Friday, September 19, 2008

Jja jang Myon (Jja jang noodle)

8 oz pork (any lean part), small diced
8-10 small shrimps, peeled
1 medium onion, small diced
1/4 cabbage, small diced
1/3 zucchini, small diced
1 pack saengmyon (fresh noodle)*
1/4 cup jja jang (black bean sauce), fried in oil**
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup water
thin julienne of cucumber and some peas for garnish

Put a large frying pan on a high heat, add vegetable oil, and cook pork for 2-3 minutes , add onion and salt, cook for 5 minutes or until almost translucent. Cook shrimp for a minute. Add cabbage, saute for another 1 or 2 minutes, jja jang goes in, stir well to mix with vegetables.Then add water and sugar, let boil and add starch mixture, stir quickly or it will lump up.

Serve over cooked noodle or rice.

* I recommend Korean fresh noodle from Korean market, you can find in the refrigerator section.but if you're not near Asian market, you can use regular spaghetti, pasta or any choice of your noodle. Enjoy~ ^^
**There are two kinds of jja jang. One is plain(raw) bean paste and the other is sauteed version. You can buy plain one and cook with some vegetable oil. The reason to fry the paste is that raw bean paste has slightly bitter and sour taste.

if you don't like the smell of pork, add some cheong ju(rice wine, sake) or white wine before you put vegetables in. You can add shrimp, squid, and sea cucumber etc...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Korean Trivia (cooking)

Ssal (Rice)
Use Calrose rice. It is sticky short grain rice. In Korean cooking, we don't use fluffy rice which used in many asian countries.
You can add green beans, barleys, red beans, and sweet rice etc...
The beauty of rice is to stick together. Perfectly cooked rice has a shine to it. The best way to serve is to cook just before the meal.
Fall is the season that new crops are harvested, it is the time for the best taste rice of all year.

Kim chi, Kim chee
Kim chi is one of the most signature dishes of all Korean food. It is fermented vegetables with chilies, garlic, ginger, green onions, and fish sauce etc...
There are over hundred kinds of Kim chi, the most famous one is Bae chu kim chi which is made with nappa cabbage. There are many varieties in making Kimchi.
You can add different kinds of ingredients for example, use fish sauce or just leave it out or make it very spicy or not spicy at all.

Here's some sources about Kimchi:

Gan jang
"Gan jang" is the soy sauce. There are two types of soy sauces. One is called "gook gan jang" which is used in seasoning soups. It is light color and saltier and has distinct flavor. The other is regular store bought one. It is used in other dishes such as "Mu chim (salad)" and "Jo lim (hard-boiled dish)". No manufacturer makes good "gook gan jang" so far, so instead of trying to find one I recommend just use regular soy sauce for color and salt for the taste in soups.

Go chu ga ru
It is a powdered red chilli. "Go chu ga ru" is one of the essential ingredients in Korean cooking. Almost all spicy dishes have "go chu ga ru" or "go chu jang" in it. It is one of the main ingredients of "Kim chi". There are many varieties in flavor. Some are very hot and some are not. Sun-dried red chillies are the best. Store bought one is quit useful. Most of households in Korea buy dried chillies and have them ground for them. It is the same as other spices. Don't buy them if you have the access to a raw ingredient.

Go chu jang
"Go chu jang" is red chilli paste. It is hot and salty. You can easily find it in a Korean grocery store or asian store.

Dwen jang
Fermented soy paste. This is a base for famous "Dwen jang jji ge" which is a stew with beef, vegetables and tofu etc...

Garlic. Korean garlic is slightly spicier and has more tang to it. It is ok to use any garlic you can find if it is not from the jar with water. I just buy whole heads and peel them, grind to a rough paste in a food processor. Store in a small plastic container, put it in a freezer. They last for weeks. Just transfer to a refrigerator 2-3 hours before using. Or store flat in a zipper back, score with a back of a knife, so you can take straight out from the freezer, break and use.

Green onion. There are several kinds of green onions that should be used in Korean dishes. "Dae pa" is larger one which is sweeter and has more flaver. It can be used in a soup. "Jjok pa" is more like a garlic flavor green onion that is good for "pa jeon (green onion pancake)" or "pa kimchi", which is green onion kimchi. "sil pa" is the thinner one that used for sauce, dressing and as a garnish. Unfortunately, it is hard to find different types of green onions in the US, so it is ok to substitute with regular green onion that can be found in a super market.

