food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘korean food

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


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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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korean bbq

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I’m making sure I try everything Korean while I’m visiting Seoul. Gogigui (Korean barbecue) refers to the method of cooking meat. The meal is prepared at the diner’s table on gas or charcoal grills. The most representative form is bulgogi which is made from thinly sliced marinated beef. Galbi (beef short ribs) are also popular.

We decided to try bulgogi and pork shoulder as well as a platter of vegetables.

The bulgogi was cooked with onions and a few sweet potato noodles on the copper dish behind the charcoal barbecue. After cooking it was served in the liquid around the edge. Like all Korean meals there were numerous side dishes including steamed egg, kimchi, pickled mushrooms, pickled shiso (parilla) leaf, lettuce salad with black sesame dressing, lettuce and shiso leaves, fresh garlic, chilli paste, fresh tofu and a spicy shredded leek salad.

Written by michelle picker

June 8, 2017 at 5:49 am


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Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish (banchan) made from salted and fermented vegetables.There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi but it is most commonly made with napa cabbage and Korean white radish (mu) and a variety of seasonings including Korean chilli flakes (gochugaru), garlic, ginger and often dried seafood. Traditionally kimchi was stored underground in jars but today most people in Korea have dedicated kimchi fridges. Mary and I finally got around to making some.

For a large jar of kimchi, cut 1 large Napa cabbage into chunks. Dissolve ⅛ of a cup of salt in warm water and immerse the cabbage for 30 minutes. Meanwhile process 4 cloves of garlic, an equal amount of ginger, 1 tablespoon of unrefined sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce to make a smooth paste. Add 1 cup of Korean chilli flakes. Cut 350g each of carrots and white radish into julienne and cut a bunch of spring onions into similar lengths. Drain the cabbage and without rinsing pat it dry. Combine everything in a large bowl and pound or knead the mixture to get the vegetables to release their juices. When there is a reasonable amount of liquid in the mixture transfer it to a large jar and weigh it down so that the vegetables are all submerged (a smaller jar full of water makes a good weight). Stand the jar in a tub (liquid will escape) and allow it to ferment for 1 week at room temperature. If you prefer a sourer flavour you can leave it for longer. When you’re happy with the flavour and texture transfer it to the fridge. It will keep for some months.

As well as being eaten as a side dish, kimchi is often used in cooking. Here’s a delicious noodle stir-fry.

First cook 150g (5½ oz) of cellophane (bean-thread) noodles and set aside. Chop 1 onion, 4 large mushrooms, 2 rashers of bacon and some spring onions. In a bowl combine 2 finely diced cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoons of Korean chilli paste (gochujang), 3 teaspoons of soy sauce, 3 teaspoons of honey, 3 teaspoons of raw sugar, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar and ½ a cup of hot water. Heat a wok over medium heat and fry the bacon then the onion and the mushrooms. Add 1 cup of kimchi, the sauce and the noodles. Cook until everything is hot and well combined. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with the chopped spring onions. Turn the heat up and add more oil to the wok. Fry 3 lightly salted eggs until they are cooked and then place them over the noodle stir-fry. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and toasted seaweed (kim in Korean or kankoku nori in Japanese).

Written by michelle picker

May 21, 2017 at 6:01 am

pork bulgogi stir-fry

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This Korean style stir-fry is spicy and sweet. The Korean ingredients are available at most Asian food stores.


In a food processor combine a peeled and cored pear with 4 minced cloves of garlic, a minced knob of ginger, ¼ of a cup of Korean chilli paste, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of Korean chilli powder and 1 tablespoon of mirin or sake. Marinate 600g (1 lb 5 oz) of finely sliced lean pork in this mixture with 4 finely sliced spring onions for 2 hours if possible. Meanwhile slice ¼ of a small cabbage, 1 carrot and one large brown onion. When you’re ready to cook heat a wok over high heat. Add vegetable oil and fry first the carrot and cabbage for a few minutes, then the onion for a further minute before adding the pork and marinade. Continue to cook until the pork is cooked through. Serve with steamed rice.

Written by michelle picker

January 23, 2014 at 5:55 am

bi bim bap

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This Korean rice dish is traditionally served in heated stone bowls, making the rice crispy around the edges. For my version the ingredients you will need from a Korean or Japanese store are rice (short grain sushi quality), dried sliced Shitake mushrooms, toasted nori strips, black sesame seeds, chilli paste and white miso. Measure the rice into a heavy saucepan (½ a cup per person) adding a little salt and a splash of corn or sunflower oil (or similar). Now boil a kettle of water and during this time stir the rice over medium heat until the oil is well distributed and some of the rice is beginning to turn opaque. Turn down the heat and add 1 cup of boiling water for every ½ cup of rice. Cover the saucepan and cook for 15 minutes then switch off and leave undisturbed until required. Meanwhile, to serve over the rice, place some of the dried sliced Shitake mushrooms in a small saucepan and cover with boiling water. Simmer until soft then add a tablespoon of soy sauce and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Continue to cook until the liquid is absorbed. Now shred or finely slice some carrots and some zucchinis. Each of these should be briefly cooked in a little oil with the addition of a little salt. For protein I have sometimes served this dish with grilled salmon (see my grilled salmon) or strips of omelette flavoured with a little soy sauce and sesame oil. This time it was steak marinated in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 3 teaspoons of red wine vinegar, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and pepper to taste. This was quickly fried in a hot pan then rested for a minute and sliced. To serve, portion the rice into bowls and arrange all the other ingredients on top. Sprinkle with the toasted nori strips and black sesame seeds. Serve this dish with a sauce made by mixing chilli paste, miso and some sugar with a little hot water, tasting to balance the salt, sugar and heat.

Written by michelle picker

February 24, 2011 at 8:55 am