Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lunch Box (Dosirak)

I found these old school stainless steel lunchboxes a couple years ago at a garage sale and couldn't resist. Brings back memories of Korea, picnics, Mom. All that good stuff.

Here we recreated a version that they have at Kanghodong Baekjeong in LA. (Their rib eye is to die for by the way). They have the shaken lunchbox on the menu and it seemed so easy and fun to make we decided to give it a try. The banchan can change depending on what you have in your fridge but I would always use kimchi, fried egg, and the seaweed.

- 1 bowl cooked rice
- Banchan 1: 
- Banchan 2:
- Banchan 3:
- 1 fried egg, sunny side up
- Some crushed seasoned seaweed

Banchan 1: Lotus Root

Banchan 2: Stir Fried Anchovy

Banchan 3: Fried Kimchi. It's super easy. Just heat a spoon of oil in a pan. Add a 1/2 cup of chopped kimchi and 1/2 t sugar. Fry until the oil in pan is bright orange and kimchi is soft, around 5 min.

When you have all your banchan ready you can start assembling the lunchbox. First put the rice in the lunchbox.

Then arrange the different banch on top of the rice along with the crushed seaweed.

We used the second lunchbox for dessert. Fresh cherries!

I would love to have this in my bag for lunch everyday.

Shake it up like they make you do at Konghodong. Or just mix it around with your chopsticks and voila you have a lovely lunch. Oh and the bohjagi can double as a table cloth.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Lotus Root (Yeongun Bokkum)

Lotus root is one of those exotic things you find on your table at Korean or Japanese restaurants, but it's actually a common side dish great for lunchboxes or everyday meals. I love the cuteness of the shape and it's delicious as well.

You can buy the actual root which is brown and around the size of your fore arm or you can just buy the pre sliced version packed in water. The actual fresh root is more crisp and fresh while the pre sliced version will soak up the brown of the soy sauce better so it will be prettier. It depends on your preference. We opted for the crisp texture of fresh lotus root.

- 6 inches of lotus root sliced into 1/4" rounds
- 2 T rice vinegar
- 3 T soy sauce
- 2 cups and 1/2 cup water
- 2 T honey
- 1 T sugar
- 2 T rice wine
- 1 TSesame seeds
- Vegetable oil

1. Put the lotus root slices in bowl with 2 cups water and the vinegar. This helps brighten up the color. Let sit for 15 minutes.

2. In a smaller bowl, mix up the soy sauce, water, sugar and honey.

3.  Drain the lotus root slices.

4. Heat a pan on medium and add some cooking oil. Add the lotus root and fry until slightly golden.

5. Add the soy sauce mixture. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer while continuously stirring the lotus root and making sure all the slices are evenly covered. When the lotus root slices have absorbed most of the sauce and are sticky.

6. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and you're done.

Stay tuned for the next post, which will be a lunchbox using this lotus root dish.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Potato Pancake (Gahmja Jeon)

Yes, we love pancakes and can't get enough. Here we are making yet another Korean pancake. It is a bit more labor intensive than other pancakes but we think it's totally worth it. Great for a rainy afternoon snack.

2 potatoes
Small handful of chopped Chinese leeks (optional)
1 chili pepper, thinly sliced
1 T flour

1. Peel the potatoes and grate them on a fine grater.

2. Put the grated potatoes in a strainer and let the water drain out.

3. Add the Chinese leeks, pepper slices, and flour. Mix around.

4. Heat some oil in a non stick frying pan and put a scoop of the potato mix in. You can adjust the size of the pancake to your liking. Use a spatula to spread it out and make a nice flat circle.

5. When the bottom is golden brown, flip it. Cook the other side until it is the same color.

 Enjoy with a dipping sauce. We use soy sauce, rice vinegar, and red chili powder.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Seaweed soup (Miyuk Guk)

Seaweed soup is a super easy, nutritious, and delicious. In Korea it's also known to be great for pregnant ladies or ladies who have just given birth thanks to the nutrients in seaweed that is good for your blood. It's a tradition to have seaweed soup on your birthday because this is the food that your mom had the day you were born.

- 3-4 oz beef, sliced into very small pieces, preferably rib eye
- 1/3 cup dried seaweed
- 1 T sesame oil
- 3 T soup soy sauce, this is different from regular soy sauce and can be found in Asian markets

1. Put the dried seaweed in a large bowl of water and soak for at least half an hour. Drain and squeeze the water out. Set aside.

2. Heat a pot on medium and put the sesame oil in.

3. Add the beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple minutes until it's halfway cooked.

4. Add the drained seaweed with 1 T of the soup soy sauce. Saute for a couple minutes.

5. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the remaining soy sauce. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Skim the top of the soup. Taste and add more soy sauce if needed.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bean sprout Bap (Kongnamul Bap)

This is a dish that many people are probably not familiar with. It's rice cooked with bean sprouts and topped with a sauce. Very simple and very healthy. I remember my mom cooking it for us when we were bored with regular rice. Could be good for pregnant ladies who don't have much of an appetite, as Jeana also really liked this one. The key is in the tangy spicy sweet sauce mixed with the fragrant veggies.

