubing them. Cut into about 1/2 inch pieces.
After chopping up the potatoes, I rinse them off to get rid of excess starch. After that, straight into a pot!
Step 2: Mince up your garlic, and add it, the water, soy sauce and brown sugar. Stir it up!
Step 3: Cooking the potatoes.
Bring the potatoes to a boil on the stove top. The quickest way to do this is on the highest setting. Then bring the setting down to medium. Cook the potatoes covered, on medium, for 20 minutes. Stir every five minutes or so, just to ensure the potatoes don't stick to the pot.
After those 20 minutes, give another good stir. Cook, now uncovered, for another 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. The remaining liquid will be thick and syrup-y. It should look something like this:
Step 4: Last additions!
Drizzle the sesame oil over, mix in the sesame seeds, and you're ready to serve! WARNING ABOUT SESAME OIL: feel free to change the amount. I honestly don't even measure it, I just approximated that I used 1 teaspoon. But always start out with less than you think you need and add more. Sesame oil is really strong, and notorious for tricking cooks who aren't familiar with it, use too much.
Have some kimchi that's gone just a tad sour? Don't throw it away! In colder weather I would make some delicious kimchi jigae (stew). But since in the summer I like to eat cooler dishes (than a boiling stew), I make kimchi pancakes. They are simply to make, and surprisingly delicious. But let's be honest, what Korean food isn't delicious?
Step 1: cute kimchi into bite sized pieces, slice green onion, then mix everything together in a bowl. Add more flour or liquid until you have something inbetween a batter and a dough. (yeah, that easy)
Step 2: Start cooking the pancakes!
Heat about 1/2 Tbs of oil (you'll use this much for each pancake) over medium high-high heat in a skillet. This will make 1-3 pancakes depending on how large you want them to be! I decided to go with three. After heating the oil, drop the batter into the pan, spreading it out with a spoon.
Step 3: After about 2 and a half minutes of cooking, you should be able to see the edges are all cooked. Check that the bottom is nice and toasty brown, then flip! Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
I always serve these pancakes with my all-purpose dipping sauce (meaning I use if for pancakes, eggrolls, and mandu). 1 part soy sauce, 1 part vinegar, 1 part water, a couple of tablespoons of sesame seeds. As always, taste the sauce and adjust to your liking! (a fun addition is a half tablespoon of gochugaru to give it some spice!)
My sister visited this weekend, so obviously we needed to make something delicious! We both love studio ghibli films, and planned on watching one that night. What better combination than watching Ponyo and eating the Ramen that appears? ^.^
We decided to use our favorite packaged Korean ramen and dress it up like in the movie. When I eat ramen, I actually usually add in egg and green onion like I did this night. But for my sister we added something special: HAM!
Below is a picture or the ramen I usually buy. In Korea they pronounce the food as "ramyun", ergo the packaging. In order to get the ham I wanted, I went to the deli counter and asked if I could get a quarter pound of ham cut to cheese thickness.
Steps to Making the Ramen
Step 1: Preparing all of your toppings separately is simple and can be done ahead of time. Hard-boil some eggs, and cut them to your liking. My sister wanted them cut in half like the movie, but I think that's too difficult to eat so mine are sliced. You can also make egg strips: make a plain omelet and slice thinly. Slice the green onion. Buy the ham. Step one: done!
Step 2: Make your ramen according to the package! I prepare mine by boiling water on the stove top, adding the soup flavouring, then cooking the noodles for about 3 minutes.
Step 3: Place your toppings! I used the egg and green onion, my sister use egg, green onion, and HAM! Hers ended up looking prettier..
Step 4: EAT! With some kimchi and rice, of course. And if you're like us, this step also includes watching Ponyo.
