Monday, January 31, 2011

cucumber salad with sesame dressing

I always have half of a cucumber left in my refrigerator, and this is my favorite way to use it. It is easy and refreshing side dish, or Banchan.

makes 2-4 servings
1/2 English cucumber
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbst+ 1 tsp seasoned vinegar (available in asian market)
3 tsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder or any red pepper flakes you like)
1/4 t salt (or more )

In mortar and pestle, grind sesame seeds, the add vinegar, light soy sauce, sesame oil, gochugaru (red pepper flakes) and a pinch of salt. Grind and mix well together to make salad dressing.

Cut the cucumber half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds inside. Slice the cucumber like above. (eye brow shapes) Add the cucumber slices to the dressing, toss to mix. Season with more salt if needed. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes before eating. (if you like pickle-ish taste, leave it in the refrigerator for a hour before serving.)


Friday, January 28, 2011

chicken gal-bi (dak-gal-bi)

Choonchun, located north eastern part of South Korea, is known for origin of Dak gal-bi (chicken gal-bi). It was regional food but became so popular that we can find it on the menu anywhere in Korea. But still, it is regarded as a fun and nostalgic thing to take a slow and old train to visit Choochun to eat this food. Chicken gal-bi is a kind of food for crowd. So, it's a perfect motivation to get together for a day trip. The ride is very scenic and in a few hours the hungry group can get to the destination.

from left to right: cabbage, wild sesame leaves (perilla leaves), carrots

ground fresh wild sesame seeds

Just like beef gal-bi, chicken gal-bi is often cooked on the table. I have 4 chicken gal-bi experts over my kitchen. Certainly everybody revealed their own secrets to make chicken gal-bi! We followed the tradition: eat chicken gal-bi first and make fried rice with the left over yummy sauce on the pan. IT'S VERY IMPORTANT AND PROPER!

for 4 hungry people
2 lb chicken boneless, skinless thigh meats
1 carrot- cut to 2 inch-lengh, thinly sliced
1/2 onion-sliced
1/3 cup sliced scallions
1/2 small cabbage/roughly sliced to carrot's size
1 medium sized goguma (Korean sweet potato) or yam-thinly sliced to carrot's size
20 wild sesame leaves / available on Korean market-cut to quarters
1/4 lb sliced plain sticky rice cake (ddeuk)/available in Korean market
2 Tbsp ground wild sesame seed
about 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
about 3/4 cup basic spicy sauce (depends on your heat tolerance)

basic spicy sauce (makes 32 0z)
1cup gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste)
1cup gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine (Mirin)
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chopped garlic
1/4 cup pureed onion
3 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp ginger powder
!) make the basic spicy sauce, couple of days ahead. The flavor becomes better and better as it gets maturer in the refrigerator. It is a wonderful basic spicy sauce for all sorts of Korean food so make a big batch as above and keep it in the refrigerator. You can keep it up a month in the refrigerator or freeze for longer use.

to marinade the chicken meats
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 t salt
1/4 cup of the basic spicy sauce

to make fried rice
1 cup chopped Kimchi
3 Tbsp (or more) sesame seed oil
Korean dried toasted gim (aka nori)/broken to small pieces
3 cups cooked rice

Prepare chicken. Cut chicken to 1 inch pieces. Marinade chicken with curry powder, salt and 1/4 cup of the basic spicy sauce for overnight in the refrigerator. Prepare the basic spicy sauce and vegetables and sticky rice cakes (ddeuk). When the hungry crowd gather, heat a big heavy skillet with some vegetable oil. Cook the hard vegetable first (sweet potato and carrots), covered tightly on medium to low heat, stirring frequently. Be careful not to burn, pour 1/4 cup of water if it looks like sticking to the pan. When the hard vegetables are half way cooked, add onion, cabbages,sticky rice, about 3/4 cup of basic spice sauce and chicken. Cover and cook, add more oil if needed. When chicken is cooked through, add wild sesame leaves, seeds and scallion. Cook for a few minutes, uncovered.


When you are done eating chicken gal-bi, make fried rice using the left over stuff in the pan. (please don't clean the pan yet!) Heat some sesame seed oil on the same skillet, add kimchi and rice on medium-high heat. Stir fry for a few minutes. Flatten down the fried rice onto the pan, leave it for a couple of minutes longer, and undisturbed to build crust on the bottom. When the crust is developed golden brown, stir in broken gim. Serve.


macarons and affogato

It may sound crazy but these are what I ate for my breakfast this morning-raspberry rose butter macarons with affogato. The rapberry rose butter cream macarons from Bon appetit magazine were so delicious that I had to make them again. To use up all the post-macaron-egg-yolks, I made some ice cream as well.

