food for thought

by michelle

spicy stir-fried squid + cabbage and bok choy with bean paste

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Now that I’m home I’m inspired to try some Korean cooking. Ojingeo bokkeum is a perennial favorite among Koreans and can be found on most restaurant menus. Like most Korean food it is hearty and spicy. This recipe is adapted from kimchimom.com.

In a large bowl mix together 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 2 teaspoons of minced ginger, 1 tablespoon of gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, ¼ of a cup of gochujang (Korean red pepper paste). Clean and score 450g (1 lb) of squid (or use thawed frozen squid) and cut it into pieces. Add it to the sauce, making sure it is thoroughly coated, and allow it to marinate for 20 minutes. Heat some oil in a wok or large frypan over high heat. Add 5 stalks green onions (cut into lengths), 1 green chili pepper (thinly sliced) and 1 red pepper cut into pieces. Sauté until the onions start to wilt. Now add the marinated squid and cook for approximately 1½ – 2 minutes until cooked through (the squid will curl and become opaque). Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tabelspoon of sesame oil. Remove to a platter and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.

This cabbage and bok choy recipe (adapted from maangchi.com) is a great foil for the spicy squid.

Cut 300g (10½ oz) of cabbage into pieces and separate the leaves of 3 large bok choy. Blanch the cabbage in boiling water for approximately 5 minutes then add the bok choy for 1-2 minutes until the stems appear slightly less opaque. Strain the vegetables and rinse under cold running water to stop them cooking. In a bowl combine 1 minced garlic clove, 1 minced green onion, 2 tablespoons of doenjang (fermented soybean paste), 2 teaspoons of gochujang (hot pepper paste), a pinch of sugar and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and mix well. Squeeze the cabbage and bok choy to remove excess water and add to the bowl, mixing well. Serve garnished with sesame seeds.

Written by michelle picker

July 20, 2017 at 5:42 am

traditional set lunch

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Wandering around Insa-dong in Seoul, we overheard someone saying that a restaurant was her mother’s favourite. Of course, we had to try it. She recommended the traditional set lunch.

It included mackerel, tiny sardines, some sort of fish floss, kimchi, tofu, pickled cucumber, pickled chayote (choko), chilli paste, soup, rice and a few other things I couldn’t quite place.

Written by michelle picker

July 14, 2017 at 6:04 am

korean teahouse

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A visit to Korea wouldn’t be complete without a teahouse. We found this charming one on our travels.

As the weather was hot we chose an iced green plum tea with pine nuts.

To accompany our tea we ordered a traditional Korean confection called Gangjeong. Made of glutinous rice it is a deep-fried rice puff, extremely light, chewy and hollow inside and coated with honey and puffed rice. Gangjeong can also be coated in a variety of nutty beans, nuts, seeds, pollen, or spice powders and are often served during important events like weddings and New Year celebrations.

Written by michelle picker

July 8, 2017 at 5:42 am

korean food shopping

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In Korea, you can’t help but notice all the Lotte stores. There are Lotte Department Stores and even Lotte Duty Free at the airport but best of all are the supermarkets: Lotte Mart. The vast varieties of tofu could be confusing……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

but the most fun for a non-Korean speaker are the snacks. Lotte have their own brand which you will find in Asian stores near you.

 

Of the snacks we tried this was our firm favourite – crunchy little crab-shaped and flavoured snacks with a strong kick of wasabi. Try them if you get the chance!

Written by michelle picker

July 2, 2017 at 5:42 am

dolsot bibimbap

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I think this might be my favourite Korean dish.

Bibimbap literally means mixed rice and this variation is served in a very hot (dolsot) stone bowl. Usually made of granite, the bowl is so hot that anything that touches it sizzles for minutes. Before the rice is added, the bottom of the bowl is coated with sesame oil making the rice cook to a crisp, golden brown. Sliced beef and vegetables are common additions and there is often a raw or fried egg on top.

It’s always served with gojuchang (a savoury, sweet and spicy fermented chilli paste) and stirred together thoroughly just before eating. Expect some kimchi and other accompaniments too.

 

Written by michelle picker

June 26, 2017 at 6:03 am

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bingsoo / bingsu

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This Korean dessert of shaved ice was traditionally served with only a few ingredients such as red beans, condensed milk, fruit syrup and fresh fruit. Today Bingsoo is a popular dessert served in specialised restaurants with a myriad variety of ingredients. We enjoyed these two sophisticated versions in The Lounge at the Seoul Park Hyatt.

Honey Bingsoo with shaved milk ice, Warak Mountain honeycomb, chantilly cream, roasted apple puree and pecans.

Mango Bingsoo  with shaved mango milk ice, fresh mango, coconut jelly, cardamom crumble, yogurt ice cream and mango coulis.

Altogether too delicious!

 

Written by michelle picker

June 20, 2017 at 5:51 am

gimbap

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I like to travel with my tastebuds so while visiting Korea my food choices are local. Gimbap is Korea’s version of sushi. The toasted seaweed (gim) is sometimes brushed with sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Instead of using vinegared rice as the Japanese do, steamed rice (bap) is mixed with sesame oil and seasoned or sweetened according to taste. Vegetable and meat ingredients are seasoned and stir-fried or pan-fried. Other fillings could include canned tuna, ham, cheese and luncheon meat.

We tried these spicy pork gimbap. Served with kimchi and pickled radish, of course.

Written by michelle picker

June 14, 2017 at 5:50 am

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