I have recently started drinking coffee. So being the person I am (i.e. loves spending money on food-stuffs), I also invested in three flavoured syrups, three flavoured sauces, and a fantastic french press. The only issue I've found is that neither of my roommates drinks coffee. As a result, I always make too much -_-
So I take my leftover coffee and have it in a jar in the refrigerator. It makes it easy to grab for an iced coffee any time of day. Usually I'll have my iced coffee with some almond milk and a couple of teaspoons of coffee syrup.
But for a special treat, I decided to make some Vietnamese style iced coffee! This drink is absolutely delicious and tastes like coffee flavoured ice cream.
Putting the drink together is really simple. Start by filling your glass with crushed ice. Stir in coffee and vanilla syrup. The last step is to pour the condensed milk over the top and watch it gorgeously flow down to the bottom.
In my Korean Meatball recipe, I used 1/4 lb of tofu. But the tofu I bought is in a 1 lb package! What should I do with my leftover tofu?
Before using it for delicious banchan or filling in mandu, I have to store it in the meantime. So here is the simple way to store tofu!
After rinsing and using your tofu, place the remaining bricks in a container. Cover with water. Just as the package says, all that is left to do is place in the refrigerator! Change the water every 1-2 days to keep the tofu fresh, but it is as easy as that!
When I came home from school every day, my grandmother would always have food waiting. Usually it consisted of fresh rice, kimchi, and keem (seaweed that you would use for sushi, "nori" in japanese). But on some special days, I would come home to some delicious korean-seasoned meat patties. I know, "meat patty" doesn't sound super appetizing. But they were sweet and salty and delicious!
Recently I noticed that at Noodles and Company they are selling gochujang glazed meatballs, so I thought why not take a crack at combining the two? Here is my attempt!
Secondly, the gochujang is optional. My grandmother didn't use it, but if you want a little kick, go ahead and add it into your glaze mixture. I opted not to use it today.
Making the meatballs:
Step 1: Before mixing everything together, we need to prepare the vegetables and tofu. For the tofu, chop into small pieces.(Read how to store leftover tofu here). Mince onion and garlic, grate carrot, and slice green onion into smaller pieces.
Step 2: Combine all ingredients (save for the cornstarch and vegetable oil) in a bowl. You should have a mixture that looks like this:
Step 3: Form into 1-1 1/2 inch meatballs. This recipe should make about 18 meatballs.
Step 4: Set up a plate with cornstarch on it. This is your coating station! Take each meatball and roll in the cornstarch, lightly coating it.
Step 5: Now we are ready to cook the meatballs! Heat about a quarter cup of vegetable oil in a pan over medium high heat. Once the oil is thoroughly heated, carefully place the meatballs in the oil for 1 minute on each side (even though they are balls, I imagine there are 4 different sides to cook on, so I cook them for a total of 4 minutes each). I was able to cook 6 at a time. Note that for real beef meatballs, the meat will not be cooked through all the way. This is okay! Place the meatballs aside once pan-fried, so that we can continue cooking them in the sauce.
Making the Sauce:
Step 1: Combine all of the ingredients listed for the sauce. I suggest using a whisk to combine thoroughly, particularly in order to dissolve the granulated sugar.
Step 2: Heat your pan up over medium heat. Add the sauce and whisk until it just starts to bubble.
Putting it together:
Final step: Place meatballs in the glaze/sauce and cover. Let cook until meat is completely cooked and sauce is thickened. Top with sesame seeds (or not, it just makes it pretty!).
I ended up eating my meatballs with fresh rice and some kimchi. The meatballs are pretty saucy and sweet, so the spice and tartness of the kimchi pairs perfectly with them!
This one is a personal favorite of both me and my sister. Our grandmother makes it whenever we have cucumbers on hand. It's also another super easy recipe!
Preparing the Cucumber:
Step 1: In order to prep the cucumber for your delicious banchan, start by peeling strips of the skin off if you purchased an English cucumber. These cucumbers' skin can be a little tough otherwise. If you purchased pickling cucumbers, go ahead and skip this!
