Korean side dishes

We usually have a variety of classic Korean side-dishes on stock at all times. It just so happened that the other morning we ran out of a bunch of stuff and we spent all morning replenishing our stash. (Yes, we have a whole other fridge in our garage just for kimchee and other smelly foods we would rather not have inside…) This is what we made:

Bean Sprout Kimchee (Kong Namul)

Beansprout Kimchee

1 1/2 lbs beansprouts
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced thinly
2 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp hot red pepper flakes

Rinse the bean sprouts and remove any empty husks.
Fill a large shallow pot half with 2 cups of water and 1 tbsp salt. when boiling, put bean sprouts into pot and put lid on. When you see steam coming out of the top (2 min) turn heat off and steam for an additional 30 sec-1 min. You want the bean sprouts to be tender but still remain firm. If you overcook them they will turn into mush when you try to mix them. Remove them from the pot and fan them to cool them quickly (My mom and I take turns fanning them with a newspaper, this leads to much laughter). Add the remaining ingredients and toss to coat evenly. Refrigerate.

Spinach (Sigumchi Namul)


2 heads spinach rinsed, tough ends cut off (if preferred)
2 tsp roasted sesame seeds
2 green onions, sliced thin diagonally
2 large cloves garlic minced
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp soy sauce

In a tall pot bring 4 cups of water to boil with 1 tbsp salt. Dunk all the spinach in the boiling water 1 minute to blanch. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Squeeze all excess water out and put in a small mixing bowl. Add the additional ingredients, toss to coat. Refrigerate.

Shredded Radish Kimchee

radish kimchee

2 medium size daikon radish, peeled and julienned finely*
4 large cloves garlic minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tsp of salted shrimp sauce
2 green onions, sliced thin diagonally
1 tsp artificial sweetener (like splenda)
4 heaping tbsp red chili pepper

*(If you have a mandolin that makes matchstick size or smaller pieces that is easiest)
Salt the radish with 2 tbsp of salt and let it soften for 10 minutes(if it is too salty, rinse and drain a little). Drain the excess liquid by squeezing the radish lightly. If it is not salty enough, add additional salt as well as the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and refrigerate.

I realize these are not exact but korean cooking is largely your own personal taste,
and also my mother doesn’t have exact measurements, it’s all to taste, so I apologize. I would suggest salting first and adjusting this until it suits you, then adding the other ingredients.
If you have any questions feel free to comment and I’ll try to answer them…

Yummy Balls of Fried Dough..

Today while we were out running errands, my dad stopped into the Montblanc Bakery in Tacoma to get some delicious Korean treats. My brother got a few puff pastries filled with creamy yellow custard. We also got some of my favorites:

Red Bean Doughnut Holes

They are sweet rice doughnut holes filled with red bean paste covered in sesame seeds. The inside is soft and sweet while the outside is crunchy from the seeds and the deep-frying. They’re especially good while warm…Today they were exceptionally large and we ate a dozen of them by the time we got home.

Curry Chicken and Rice

Curry Chicken and Rice

Dinner tonight was a quick favorite. Depending on how thick you want it you can add more rice or you can vary the spiciness to suit your tastes by putting less/more curry powder.

3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup margarine/butter
1/4 cup flour
1 8oz can sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups chicken broth and mushroom liquid
1 tsp pepper
3 tbsp curry powder
3 cups diced cooked chicken
3-4 cups cooked white rice

Saute the chopped onion in butter over high heat in a large skillet. When the onions are clear add the flour and stir it in until smooth. Add the broth and mushroom liquid and cook until the flour mixture thickens, stir constantly to keep from lumping. Add mushrooms and seasonings, bring to simmer. Stir in about 2 cups of rice and the cooked chicken. Add in more rice until comes to desired consistency (depending on how juicy you want it).

My mom modified this recipe because the old one was more of a casserole you baked in the oven and the rice was uncooked. Since we have a lot of cooked rice all the time she just makes it on the stove and the results are just as good.