I used Fancois Payard's recipe. It is simple and I think it the best vanilla ice cream recipe I have tried so far. I don't like too rich and eggy ice cream. This is just right to my taste.

Vanilla ice cream (adapted from Francois Payard)

2 cups half and half
1 vanilla bean
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar

to make
Prepare a big bowl for ice bath. Set it aside. Cook the half and half in a sauce pan. Split the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds out. Add vanilla seeds and pod to the sauce pan. Bring it up to a boil. Meanwhile, in a big bowl, beat 6 egg yolks with sugar with a hand mixer until yolks turn pale and thick.(about 3 minutes) When the half and half just about to boil, turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to cool down a little bit. Carefully add hot half and half to the egg mixture. Pour slowly, little by little. Then return the mixture back to the sauce pan. Cook until the thermometer reads 175F. Be careful not to overcook the mixture. Continue stirring. As soon as the mixture reaches 175 F, cool it down immediately on ice bath. Strain the liquid. Freeze the mixture according to unit's instruction.


snow balls


Monday, January 24, 2011

bean sprout rice soup ( Kong-na-mul-kook-bob)

Koreans believe that food is the best medicine. For instance, when we are sick, we eat Jook (porridge) and when we are really sick, we eat abalone porridge ( I think mostly because it is very expensive). When we catch cold, we are supposed to eat bean sprout soup or bean sprout Kook-bob. (koop means soup) When we have hang over, we are supposed to eat dried pollock soup (booka-kook) and so on. The philosophy was based on Yin/Yang and old Korean medicine. Amazingly it is proven to work scientifically as well.

Besides the food science, I have been conditioned to eat certain foods in certain occasions. I have been sick with flu recently, I am terribly missing my grandma and her comfort food! I think this soup is what she would have prepared for me today. I know it's a little sad to make soup for myself when I am not well but my craving was so specific.....

This bean sprout soup is ultimate comfort food, even though it doesn't neccessarily mean easy to make. But it is worthy to spend a long time in the kitchen to make this. It's just soooo good and so healing.

to make broth
1/2 dried pollok
total 5 sq inches dashima (dried kelp, aka konbu)
1 dried pyogo mushrooms (aka shitake)
1/2 lb moo (Korean radish)

Roughly chop the radish to large pieces. In a big pot, fill 8 cups of cold water and the all of the ingredients above. Bring it to a boil, on medium-high heat. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium. Keep slow boiling for 3 hours, partially covered with lid. Check if you need to replenish water from time to time. After 3 hours, you will need to have 6 cups of water for total. Cool down the broth overnight and sieve the broth. You will have medium brown clear broth.

to assemble
lightly packed 1 cup of Kimchi (preferably mature one)
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground sesame seeds
1/2 lb bean sprouts
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 cup of shredded Jang-jorim
3 cups of cooked rice
3 scallion/ sliced
2 hot red peppers/seeded and sliced
3 egg yolks
toasted Gim (seaweeds, aka Nori)/ broken to smaller pieces
salt or salted shrimp for seasoning

Prepare beans sprouts. Although yellow bean parts are perfectly fine to eat, I remove them. (the texture somewhat bothers me and I don't think it has much flavor) In a small pot, boil 1 cup of water and cook the sprouts for 3-4 minutes with 1/4 tsp of salt. It's very important to keep the lid covered tightly, otherwise the flavor will be off. After 3-4 minutes, take out the sprouts, keep the cooked liquid. Squeeze out excess liquid from kimchi then chop it to small pieces. Season kimchi with sesame oil, sesame seeds and sugar. Put it aside.

In a pot, layer rice then kimchi, the sprouts and jang-jorim. Pour 4 cups of broth and the reserve cooking liquid from bean sprouts on the pot. Cover and boil. When it boils, top egg yolks, red peppers and scallion. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes longer. Season with salt or salted shrimp. Sprinkle broken Gim on top just right before serving.

a picture of salted shrimp (available in Korean market, refrgerator section)

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Thursday, January 20, 2011


Jorim is a common method to make Banchan(small side dishes) in Korea. The basic concept of Jorim is to cook the meats or vegetables in sweet and salty liquid until most of the liquid evaporates while main ingredients absorb some of the liquid during evarporation. The final result is sweet and salty with shiny look with condensed flavor.

Jang-jorim was one of my favorite Doshirak (aka Bento) dish. Jang-jorinm is a type of jorim using meats. When I was young, my grandma used to make a big batch of Jang-jorim for us, and kept it in a big container. She shredded the meat each time just right before we ate. The eggs (she used quail eggs) were often more appreciated than meat. Now I wonder how she shelled all the quail eggs, it is a painful job!