Ingredients for 2:
1 1/4 cup rice
1 piece of dried kelp
2 1/2 cup water
2 handfuls of bean sprouts
1 small bunch of rucambole (can be found in produce section of Korean market. Pronounced 'dallae' in Korean. Can be substituted with chinese leeks or other green sprouts)

2 T red chili powder
6 T soy sauce
2 T chopped green onion
1/2 T minced garlic
1 T Korean cooking syrup (or agave syrup)
1 T sesame seeds
1 T sesame oil
1/2 chopped green chili (optional)

1. Put the water, rice and kelp in a bowl and let it sit for at least 1/2 hour.

2. Drain the rice and save the water it was sitting in. Put the rice in a sauce pan on medium heat. Add 1 1/4 cup of the water you saved.
3. Add the bean sprouts and put the top on. Bring to a boil.
4. Flip the rice over before it has a chance to stick to the bottom. Lower heat and put the top back on. Simmer on low for 10-12 minutes or until the rice is done. The water should be all evaporated and the rice cooked through.
5. Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl.

6. Place rice in the bottom of a bowl and top with the rucambole and sauce. Enjoy with some kimchi, of course.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


If you are Korean you may have some fond memories of getting hungry in the middle of the night and mixing up a bowl of rice with whatever banchan(side dishes) you can find sitting in the fridge. This is what bibimbap is essentially. Just mix rice, side dishes, some red pepper paste, sesame oil, an egg and you're done. It's one of the most popular dishes in Korea and also why we love to fly Korean Air. (They serve bibimbap and it beats any other kind of airplane food hands down.)

Here we will be making a typical version from scratch. But again, there are no rules. You can change what goes in it.

1 carrot sliced into match sticks
1/2 large zucchini sliced in to matchsticks
1 handful of shittake mushrooms sliced
1/2 bunch spinach
1/3 daikon sliced into matchsticks
2 oz of thinly sliced brisket (rib eye is also good. buy the meat that is sliced for shabu shabu. If you don't have an Asian market you can slice it thinly yourself by freezing the meat for 30 minutes)
Minced garlic
1 T soy sauce
1 t rice wine
Sesame oil
Seasame seeds
Cooking oil
2 bowls cooked rice
2 eggs sunny side up

3 T red pepper paste
1 t plum extract
1 t sesame oil
1 t sesame seeds
1 T Korean cooking syrup (oligodang)
1 t vinegar (we used apple cider vinegar)

1. Slice the meet into small pieces.  In a bowl add the meat, 1 T soy sauce, 1 t minced garlic, 1/2 t sugar, 1t rice wine, 1/2 t sesame oil, 1/2 sesame seeds, salt and pepper. Mix and let marinate. 
2. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the daikon and boil for 5 minutes until slightly tender. Take them out and drain under cold water. Set aside. In the same pot of water add the spinach and blanche for 1-2 minutes. Drain under cold water and set aside.

3. In a bowl, add the spinach, 1/2 t minced garlic, 1/4 t salt, 1/2 t sesame oil and mix well. 

4. Heat up a frying pan and add the daikon matchsticks along with 1/2 t minced garlic, salt and pepper. Fry until tender and transluscent. Set aside.

5. In the same pan add some oil, mushrooms, sesame seeds, salt and pepper. Fry for a few minutes until soft. Set aside.

6. In the same pan add the zucchini with salt and pepper. Fry for a few minutes until soft. Set aside.

7. In the same pan add some more oil (if necessary), the carrots, salt and pepper. Fry until soft. Set aside.

8. Finally, add the marinated meat and fry until cooked through.

Here is a picture of all the toppings we just made. Kind of reminds us of japchae toppings.

9. In a small bowl, add all the sauce ingredients and mix well.

To serve, put rice in a large bowl and arrange the toppings. Add the egg and sauce. You can also add crushed seasoned seaweed for garnish.  This took us over an hour to make but if you have Korean leftovers in the fridge it might only take you 10 minutes.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kimchi Pancake (Kimchi Jeon)

Kimchi pancakes is another easy dish to whip up easily when you need to make a snack or extra banchan with ingredients you most likely already have.

1/2 cup pancake mix or flour
1 cup chopped kimchi
1 green chili pepper
1/2 cup icy cold water

1. Slice the chili pepper.

2. Put the kimchi, flour, water in a bowl.
3. Mix it well.
4. Heat some cooking oil in a non stick skillet on medium to high. When the it is hot put a scoop of the pancake mix onto the pan.
5. Use a spatula to spread it into a flat round shape.
6. Place some chili slices onto the pancake.
7. When the bottom is crispy looking, flip it over. Cook until the other side is also crisp. (You might have to add a bit more oil if it's not turning crispy)

Enjoy while it's still warm!