Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cabbage Kimchi

1. Salting

Chinese cabbage 2 heads

Salt (coarse sea salt) 2 cups
Water 8 cups

Using a knife, make a 2-inch cut at the base of each cabbage and then pull them apart into halves (using hands). Make 2-inch cuts on every half head of cabbage. Don't pull them apart at this juncture.

Dissolve 1 cup of salt in 8 cups of water.

Place cabbage, cut(torn) parts facing upward in a big bowl. Pour in salt water.
Let it soak for 20 mins.

The leaves should become sort of wilted. Use the remaining 1 cup of salt to sprinkle on each leaf. (start from the dark/green bottom leaf and work upwards to the inner leaves)

Place the cabbage leaves back into the salt water (cut side up, so that the sprinkled salt doesn't run out)

Weigh down the cabbage with a big pot of water or anything that does the work.
Soak for 8 hours.

2. Preparing kimchi sauce mixture

Radish (thin strips) 1
Leeks (cut into about 2 in strips) 2 cups
Chopped fresh red chillies 2
Minced garlic (about 5-7 cloves)
Minced ginger (about 2 tablespoon)
Corn syrup 3 tablespoon
Dried chilli powder (about 2/3 to 1 cup)
Fermented shrimp sauce (2/3 cup)
Anchovy sauce (about 1/3 cup)
Rice powder (about 3 tablespoon)
Water (about 1/2 cup)

Take some salt water from the cabbage and soak radish strips in it for about 1/2 hour. Remove salt water, wash and drain.

Use rice powder and water to make a paste and bring to a gentle boil.
Let it cool.

Add fermented shrimp sauce, anchovy sauce, dried chilli powder to the rice paste and mix evenly.

Add minced chilli, garlic, ginger, leeks, corn syrup and radish to the mixture and mix evenly.

3. Washing the cabbage

After 8 hours, remove cabbage from saltwater. Wash over running water until the leaves don't feel slippery (about 4 to 5 times).

Pull apart the cabbage halves into quarters from the cut base (using both hands).

Drain properly.

4. Making kimchi

Rub the sauce mixture on the inside of each cabbage leaf (starting from the outer leaf working upward to the inner leaf).

Arrange the kimchi in a container and press lightly to get air pockets out. Cover and refrigerate

To serve, cut 1 in apart and serve in a small dish. Kimchi is served as a side dish. It can also be used to make kimchi fried rice, kimchi stew etc.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Korean dumplings 만두

Ingredients (for about 60 to 70 dumplings)

300g minced pork
2TS soya sauce
2TS rice wine (i used soju and chinese cooking wine instead)
1/2 TS minced ginger
1TS minced garlic
Combine the minced pork and the marinade ingredients above and leave aside

100g korean tangmyon 당면 (cook in boiling water for about 3 - 4 mins). Drain.
80g leeks (cut into 1cm strips)
200g hard tofu (crush and remove water)
2TS sesame oil
1TS sesame seed
salt, pepper

1 egg

Mix pork with marinade

Leave aside.

Boil a pot of water, add tangmyon and cook until it's half-cooked. Drain.

Chop into 1cm pieces

Wash and discard end of leeks

Cut leeks into 1cm length.

Mix everything (as per recipe above) thoroughly in a big bowl

Add an egg and mix some more.

Defrosted dumpling skin

Set a small bowl of water next to you. Place a spoonful of filling on the dumpling skin. Wet the edges of the skin and fold into a semi circle. Press the edges together. You can make creases at the edges as well.

Place the dumplings on a big dish and leave uncovered in the freezer for about an hour until they sort of harden. (Leaving them uncovered in the freezer prevents the dumplings from sticking together later). After that, pack the dumplings in freezer bags or container.

I had some leftover fillings, so i made a few dumpling skins using plain flour, brown rice flour and ground black sesame seeds. Look quite strange but they should taste pretty good fried.

You can also directly cook the dumplings without freezing.

