Dakbokkeumtang

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Korean spicy chicken stew!

This is one of those dishes that it’s so easy to make at home, although it needs to cook/simmer for an hour, the ingredient preparation will only take a few minutes.  I often eat it in the winter as it’s spicy and comforting but I was suddenly craving some so made it this week.

There are lots of recipes available but this is how I made it

  • In a casserole / heavy bottomed pan, mix the seasoning:
    • 3 tbsp gochugaru  (Korean red chili pepper flakes) with 3 tbsp gochujang (Korean red chilli paste).
    • Add 5 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbs sesame oil and 1 tbs brown sugar or honey.
    • Add 3 minced garlic gloves or a tbsp of garlic paste
    • optional add 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • Add your chicken pieces to this mix. You can use a whole chicken chopped into pieces or even fillets only, but I like to use drumsticks and/or thighs. You will need about 1 kg
  • Add 2 medium onions, roughly chopped and 1 liter water
  • Stir and bring to the boil. Once boiling reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes
  • Clean 4 medium potatoes and 3 carrots and cut into large pieces. Add to the pan, bring to the boil again, reduce heat and simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add some chopped green/spring onions just before serving with rice.

(If you prefer it spicier you can add more gochugaru or some chopped chillies)

My banchan (side dishes) were very simple but did include some home made cucumber kimchi!

 

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Chasing away the rainy Monday Blues…

A cold, grey and wet Monday. Some days I just want to stay in bed! Obviously only with the remote control within reaching distance and copious amounts of tea, biscuits and other goodies 😀…

Unfortunately staying in bed was not an option today so I consoled myself with the second best alternative: comforting Korean food. 

Regular readers will know how much I love Dolsot Bibimbap so what better way to chase away my rainy Monday Blues than treating myself to a lunch out!

A lovely comforting bowl full of rice, veggies, beef and egg crisping up. Spicy gochujang sauce for that extra kick. Some soup and side dishes, the kimchi side will help combat any cold and sniffles the rain might bring on. 

Am feeling much better already 😊

Do you have any food favourites to combat the Monday Blues?

Comfort food: Kimchi guk

Kimchi Guk

Some days you just need come comfort food!

I don’t know why, but I find a lot of Korean food qualifies as comfort food. I guess it’s all the soups and stews, and of course the Bibimbap!

This Kimchi Guk (Kimchi soup) is very simple to make, it only needs 3 to 5 (+ water) ingredients and I can eat bowl after bowl of it. It’s also a great way to use up old kimchi, or to be more precise it needs old kimchi as it just doesn’t taste the same if made with fresh kimchi.  Ideally you use that half pot of kimchi that you have lurking in the depths of your fridge and that is a week over date or so 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of well fermented, old kimchi + juice.
  • 300 grams pork belly
  • 4-5 cups of water
  • 1 block of firm tofu
  • optional: gochujang
  • optional: green onion

Method:

  • Chop up the kimchi. I find it easiest to just take some scissors and chop it up in the pot itself.
  • Put kimchi and the kimchi juices in a heavy bottomed pan.
  • Slize the pork belly in bite size pieces and add to pan.
  • Add 4 cups of water.
  • Optional: depending on how spicy you like your soup, you can add a table spoon (or 2) of Gochujang.
  • Bring to the boil and cook for half an hour or so.
  • Cube the (drained) tofu, add to the soup and heat through for further 10 minutes.
  • Optional: add some green/spring onion.

If the kimchi is extremely sour, you could also add a little bit of sugar, or if it’s too fresh and not sour enough, you could add some vinegar instead.

Serve with steamed rice.

Kimchi fried rice

Kimchi fried riceMy version of Kimchi fried rice….It’s my version because I didn’t actually follow a recipe..and there are lots of versions around … but basically you just need rice and kimchi!

My version is made with left over rice, a few bits of veggies and of course chopped up kimchi.  All just very quickly pan-fried and topped with some egg strips. Initially I was thinking of going creative with the egg, maybe making a sun or something, but then the yolk broke and well…it got chopped up instead 🙂

The other container has some Doenjang soup (Korean style miso soup) and there is some melon as dessert.  The very eagle eyed among you might notice that it is actually Basmati rice and not my usual Koshikari Japonica rice…Japonica rice will always have my preference – see also my post “are you a rice snob” – and I use that 99 out of 100 times, but we do sometimes eat other rice….

If you want a more authentic recipe for Kimchi Fried rice (Kimchi Bokkeum Bap) check out the two websites below: Maangchi and Crazy Korean Cooking.

  • Maangchi: This wonderful lady has been posting videos and recipes since 2007! She has made Korean cooking very accessible for non Korean speakers, and her website offers a lot of information on ingredients, technique and shops.  She also has a lot of interaction with her readers and viewers, or as she says herself:

    everything on this site has been driven by readers/viewers and their suggestions

  • Crazy Korean Cooking: Grace and Stephanie seem to be two Crazy Korean ladies who love cooking! But underneath their often very hilarious video’s, there is a mine of useful information. I love it that their recipes are very organised and quantities are easy to change in metric/us measurements and also into serving size. Lots of additional information on the website, so definitely worth checking out. And do watch one of their video’s, I think my favourite one is the Kimchi making one where they dress up as two Ahjummas!

