Monday, May 30, 2011

Seasoned Fish Cake (Uh Mook Jorim)

Uh mook means fish cake in Korean. There are many shapes and varieties and they are usually found in the frozen food section in Asian markets. It's one of those foods that is very nostalgic for us because it was a common side dish in our lunch boxes when we went to school and we could always find it at street food carts. It's kind of a guilty pleasure since it's usually not that healthy for you, but we try to make up for it by buying the more expensive fish cakes made with natural ingredients.

This dish is an easy and tasty side dish made by stir frying it in soy sauce.

2 T cooking oil
2 sheets fish cake (100g) sliced into 1/2" slices
1/2 small onion sliced
2 T sliced red or green pepper
2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1/2 T sugar
Black pepper
1 t sesame seeds

1. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat and add the garlic. Cook until you can smell the garlic cooking.

2. Add the onion and cook for another minute or two.

3. Add the fish cake slices. Stir around until the fish cake is soft, a couple minutes.

4. Add soy sauce.

5. Add the sugar.  Reduce heat and mix it around until the sauce is absorbed and the fish cake is an even golden brown. 1-2 minutes.

6. Add some pepper.

7. Add the pepper slices. Stir around until the pepper is slightly wilted.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and put on a cute plate. Ready to serve with some rice and kimchi and any other dish. It will also last for another day or two in the fridge, and it's great to pack in a lunch box with rice.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spicy Kimchi Stew (Kimchi Jjigae)

Jjigae means stew in Korean, and is another common dish we constantly crave. Here we make it with kimchi. It's hot and spicy and tangy and makes a bowl of rice disappear in a second.

The secret to kimchi jjigae is using very old kimchi(see kimchi bokkumbap). If you can't get a hold of the old kimchi that is sold, you can just let your kimchi age in your fridge until the cabbage loses its whiteness and turns dark and a bit transparent like the picture below. Taste the kimchi and if its really sour then it's perfect for jjigae.
Ingredients for 2 people:
1 1/2 cups old kimchi cut into small pieces
1 T cooking oil
1 can of tuna packed in water, drained (we think Dongwon brand is best for this dish)
6 dried anchovies and 1 square of dried kelp (Optional)
2 cups water
1 t sugar
1 t red pepper powder
1 T red chilli pepper slices
2 T green onion slices

1. Add anchovies and seaweed in to a pot with water and boil for 5 minutes. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a ceramic pot(it's ok to use whatever pot you have) and put in the kimchi slices. Let it fry for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add sugar.

4. Add the red pepper powder and mix it around.

5. Add the anchovy stock to the ceramic pot. Bring to boil then let it simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Add the tuna and let simmer for 5-10 more minutes. Simmer time may vary depending on how thick you like the jjigae to be. The longer you simmer, the richer the taste.

7. Add the green onions and red pepper and simmer for 1 more minute. Put on the table and enjoy!

* Pork version is also delicious and a bit more hearty. Just add 2 ounces of pork belly when you are frying the kimchi and let it cook through. Replace anchovy broth with regular water.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Green Onion Pancake (Pa-Jeon)

Koreans make Green Onion Pancakes (Pa Jeon) for a very low key snack or big holiday side dish.

When I (Jeana) was little, my mom would make this for our rainy day snack.  I'm from a small town in Korea so I had never heard or tasted of pizza until I was in 8th grade when I finally visited Seoul, so this dish was kind of our version of pizza back then! : )

There are lots of different versions of these pancakes (Jeon) but this time we made the most simple one using only green onions.  If you have left over kimchi or seafood (squid, mussels, shrimp..) you can just throw some in and it will taste even better!
*Ingredients for 1 pancake*
Korean Pancake Mix or Flour 1Cup
Water -- about 1Cup
A bunch of thin green onions
Red chili pepper 1 sliced

*Dipping Sauce*
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 T chopped green onions
Red and green chili peppers sliced
1t vinegar
Red pepper flakes (Optional)

This is Korean Pancake Mix.

In a medium bowl, combine pancake mix and water. If necessary, add more water to make batter desired thickness. (It shouldn't be too thick)

Heat a frying pan over medium high heat and add vegetable oil. Spread the green onions on the pan.

Pour the batter over green onions and make a round or square shape with a spatula. (another way: chop the green onions about 3 inch length and mix it with batter)

Add red pepper.

While one side is cooking, make the dipping sauce by combining the ingredients listed above.

When the bottom is a little brown and crispy, turn it over. (I turned it over a little too early...oops! but still tasted good!)

Serve it with the dipping sauce. We often eat this with rice wine in Korea.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkumbap)

This is one of our favorite ways to use old kimchi that's been sitting in the fridge for a while. It's so easy and comforting.

The key is to use kimchi that is a little old because it is more tangy and tastes better when fried. Also important is using rice that is a day old because it has less moisture and gets crispy at the bottom of the pan. If you don't have rice that's a day old, just make rice as usual but use a little less water and stick it in the freezer for 5 minutes to cool.

Also Our favorite brand of Kimchi is "Chongga". We've tried all kinds of brands but this one is by far the best.  The one on the right is regular fresh kimchi which needs at least 10 days to be ready for Kimchi Fried Rice. The one on the left is old fermented Kimchi so it's already ready. This is about $7.99 at a Korean Market.

Ingredients for 4 servings:
4 cups old kimchi, cut into bite size pieces
4 bowls of one day old rice (cold)
2 T cooking oil
1 T butter
1 T red pepper paste (gochujang, sold in Korean markets) - if you don't have it, you can skip it.
1 T sesame oil
Pepper to taste

4 eggs
Sesame seasoned seaweed, crushed (sold in the Asian section of most supermarkets)
Chopped green onions

1.Heat a frying pan on medium and add cooking oil. Then add the kimchi and fry for a few minutes until it is heated through.

2. Add butter and red pepper paste

3. Add the rice. Use a spatula to break it up and mix it around so all the rice is evenly coated in the kimchi and paste.

4. Add sesame oil.

5. Spread the rice evenly on the pan and let it sit for a couple minutes so the bottom turns a little crispy and brown.

6. While the rice is browning, fry up the eggs in a separate pan. We like sunny side up because it looks the nicest. But remember to cover the pan with a lid so the top side cooks and is not too runny.

7. Mix the rice again using the spatula and then put in serving bowls. Top each bowl with a fried egg, crushed seaweed, and a sprinkling of the green onion.

*Variations with more protein: Fry some chopped ham in the pan before adding the kimchi. Or add canned tuna(drained) with the kimchi.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


These dishes make a nice set of meal (Bapsang)!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spicy Cucumber Salad (Oee Muchim)

'Muchim' is the Korean word for any dish that is made by mixing vegetables and sauce ingredients by hand in a bowl. These dishes are usually whipped up in the kitchen as a quick side dish and are a nice alternative to kimchi when you don't have any in the house. Definitely a useful recipe to have on hand.

5 small cucumbers sliced 1/4"thick
1 T salt
1 t minced garlic
1 T chopped green onion
2 t red chili powder
2 t white vinegar (rice or apple vinegar preferably)
2 t sugar
1 t toasted sesame seeds
1 t sesame oil (optional)

1. Put the cucumber slices and the salt into a bowl and mix around with your hands. Let sit for 5 minutes then squeeze out any excess water that formed.

2. Add the vinegar, red chili pepper, sugar, minced garlic, green onions and mix it around so everything is evenly coated. (add sesame oil if you'd like)

3. Add sesame seeds and it's ready to serve. Will stay good in the fridge for 1 or 2 days.