Kimchi (Fermented Vegetable)
One of the oldest and probably the most essential dishes in Korean cuisine, kimchi is a spicy and sour dish made up of fermented vegetables. It is prepared with various kinds of ingredients, but the most common main ingredient is cabbage. Kimchi is popular among foreigners for its unique flavor, as well as its high nutritional value, fiber content and low calorie content. However, for Koreans, it is most popular due to its significant cultural value. Without kimchi, dinner is considered incomplete.
Slice the cabbage into quarters. Use a sharp knife to cut 1 medium head of napa cabbage in half. Next, slice each section in half again to form quarters and remove the core section from the bottom of each quarter. Cut each quarter into strips, so the cabbage is roughly shredded. Combine the cabbage and salt in a bowl. Place the sliced cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle ¼ cup (62 g) of kosher salt over it. Massage the salt into the cabbage so the leaves start to soften. Cover the cabbage with water and let it stand for 1 to 2 hours. Pour enough distilled or filtered water into the bowl to cover the cabbage. Place a large plate on top of the bowl, and set a heavy object like a jar or can on top to weigh it down. Let the cabbage soak in the salted water for at least an hour. Pour the cabbage into a colander to drain and collect the brine. After the cabbage has soaked, dump it into a colander. Have a bowl beneath so that the colander so you can collect the salt water brine, rinse the cabbage with cold water 3 times and drain it again. Remove the bowl with brine from beneath the colander and set it aside. Run cold water from the sink faucet over the cabbage, repeat the process 2 more times to ensure that the salt water is completely removed. Allow the cabbage to drain in the sink for 15 to 20 minutes so all of the water is removed. Mix the garlic, ginger, sugar, and fish sauce. Add 5 to 6 grated garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon (2 g) of grated ginger, 1 teaspoon (4 g) of sugar, and 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) of fish sauce to a small bowl. Stir well until a smooth paste forms. Stir in the red pepper flakes. Add 1 to 5 tablespoons (5 to 25 g) of Korean red pepper flakes to the paste. Mix well until the flakes are completely incorporated. For mild kimchi, add just a single tablespoon of the red pepper flakes. Increase the amount if you prefer a spicier flavor. Combine the cabbage, radish, scallions, and paste. Store kimchi for 3-5 months. Wear gloves while mixing.
You’ll find a basket of salted seaweed in every Korean household. It’s a staple side dish, but also makes a great snack and meal on-the- go when paired with rice. They are a common item in lunchboxes because they taste great and are a good source of protein, vitamin, minerals, and fiber. Their saltiness also makes them a great accompaniment to beer.
Haemul Pajeon: Fried seafood pancake.
These things are addictive like Pringle chips you really can’t stop at just one bite. They are fried, savory, and chewy; they’re everything you’d ever want in an appetizer.
*1 cup = 250ml, 1 Tbsp = 15ml
1. Make the pancake batter by sifting the pancake mix, tempura flour and rice flour. You will notice some small salt/sugar/seasoning remnant in the sift. Add these into the bowl. Add the water and whisk it well.
2. Pre heat the frying pan on medium to medium high until the bottom is well heated. Reduce the heat to medium to medium low put a generous amount of cooking oil into the pan. Make sure the oil is spread all the way around the pan. (Watch out for oil splash)
3. Place one fistful of green onion on the pan parallel to each other and drop some calamari rings, prawns and red chili sparingly on top of the green onion. Scoop out the pancake mixture with a ladle, drizzle it over the green onion and seafood. Try to spread it evenly filling any gaps. Drizzle the beaten egg over the pancake. Shape the pancake with a spatula by randomly poking and lifting around the edges of the pancake. (Depending on the frying pan you’re using, the pancake could be already more than half cooked by the time you finish the egg.)
4. Turn the pancake over when you see the top of the pancake partially cooked. Add some cooking oil around the edges of the pancake circle. Press the pancake with the spatula a couple of times to sizzle and make it crispy. When both sides are cooked turn the heat off and set it aside onto a plate or a cutting board.
5. Slice the pancakes into easy to bite size. Serve it with a dipping sauce.
Not only is it a Korean classic, it’s also delicious, gorgeous on the plate and easily tweaked for different palates and spice levels. Homemade bibimbap is the dish for you since you can easily lower the spice load.
To begin, you’ll need to cook the rice in a rice cooker or on the stove. If you don’t want to use Korean or Japanese rice or are being health conscious, you can try brown rice instead. Next, give the cucumber strips a saltwater bath for 20 minutes and then drain. Then, season spinach with 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp salt and a dash of sesame seeds. Make season bean sprouts with 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp salt and a dash of sesame seeds. You’ll then need to sauté the carrots, mushrooms with a dash of salt. After that, sauté the zucchini with a dash of salt. Place the cooked rice in large bowl and arrange vegetables on top. If desired, add egg or meat stripes placed in the center. Serve each helping with small bowls of red pepper paste (kochujang) and sesame oil. To eat, add a small amount of oil and desired amount of red pepper paste to your bowl and mix everything together with a spoon.
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