Step 2: Next, cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and slice! Place in a bowl and toss with the salt and sugar. It should look like this:
Step 3: Let the cucumber sit for about 30 minutes. The salt draws out extra moisture, which cucumbers have a lot of! After 30 minutes, you can drain all of the liquid. [N.B.: In my radish kimchi recipe, you use some of the liquid. You can do that here, but the cucumbers will still have plenty of moisture.]
Seasoning the Dish!
Step 4: Seasoning the dish is actually quite simple. Place the other ingredients in with the cucumber, and combine! You should have a delicious banchan in no time.
Warning: So delicious it may not last longer than one meal.
Kimchi is the staple of korean side dishes and comes in many varieties. The most common in western culture is kimchi made with napa cabbage. This kimchi I've made today however, is made with korean radish, called Mu. If you can't find Mu in your grocery store, daikon radish will work as well. It is a deliciously crunchy kimchi to have with your rice and maybe some delicious korean meatballs! (Recipe to come soon ;) )
A note on the ingredients: To make a more authentic Korean radish, use fish sauce. Since I am a vegetarian and usually like staying away from fish sauce, I substitute in soy sauce.
Additionally, feel free to change the amount of any of these ingredients! In particular, you may want to adjust the amount of hot pepper flakes to your spice preference. This is just the ratio that I personally like. :)
Step 1: First things first: preparing the radish. To get our radish all ready for kimchi making, first I peel and rinse the radish. Then cut into 1/4 inch cubes.
Step 1.1: Place the radish in a bowl, toss with the salt and sugar. Let this sit for 30 minutes. Why? The salt will help pull out excess water from the radish. During this time I slice my green onions/mince my garlic. After 30 minutes, drain all but approximately 1 Tbs. of the liquid.
Step 2: Mix in remaining ingredients.
Step 3: Enjoy! Yup, it's that simple!
I placed most of my kimchi in a jar which I set out on the counter. Since I like my kimchi a little more fermented, I will let it ferment for a couple of days before putting it in the refrigerator. The rest I put in a container to put in the refrigerator as is, for fresher, crisper kimchi!
This past weekend I went on a grocery shopping trip with my sister to our local asian foods specialty store. We went to Midwest Oriental Foods in Omaha, NE, one of my favorites because of how quintessentially Korean it feels. The Korean family that owns the store is incredibly nice and sometimes has their grandchildren around the store. It's a flashback to my childhood playing in the back of my own grandparent's wig store. I would eat delicious Korean food and learn my alphabet with my 할머니(grandmother) while my 할아버지 (grandfather) manned the front of the store. While the store was not the fanciest or nicest looking of all stores, it was a second home to me. But I digress. Midwest Oriental Foods is exactly like that. It doesn't look the nicest, but the people are nice, the foods delicious, with a good variety of goods.
We went shopping with the intention of just buying whatever we liked. There was no grocery list to limit us. It should go without saying that it was a expensive trip. We first looked at the produce section. They carried more common produce such as onions and carrots. But they also carried produce that is more exotic, more typical to Korea.
We moved toward the back of the store where there are more of the pre-made or packaged items. And my god did they have a lot of kimchi! There were probably 20 different varieties in three different sizes ranging from radish top kimchi to green onion kimchi. In all honestly, I've never had store-bought kimchi since my grandmother makes an abundance of it. However, seeing all of the varieties definitely piqued my interest to buy in the future.
In addition to the vast amount of kimchi, there seemed to be a ridiculous variety of brands of gochujang (korean hot pepper paste). There were two shelves of it, which just goes to show what a staple in Korean cooking it is. I already had both kimchi and gochujang at home, but I did not have some delicious rice cakes! The rice cakes here pictured are used in new years soup which is just delicious.
Finally, my sister and I ended out trip by buying some junk food! We bought ourselfs Ramune japanese sodas which are a lot of fun to open! I highly suggest you buy one if only for the sheer fun of opening them. We also grabbed shrimp flavoured chips (a favorite among my family members) and some green tea flavoured candies (a personal favorite).