You can use any kind of meats to make Jang-jorim(preferably lean part). The most commonly used part is Flank steak or brisket. I prefer flank steak because of shorter cooking time and flavor. Pork tenderloin would be also a good choice.

This is sweet, salty and spicy Jang-jorim.

ingredients for Beef Jang-jorim
to boil
1.5-2 lb flank steak
4 cup water
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 bay leave (optional)
1/2 onion /no need to chop
3 scallion/ no need to chop
3 garlic cloves

to make jorim
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (seasoned rice wine)
2 Tbsp sugar
3 dried red peppers
roasted garlic (optional)
soft boiled eggs (optional)
2cup of reserved boiling liquid

to make
Prepare the meat: submerge the meat in the plenty of water for 1 hour or the meat turn pale color. The purpose of doing this is to remove blood form meat to make the clean broth. Discard water and cut the meat to big 3 inch height pieces, against grain. Don't worry about the width at all. In a big pot (I used pressure cooker), put the meat pieces and the rest of boiling ingredients. Cover and bring it up to boil on high heat. Once it boils, turn down the heat to medium and cook for 1 1/2 hours or so until the meat becomes very tender and almost falling apart, still covered. If you use pressure cooker, cook for 30 minutes after building pressure. Leave the meat in its own broth until cooled down. Take the meats out carefully (otherwise the meat will fall apart), keep it warm and tightly covered (otherwise it will be dried out quickly). Sieve the broth, skim all the fat from broth. (you can leave the broth in the refrigerator to solidify the fat part) In a medium sized pot, put the meat pieced with 2 cups (or more as needed) the reserved broth and the rest of Jorim ingredients. Cook to Jorim,uncovered, on medium -high heat, basting the liquid with spoon until half of the liquid gets evaporated. ( it usually takes 10-15 minutes.) If you use eggs and roasted garlic, put them into the pot 5 miuntes before finishing Jorim. In this way, soft boiled eggs will be perfect hard boiled eggs and roasted garlic will not turn mushy. Remove any foams and fat from the sauce. Cool down, and move it to a deep container(to make the meat covered with sauce) cover tightly. Keep it in the refrigerator. When you are ready to eat, shred just right amount of meat you need. Pour the sauce over it. Serve with rice.
You can keep jangjorim in the refrigerator for up to a week. I recommend to microwave for 10-15 second before serving.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

a lonesome snow bird


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pork Belly Bossam with Raw Oysters

Bossam means "wrap" in Korean, so basically you can use any kinds of wrappable foods to make Bossam,-Kimchi Bossam, lettuce Bossam, Kelp Bossam, thinly sliced radish Bossam....
One of the most popular ways to eat Bossam is surf and turf style-usually pork belly and oyster combination Bossam in Korea. Bossam is everyday food in Korea. We put a basketful of all sorts of freshly picked leaves(lettuce, perilla leaves, squash leaves) and ways of eating Bossam is unlimited.
This is my current favorite Bossam. I improvised the pork belly recipe from David Chang's Momofuku cookbook.
rice and Boston lettuce
Duenjang Ssamjang(fermented soybean paste)
Caramelized pork belly
Moo SaengChae
Freshly shucked oysters

what you need
lettuce leaves, rice, Moo SaengChae, Duenjang Ssamjang(store bought one is fine), thinly sliced caramelized pork belly, freshly shucked raw oysters
to make pork belly
one 3-pound slab skinless pork belly
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar
Put the pork belly on a roasting pan. Mix sugar and salt together and rub the pork belly with the mixture discarding the excess sugar-and-salt mixture. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, up to 24 hours. Preheat the oven to 450F. Discard any liquid from pork belly and put it in the oven and cook for 1 hour, basting it with the rendered fat until it's golden brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 250 F and cook for 30 minutes or so. Remove the pan from oven. decant the fat and meat juices from pan.
to caramelize pork belly
Preheat oven to 500 F. Rub cooked pork belly with 1/4 cup of brown sugar and put it in the oven for 10-15 minutes until crust builds and caramelized. Rest the belly before slicing.
Assemble Bossam as the pictures above.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Year's resolution Moo-SaengChae

One of my new New Year's resolutions is organizing recipes. I take memos whenever I get the ideas, and things are getting very messy and disorganized. I have found this catalogue while cleaning up my car. Today is the day! It's snowy day = cooking day! I love snow emergency....