Myeol chi
Dried anchovy. The usage of this small fish is quite versatile. One important role is to make the broth. Add Myeol chi in a cold water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer for 5-10 minutes. You can add a chunk of radish or a piece of kelp. There are several kinds of Myeol chi from tiny ones to fairly large fishes. The small ones usually used to make fried anchovy in soy sauce (Myeol chi bok eum and Myeol chi jo lim). Big ones are better to make a broth.

Ggaet nip
Sesame leaf. This is a very fragrant leaf that used in many ways. The look is very similar to Japanese Siso(shiso?) but the flavor is different. Ggaet nip is relatively larger and thicker. It can be put in a stew at the last minute, used as a wrap, can be cooked in a soy sauce to preserve, and many more.

Boo choo
Korean chives. This vegetable is mostly used in "Boo choo jeon (Boo choo pancake)" and "Boo choo kimchi". The leaf is flat and slightly larger than regular chive. The picture is a longer version that you can find in the U.S, shorter one is traditional Korean chive. Similar kind is Chinese chive which has more white top part and a little tough in texture. It can be bruised easily, so wash with care and less handling while rinsing is preferred.

Mi na ri
The leaves look like watercress, stems are long, lean and crunch. It has wonderful aroma. It can be used in a stew, salad, or blanch and serve with cho go chu jang(sweet and sour Korean chili paste sauce). I usually trim off the leaves and put it in a fish stew at the last minute. You can find in a swellfish restaurant, they serve stews with lots of mi na ri. It is really good, goes well with the fish.

Ssuk gat
Crowndaisy. Add in a stew with the heat off.

Jeot gal
Salted seafood. There are more than thirty kinds of "Jeot gal" or "Jeot" in Korea. The seafood is salted and fermented for 2-3 months then spices are added later to give more flavor. Some like "Sae woo jeot (salted shrimp)" is used as salt in kimchi making and etc...Some like "O jing eo jeot (salted spicy squid)" is served as a side dish.

Bul go ki marinade for barbecue

10 lb beef, any part for grilling
3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 inches piece ginger
1 small onion

Slice beef into 3x3 inches pieces. Roughly chop onion and ginger. Put in a food processor, make puree.
Pour into a bowl. Mix in all ingredients.

Pour the mixture over the beef, mix well. Transfer to a container, put in a fridge for over night or up to 24 hours. Grill.

Bul go ki, bul go gi (Beef marinated in soy sauce)

2 lb beef (loin tip steak), thin sliced
3 green onions, sliced in a bias
4 button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sesame seeds
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp juice of ginger
1/2 onion, grind in a food processor

Have sliced beef very thin. Combine all ingredients in a big bowl. Marinate beef and vegetables for at least 30 minutes. 1-2 hours is the best, after more than several hours it will taste too salty. Grill the beef. Serve with rice.

Important tip is to use same amount of soy sauce and sugar. If you do this a day ahead, reduce soy sauce. And don't forget to put it in a refrigerator. Add the juice of 1/2 Asian pear to the beef, it will tenderize beef and give much more flavor to the dish. Or you can add 1/4 kiwi.

Ask a butcher to slice the beef very thinly. Traditionally, bul go ki is made with very thin slice of beef. But store bought beef, rather thick slice works as well. Or there's a sliced beef just for bul go ki in a Korean grocery. ou can grill this on a table top, with a shallow pan. Grill with medium high heat and have the juice of beef and vegetables on rice.

So keum goo ee (Grilled beef with lettuce & sesame leaf wrap)

4 lb beef (loin tip steak)*, thinly sliced
1 head lettuce, cut head, cleaned
4-5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2-3 hot green chilies, sliced
1 potato, 1/4 inch thick sliced
1 onion, sliced
5 white button mushrooms, sliced
ssam jang : 4 tbsp dwen jang (Korean bean paste)
1 tbsp go choo jang (Korean chili paste)
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp sesame seed
sesame oil

*Any grilling beef can be used.

Arrange beef and vegetables in a big plate. In a small dish, put slice of garlic and chili. On a table, with a portable burner, grill beef. Add potato, onion, and mushrooms on the side. Serve with ssam jang, salted oil (1 tbsp sesame oil + 1/4 tsp salt + pepper).

Try a lettuce wrap.
- Have a lettuce leaf on your palm. Dip a piece of meat in salted oil, put on a lettuce.
Get a piece of garlic and(or) chili, have some ssam jang with it.

If you don't like a raw garlic flavor, there's a wonderful way to enjoy. Put 2-3 tablespoons of sesame oil in a small foil cup then add garlic slices. Place on a side of grill pan. In a few minutes, garlic gets soft and translucent. Try with a wrap, it's much better than just grill on a pan!