Seaweed Soup and Fried Tofu…YUM!

This will be the first of what I’m sure will be many Korean food posts since I am half-Korean and have grown up eating it my whole life. Although I was not too partial too it as a child, I have grown to be almost obsessed with eating it now. Besides spending the moring making various kimchee’s I also suggested we have seaweed soup for dinner. It might not go over so well with small children or picky eaters (as I once was…) but if you’re up to trying new foods I highly recommend it.

Seaweed soup (Miyokkuk)

seaweed soup

This soup is traditionally served on birthdays in Korea, and is also the first soup women eat after giving birth, because it is supposed to help new mothers breast feed (it supposedly stimulates milk production) and recuperate due to the nutrients in the seaweed. It’s also really low in calories. Besides all the health benefits it is great to warm you up on a cold night.

1 oz dried brown seaweed
1/4 pound beef top sirloin, minced
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp garlic (minced)
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
6 cups water
2 tbsp beef stock powder

Soak the seaweed in a bowl with enough cold water to cover. When it is rehydrated and soft (30 min-1 hr), drain it and cut it into 2 inch pieces. Heat a saucepan over medium heat; saute the beef and garlic in the sesame oil, and a little salt and cook it until the meat is done. Stir in the seaweed and add the water and the beef powder, and bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes until the seaweed is fully tender. Season to taste with the rest of the salt. When served add freshly ground black pepper.
Note: At first the seaweed might not look like much, but trust me, it swells up!

Fried Tofu squares w/ dipping sauce

Slice tofu into 1/2 inch thick squares, fry until golden brown in pan with some oil. The sauce consists of (and I’m approximating because it’s hard to mess up) :

1/4 cup soy sauce (my mother waters it down a bit)
1 tsp sesame oil
a pinch of sugar
2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp hot pepper
1 thinly sliced green onion


I’ll post more later on the various stuff we made earlier, but for now we are off to the movies finally! I was smart and went early to purchase the tickets so that we would not be disappointed again!

Turkish Delight

In preparation for seeing the The Chronicles of Narnia tomorrow, I decided to finally research what Turkish Delight is…(yeah, I never really knew, it just sounded good).

From Wikipedia.com:
“Turkish Delight, or lokum, is a confection made from starch and sugar. It is often flavored with rosewater or lemon, the former giving it a characteristic pale pink color. It has a soft, sticky consistency, and is often packaged and eaten in small cubes that are dusted with sugar to prevent sticking.”
“The history of lokum dates back 500 years, making it one of the oldest sweets in the world. Turkish legend has it that in his endeavor to cope with all his mistresses, a Turkish sultan summoned all his confectionery experts and ordered them to produce a unique dessert to add to the collection of secret recipes for which he was famous. As a result of extensive research lokum was born.”

I also found a recipie that I want to try..

2 cups sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup water
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 tbsp Flavoring *
Food coloring **
1/2 cups Toasted nuts, chopped ***
Confectioners’ sugar

*Flavorings: rose water, strawberry, orange, lemon
**Food Coloring: red, yellow, green or orange
***Nuts: almonds or pistachios

Dissolve sugar and cornstarch in water. Add cream of tartar. Boil to 220 degrees F. Cover pot the last 5 minutes. Add flavor and food coloring. Add nuts. Pour into greased shallow pan. When cool, cut into small squares and roll each piece in sifted powdered sugar. Store in plastic bag.

From: The Complete Greek Cookbook, by Theresa Karas Yianilos, Avenel Books, New York.

Turkish Delight
Originally uploaded by
Julie Leung.

Day One

Today is the first of what I hope will be many posts on the foods I love, the foods I cook, the foods I wish I could cook, and much more. No recipies for today, but I leave you with some food quotes…

“He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise.” ~Henry David Thoreau

“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside” ~Mark Twain

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” ~George Bernard Shaw