3 Korean Radishes (Moo)/jullienned to 3mm match sticks
1 Cup fish sauce
1 Cup vinegar
1 Cup sugar
1 1/2 Cup Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
1/4 Cup toasted sesame seeds
1 bunch scallion/ sliced
1/2 cup minced garlic

Mix jullienned radishes with all the rest of the ingredients. Keep it in the refrigerator and it is kept well in the refrigerator for weeks. Moo SaengChae tastes better as it gets mature.

to eat
Moo SaengChae is a great condiment in Bossam. I also like to make Bibimbab with Moo SaenChae- if you don't have time to prepare all sort of vegetables, just mix Moo SaengChae with rice then put a fried egg on top, finish with some sesame oil.

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Light Tango

Monday, January 10, 2011

French Macarons with Raspberry-Rose Buttercream

It was absolutely irresistible force when I saw these gorgeous macarons on January issue of Bon Appetit magazine. Well, I haven't made macarons for a while, and it is perfect shiny day to make macarons. To make good macarons, everything matters! Sometimes I hate my fate to fall in love with these tricky things. I just can't keep myself from making it...

I assorted MacaRights from MacaWrongs...whew, definetely more macarights than macawrongs!

raspberry-rosewater butter cream

This recipe is copied from "Bon Appetit" magazine.
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup (lightly packed) sifted almond flour, or 3/4 cup sifted almond flour and 1/4 cup sifted hazelnut flour (sifted, then measured; any coarse particles reserved for another use)
1/2 cup (scant) egg whites (from about 3 large eggs)
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar

4 cups frozen raspberries (about 15 ounces; do not thaw)
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 cup egg whites (from about 2 large eggs), room temperature
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon (generous) rose water

Special Equipment:
Pastry bag
1/4-inch-diameter plain pastry tip
Heavy-duty stand mixer
Candy thermometer

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Sift powdered sugar, almond flour, and hazelnut flour (if using) into large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites, sugar, and pinch of salt in medium bowl until medium peaks form. Add egg white mixture to almond mixture; fold to incorporate. Working in 2 batches, fill pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch-diameter plain pastry tip with batter (batter will be thin and will drip from bag). Pipe batter in 11/4-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart (cookies will spread slightly). Let rest on sheets at room temperature 20 minutes. Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 375°F. Bake cookies 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake cookies until puffed and golden on top, about 10 minutes, reversing sheets after 5 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets on rack. Carefully peel cookies from parchment. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.


Bring raspberries and 1 cup sugar to boil in large saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook until berries are soft, juices thicken, and mixture measures about 1 1/2 cups, stirring frequently, 7 to 9 minutes. Measure 1/2 cup mixture; strain into small bowl. Cool strained jam and jam with seeds separately. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover jams separately and chill.

Combine egg whites, 6 tablespoons sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in bowl of heavy- duty stand mixer. Set bowl over large saucepan of simmering water. Heat until candy thermometer inserted into mixture registers 140°F, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Using whisk attachment, beat egg white mixture at high speed until stiff meringue forms and mixture is at room temperature, 5 to 6 minutes. With mixer running, add butter, 1 piece at a time, beating until each piece is incorporated before adding next. Beat in rose water. Add 3 tablespoons seedless jam, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating to blend well after each addition. (If buttercream looks broken or curdled, place bowl over medium heat and whisk 5 to 10 seconds to warm slightly, then remove from heat and beat again on medium speed. Repeat warming and beating as many times as needed until buttercream is smooth.)

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Using 1/2 teaspoon jam with seeds for each, spread jam over flat side of half of macaroons. Spoon buttercream into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch plain tip. Starting at outer edge of flat sides of remaining macaroons, pipe buttercream over in spiral. Gently press macaroons, jam- filled side down, onto buttercream-coated macaroons. Place on sheet. Cover; chill overnight. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 to 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.


I followed the recipe exactly but found out that the oven temperature 375F was too high-sadly some of the macarons were cracked. I turned down the temperature to 350 F and baked for 14 minutes for the second batch. They came out nicely-still moist and chewy inside with crispy shells. Making macarons is not a forgiving process, we need to know the characters of our ovens. After some trials and errors, I'm sure that you will perfect the skill.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

broccoli rabe and silken tofu with spicy black bean sauce

The bitterness of broccoli rabe balances well with smooth and delicate flavor of silken tofu in this dish. This is a good choice for heathy and speedy Banchan.

1 block tofu/drained
1/2 buddle broccoli rabes/cut to 1 inch length pieces
1/4 Cup chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
1 tsp canola oil
1 heaping Tbsp spicy black bean sauce (store bought/available in Asian market)

Heat canola oil in a medium sized pan. Fry spicy black bean sauce over low heat, stirring for a minute. Add broccoli rabes to the pan, pour 1/4 cup of the liquid of your choice. Cover and cook on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. Uncover the pan, add tofu, breaking up to small pieces with your fingers. Bring it up to boil and cook for a minute or so. Serve with rice.

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