Fry the dumplings on both sides making sure the filling is also cooked.
To make the sauce, add 1 part soya sauce to 1 part vinegar and sprinkle some dried chilli powder on it.

Serve hot.

Monday, June 30, 2008

White cabbage kimchi [Baek kimchi 백김치]

Baek kimchi is a mild, watery kimchi that has a light, crunchy taste and is good as an appetizer.

Ingredients for salting
Chinese cabbage 1 head
Radish 1/2 (cut into thin strips)
8 cups water
1 1/2 cup coarse seasalt

Ingredients for sauce mixture
Salt 1 tablespoon
Pear (thin strips) 1/2
Jujube (thin slices) 5
Radish (thin strips, from above) 1/2
Pine nuts 1 teaspoon
Red chilli strips (very thin strips) a few
Garlic (thin slices) 1/2 head
Ginger (thin slices) 1 knob

Ingredients for salt brine
Salted shrimp sauce 5 tablespoon (can be replaced with salt - but quantity has to be adjusted)
Water 2- 3 cups

Dissolve 1 cup salt in 8 cups of water
Make a cut at the base of the cabbage about 1-2" deep.
Using hands, half the cabbage by pulling them apart along the cut line.
Make another cut at the base about 1-2" deep
Use remaining 1/2 cup salt to sprinkle on the cabbage, leaf by leaf (starting from the outer leaf)
Place cabbage (cut side up) in saltwater for the optimal 8 hours.
After 8 hours, wash the cabbage under running water until it doesnt feel slippery.

Place radish strips in the same saltwater for about an hour. Wash with running water and drain.

Discard saltwater.

Sauce mixture
Mix the ingredients for sauce mixture.

Spread the mixture on the cabbage, leaf by leaf, starting from the outer leaf. Place inside a container.

Salt brine

Combine 5 tablespoons of salted shrimp sauce in 2 cups of water.
Gently pour saltwater into the container until it covers the entire cabbage.

To serve, take out a little cabbage out and cut into 1" slices.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Korean gom tang [곰탕] bone soup

Gom tang is a soup normally made by boiling oxtail bones (which can include beef tripe and brisket etc) for a long time until it turns cream color. 'Gom' in "gomtang" refers to the lengthy boiling down process. Making gomtang is a simple but time-consuming effort. It is very nutritious and sort of a comfort food.

In this case, I used pork knuckle bones and boiled it for several hours over several days. Those times it's not being boiled i store the entire pot in the fridge.

Since I am using a claypot, after taking out of the fridge, I let it stand for a while before heating to prevent the claypot cracking.

About 2 to 3 lbs pork knuckle bones

Soak the bones in cold water for about an hour to remove blood. Discard water

Boil bones in fresh water for about 20 mins to remove impurities and smell. Discard water

Place bones in pot, add about 1 or 1 1/2 gallon fresh water to cover and once it starts boiling, turn to low heat and continue boiling for about 5 to 6 hours (the longer the cooking time the better).

Skim off the oil on top. Continue to add water as needed.

The soup should take on a milky white or cream color.

Remove bones.

I usually strain the soup to remove impurities but it's not necessary.

To serve, scoop soup into a bowl, add salt, a dash of pepper and chopped green/spring onions. You can also add plain noodles or rice to the soup.

The remainder, I usually boil it to reduce to about half of its volume and freeze in serving portions.

The commercial version of gomtang that i can think of is Saligomtang myeon.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Roasted barley tea [boricha 보리차]

Roasted barley is often sold in transparent plastic packs in korean stores.

All you need is

50g Roasted Barley
2 liters Water

Fill teabag(photo) with barley, add water to kettle and boil.(Without the teabag, you have to strain it later)

When the water boils, turn off the heat and let it steep for about another 10 mins.

Remove the teabag with barley.

You may drink it hot but I normally pour it into a jug and chill in the refrigerator.

You can also prepare roasted corn tea this way. I usually mix roughly equal amounts of roasted corn and barley to make the tea (just that i ran out of roasted corn).

Seaweed soup - Mi yeok guk 미역국

Seaweed soup is simple to prepare, convenient and nutritious.

It is commonly cooked with beef. You can also make seaweed soup with shellfish clams or fish. You can add sliced potatoes too.

I cooked seaweed soup with fish (I think you can use any chunks of fish except freshwater fish). I used a type of flatfish (the fish has both eyes on one side of its body, the top side is black and the bottom side is whitish in color - photo below shows the whitish side). When I buy this fish, I usually clean it, cut into portion chunks and freeze.

Ingredients (serves about 2 - 3)
Dried seaweed 10g
Minced/crushed garlic 2 cloves
Soya sauce/beef dashida 3/4 to 1 tbsp (adjust to taste)
Fish about 150g
Sesame oil 1/2 tbsp
Water 4-5 cups

Soak the dried seaweed in water until it softens.

Drain and wash the seaweed. Cut the seaweed into manageable edible sizes

Heat up a little sesame oil in a cooking pot (as for me, i like to use claypot for almost everything).

Add garlic and stirfry a little , add cut seaweed and stirfry some more maybe a minute or two, under high heat.

I use a stainless steel tablespoon to stirfry and to taste the soup

Add water.

Took out this fish chunk from the freezer to add to the soup

Add fish to soup

Continue on high heat until it boils like this.

Turn to medium heat and add beef dashida (or soya sauce gukganjang). You can also use salt.

Continue cooking until fish is cooked.

Turn off heat

Add a little sesame oil and serve (with rice and side dishes).

Korean pantry

I dont have a dedicated pantry. Food items are stored in various corners in my kitchen (the way i find convenient) and I keep most of my foodstuff in my fridge and an extra freezer. At any given moment i have enough food to last a month or two, maybe more. That's because i like to cook extra and freeze. i dont know if the convenience of an extra freezer is worth the extra electricity cost; maybe about $10 extra.. i didnt really check.

My rather scattered pantry consists of basic essential items mainly for chinese and korean cooking. I'll start with korean cooking first, you can buy the items off any korean store.

korean pantry items:

Kimchi 김치 - pic above (i made it a few weeks ago)

Dried seaweed [mi yeok 미역]

Dried kelp [dashima 다시마]

Soy sauce [ganjang 간장]

Sesame oil [cchamgirum 참기름]

Roasted sesame seed [chamkke 참깨]

Chilli paste [gochujang 고추장]

Corn syrup [mulyeot 물엿]

[ssamjang 쌈장] - mixed soybean and chilli pepper sauce (eaten with vegetable leaf wrap)

Soybean paste [doenjang 된장]

Chilli powder [gochugaru 고춧가루]

Beef and anchovy soup stocks or for convenience, stock flavors [dashida 다시다].

shellfish dashida.

Beef and anchovy dashida

Staples such as kimchi and various side dishes are always available and stored in the fridge. Side dishes i have right now are glazed lotus roots [연근 조림], pickled chilli leaves and radish[무우말랭이], pickled yellow radish, various jeotgal [젓갈], seasoned spicy crab [양념 개장] which i made a week ago and a few others) All are home-made except for pickled yellow radish and jeotgal. Korean food though generally healthy can be salty and i try to reduce the salt content in my food. However, less salty food will not keep as long.

For cooking i will have garlic (peeled and minced or pureed), big onions, potatoes, green chillies, spring onions around all the time. Other items are tofu, radish, soya bean sprouts, spinach and occasionally tongho [ssuk gat 쑥갓] / garland chrysanthemum

I have in my freezer frozen mackerel, pollack and some other fish. I have canned mackerel too. Also in my freezer are sliced pork belly divided into 50 or 100g portions, minced beef divided into small portions, korean fishcake [eomook 어묵 or odeng 오댕]. I'm having a hard time trying to get things out from my freezer so i am trying to organise my freezer contents better and make them more accessible.