Thursday, November 11, 2010


In an unexpected location, amidst old hardware market place in Seoul, Uraeok has been serving the best Bulgogi for several decades. They grill Bulgogi on a special brass pan, which is designed to collect all the drippings from grilling Bulgogi. They mix the dripping juice with their secret broth and later, after eating Bulgogi, cook North Korean style buckwheat noodles in the broth to finish the meal.
I went though countless trials and errors to imitate Uraeok's Bulgogi and ended up with very satisfying one. Marinade is a key to success; dilute the marinading liquid with a lot of water and marinade for longer time. The result is very tender and flavorful meat without over-seasoning it.

for 3 lbs of meat (thinly sliced beef ribeyes, sirloins or tenderloins)

Marinading liquid
1 Cup of soy sauce
1 and 1/4 Cups of sugar
6 Cups of water
3 Tbsp of minced garlic
1/3 Cup of pineapple juice (canned juice is fine)
1/4 Cup of Sesame seed oil

1 onion/ sliced to rings
1 bunch of scallion, cut to 4 pieces lengthwise
1 orange/sliced to rounds

In a big container, make the marinading liquid by mixing all the ingredients well and add beef, onions, scallions. Marinade overnight.
In a hot dry pan, sear Bulgogi with the onion rings and the scallions. Serve with rice. Do not throw away the marinade, use it for Yooksu Bulgogi (briny Bulgogi/sukiyaki style) later.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuna Sambal Onigiri

For 12 years of my school days, my grandma had freshly prepared my Doshirak ( lunch box or Bento) every morning from scratch. I can't say mine was always better than theirs but I know for sure that my grandma prepared each one with lots of love. She used to pack 3-4 Banchans with rice and a pack of salted Gim (dried seaweed). Now I start my day by making Doshirak for my son early in the morning. This is one of his favorites. He says he gets envious and curious look from his friend and even teachers whenever he eats this strange looking black and triangle thing.

to make 4 Onigiris,
You will need
from left and back
seasoning vinegar
mayonaise (preferably Japanese)
black peppers
canned tuna
sesame oil
triangle Onigiri mold
Doshirak (also called Bento)
short grain rice, Gim (dried seaweed sheets/ also called nori)

Prepare Sushi rice: cook 1 Cup of rice with 1 Cup of water. To mix the rice with vinegar later after cooking, it should be drier than normal cooked rice. As soon as it's done, spread the rice in a wide bowl to evaporate the steam and extra moisture. Season the rice with 3 Tbsp (more depends on you taste ) of seasoned vinegar. The rice should taste mildly sweet, salty and sour. Leave it to cool down to the room temprature.
While the rice is cooling down, prepare tuna Sambal: squeeze out the preserving liquid from tuna. Mix tuna with 2 Tbsp of Mayo, 1 tsp of Sambal, 1/2 tsp of sesame oil, a big pinch of salt, a few grinds of balck peppers.
Using the onigiri mold, make Onigiri. First put some rice on the bottom half, make a hole with a thumb in the middle and fill it with 1/4 of the tuna mixture then cover the upper half with the rice layer like the picture above.
Unmold the rice carefully. Cut the seaweed sheet to halves and wrap the triangle rice with seaweed like the following picture.


I love this special Bento for triangle Onigiri: holds 2 Onigiris in the cat's ears. I use bottom part for fruits.

the nostalgic moment....


Monday, November 8, 2010

hot and salty fish cakes (umook moochim)

It only takes 15 minutes to make one of my favorite Banchans which is fantastic for Doshirak (AKA Bento). You can use any kind/shape of fish cakes for this recipe. I used fish cake sheets this time.

a picture of the fish cakes

and the rice syrup

prep work: cut 5 fish cake sheets, 1 onion and 1 scallion
Wash the fish cakes in hot water (or balnch them in the boiling water) to remove the grease.

make sauce with
2 Tbsp of Gochugaru (ground Korean red peppers)
3 Tbsp of soy sauce
1 Tbsp of sugar
1 Tbsp of rice syrup
1 tsp of minced garlic
a few grinds of black peppercorn
0.5 tsp of freshly ground sesame seeds
0.5 tsp of sesame seed oil
mix all together and set aside

In a hot frying pan, heat a little bit of canola oil, fry onion until translucent then add fishcakes. Cook for 3 minutes.
Pour the prepared sauce onto the fish cakes and cook for another 2 minutes until fish cake absorb the sauce.
Finish it with some freshly ground sesame seeds and chopped scallions.

Labels: ,

Anchovy Sambal

If's versatile Sambal is used to make this yummy dish. It's sweet, salty, hot and sour. And crispy too. Best eaten with freshly cooked white rice.

You will need....
If's Sambal

Dried anchovies and peanuts

In a heavy skillet, heat enough Canola oil to deep fry anchovies. Drop one anchovy to check the oil temperature, the oil is ready when anchovy bubbles. Fry anchovies until slightly golden and crunch. With slotted spoon, fish anchovies and set aside on top of paper towel to absorb excess oil.
In a same pan, fry peanuts until they are golden. Fish the peanuts and set aside. Discard the used oil from the pan.
In low heat, cook If's Sambal (as much as you can enjoy) to bubble. Add the peanuts and anchovies. Stir and coat with Sambal.

Labels: ,

Can't be any better than this!

Roasted Goguma (Korean sweet potato) is a simply perfect food.
We don't need any skill but patience to create this yummy thing.
Roast it at 450 F until it is really caramelized, even burnt (1 and 1/2 hours at least).
Of course, you can't substitute Goguma with any different types of sweet potato.


If's Sambal

My Indonesian friend If makse great Sambal dishes. I was able to create quite similar taste after eating his food so many times and bugging him terribly.

these are pretty much everything you need to make If's Sambal.
1 bottle of Sambal olek
3 shallots
3 tomatoes
6 garlic cloves
and 2/3 Cup of white sugar

In a food processor, grind all the ingredients together to make chili smoothie.
Heat 1/4 Cup of Carnola oil, cook the chili mixture for 1 hour in low heat, stirring once in a while.

Here's the final product,
beautiful Sambal!
This Sambal can be foundation for so many yummy dishes.
I'll present some of them later on the blog.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Knitting dog

street Deukbokki

Sometimes less is more. Just 4 ingredients plays magic flavor in this Deukbokki. Deukbokki is an absolute street food, maybe the most popular street food in Korea. I make this Deukbokki at Korean school for fundraising every Saturday, and it is always sold out first no matter what. People ask me if I have a secret which just street vendors may have. Yes, keep it simple.

Here is what you need to make the best Deukbokki.

Noodle soup base

Gochujang (Korean chile paste)

Fish cake

Deuk (rice cake sticks)

and water, salt and sugar.

In a big pot, put Deuk and pour just enough water to submerge Deuk. Bring it to a boil. Depends on your spice tolerence, put as much chile paste to make Deuk really red. (start from at least 10 Tbsp per a bag of Deuk)
Season with sugar, salt and soup base- should taste sweet and salty, more saltier than sweeter side. Stir and add fish cakes. Keep stirring in low heat until the sauce becomes thick and Deuk absorb all the flavor.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 1, 2010

rainy day Cosmos