When I first started to cook Korean food, I would automatically go to these two websites, but since then I have also discovered lots of other bloggers who share their interest and knowledge of the Korean cuisine. I will try to highlight some of those bloggers in future posts, but meanwhile, please have a look at these two websites 🙂

 

This blog post is part of my attempt to clean up my Blogs I Follow list

Kimchi & Onigiri Dosirakbento

kimchi-onigiri-dosirak-bentoThis actually might be the sort of lunch that my blog is all about: Korean and Japanese food inspired lunchboxes! The Korean dosirak is represented by the Kimchi and the Japanese bento is represented by the Onigiri 🙂

It is not a fancy lunch, nor is it gwiyomi/ kawaii (cute) with funny details, shapes or made using special tools or packed in a pretty bento box. But it is the kind of food that I love and like having in my lunchbox.

The onigiri was shaped by hand (whilst I was -not so- silently cursing because of the hot rice), I added lots of veggies (and colours) and the kimchi is home made. The only extra thing I did was adding a little silicone mould for the kimchi and that is only because it would otherwise stain the container.

I filled the onigiri with spicy salmon: left over cooked salmon with wasabi. I also have to tell you that the home made kimchi is actually not home made by me….but by the local sushi shop 🙂

Huh? Sushi is Japanese isn’t it? Yes, but my sushi shop is quite small and owned by a Korean family. I am such a regular customer that they greet me by name, sometimes offer me miso soup whilst waiting (no pre-packed sushi here, only made to order) and I often end up chatting quite some time about Korean food and K drama…

I was there yesterday evening to treat myself to some sashimi and one of the guys had brought in home made Kimchi for himself, and very kindly gave me some to take home!

mat-kimchi

It is Mak Kimchi: ie chopped up / lazy  / easy kimchi and if you want to make it, Maangchi has a good recipe here.

This was a delicious lunch 😛 even if it lookes a bit plain…

As most of my readers know, I pack my lunches early in the morning, before going to work, so I don’t have much time to go crazy & creative. And although I also like making the cute lunches that you have (and will) see on my blog, it’s often a question of finding the time & inspiration for it.

I guess it’s all a matter of balance 🙂 … as are most things in life!

*****

P.s. Have you read my Jerusalem artichoke challenge? In my previous post I asked readers to inspire me to cook with Jerusalem artichokes for my lunch box…you can read more here…. To be continued…

P.s.s. If anyone living in or nearby London and is interested in K-cuisine: the Korean Culture Centre is currently organising some lectures on K-cuisine. Unfortunately I missed the first ones, but I will be going next week (featuring Bibimbap) and next month (Bulgogi). More info can be found on the website of KCC.

 

A rose to mask my smelly lunch…

a smelly lunch with cucumber kimchi

Kimchi is Korea’s national dish and it will be eaten with (almost) every meal in one form or another. Kimchi is made by fermenting vegetables, most commonly napa cabbage or radish. It’s packed full of flavour, low in calories, helps boost metabolism, and contains immune- and digestion-boosting probiotics.

Kimchi can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, as a side dish (banchan), or as an ingredient for cooking like in kimchi fried rice, kimchi stew or kimchi pancake.

If you like spicy, strong and pungent flavours, you might like Kimchi, but be warned, it is very smelly!

I do like Kimchi and eat it regularly, but I don’t pack it very often in my lunch box because of the smell. I work in a small office, in an old building with bad ventilation, and we don’t have a separate room to eat our lunch. So although my colleagues are often quite interested in the contents of my lunch box, I don’t want to have them (and me) working in a room invaded by Kimchi smells!

It’s is not that difficult to make kimchi at home, every family will have it’s own recipe (allegedly there are over 180 different kimchi varieties) and Maangchi has some great recipes and also a video which answers a lot of Kimchi questions (here). But as said, be prepared for the smell…

It’s so strong that it’s no surprise there are special Kimchi fridges. Based on my limited and recent knowledge gained while watching K-drama (which is of course not the most realistic representation of Korean life…) possession of a kimchi fridge is the ultimate dream of a “proper” Korean housewife…  (But  I am happy to be corrected on this by someone with proper knowledge of Korean life). Apparently these special fridges offer not only the special storing conditions to properly ferment the kimchi, but they also keep the smell separate from your other food!

So instead of bringing Kimchi to the office, the above plate shows my lunch at home. The cucumber kimchi is shop bought and so is the Musaengchae (radish banchan). Lots of cherry tomatoes and plain cucumber to counteract the kimchi (actually cucumber kimchi is pretty mild because of the high water content of cucumber – compared to cabbage kimchi – but it’s still very smelly), plus some carrot bits and cress. There are also the end bits of a Korean omelet which I prepared for lunches later (I freeze part of it in portions)

Obviously, the single rose can’t mask the smell at all, but I had just bought some roses and was sad to discover one stem had broken. Luckily the stem was still long enough to pop into a small vase, which looks cute next to my plate.

A Korean twist to Shrove Tuesday: Kimchijeon

Will you be making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?

Last year I made some more traditional ones, but this year I wanted to give it a Korean twist and made some Kimchijeon instead!

kimhi jeon.jpg

Jeon refers to pancake like dishes in the Korean kitchen. As far as I understood there are two versions, one where food is dragged through (seasoned flour) and fried and another where food is added to a batter and fried. Ingredients can be meat, fish, vegetables or a mix, and Jeon is often eaten as an appetizer, snack or side dish.

This was the first time that I made Kimchijeon, and I followed Maangchi’s recipe. It’s so easy to make and only needs a few ingredients: kimchi, onion, flour, salt, sugar, water and vegetable oil. The trick is to use a generous amount of oil, this will help it crisp up and to add the kimchi liquid, which will help to give it it’s nice red colour.

One other thing I did is, instead of chopping the kimchi on a chopping board, I cut it with scissors in the bowl. This helps keeping your chopping board kimchi stain free 🙂

Please see Maangchi’s instructions on how to make Kimchijeon, and below my photo’s: