먹자! Let’s Eat – Ddeokguk (떡국)

Happy New Year ~ 새해 복 많이 받으세요!

Last week was the Lunar New Year or 설날 (Seollal) in Korea. It’s another big holiday like Chuseok where people travel to be with their families and celebrate. Of course there’s different kinds of foods to eat during that time as well. One of the must-eats during Seollal is 떡국 (ddeokguk).

The soup is made with a protein broth (I used beef, but you can use seafood, chicken, etc.) and rice cakes. Other ingredients like green onions, egg, and seaweed are also added. Once again I found a great recipe at Maangchi. I only did some very slight variations to save prep time and it turned out great.

[*Gonna reiterate that this recipe is all Maangchi’s and she gets all the credit. I’m just posting how I used it. 🙂 ]

Ingredients:

– 1 pound of sliced rice cakes (ddeokguk/떡국)

– 7 cups of water

– 1/2 pound of beef, chopped

– 3-4 minced garlic cloves

– 3 green onions, sliced

– 2 eggs

– 1 tbsp fish sauce

– 1 tsp sesame oil

– 1/2 tsp black pepper

– 1 sheet of kim (seaweed)

– salt

Directions:

– soak the rice cakes in cold water for about 30 minutes

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– Boil the water in a large pot on high heat for 12-15 minutes

– Chop up your beef (I bought stew meat from Trader Joe’s). Add the beef and garlic to the pot, lower the heat to medium. Cover and boil for 20-25 minutes.

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* I used frozen garlic cubes (again from Trader Joe’s) instead of fresh. It’s a quicker alternative to chopping fresh garlic, and will keep in your freezer for some time.

– I also bought Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snack, rather than buying a bunch of seaweed that I probably wouldn’t use. Maangchi suggests roasting the seaweed in her recipe, but this is much quicker. Plus it’s a nice snack and only 99 cents.

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– Separate the egg yolks and whites, putting them in separate bowls. Add a pinch of salt to each and mix.IMG_0537

– Add oil (canola or vegetable) to a small heated pan. Turn off the heat and put the egg yolks in the pan. Let it cook for about 1 minute. Flip the egg and cook for another minute. Take it out and slice into thin strips.

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– Add rice cakes to the boiling soup with fish sauce, salt, and onion. Stir and cover for 7-8 minutes. Add egg whites and cook for 1 minute.

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– Add sesame oil and black pepper. Stir and remove from heat.

– Serve into bowls. Garnish with egg strips, crushed seaweed, and any other garnish you want.

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Enjoy!

먹자! Let’s Eat – Dakgalbi (닭갈비)

Hiya!

Staying warm? It’s getting colder out these days. So why not cook a warm, spicy Korean dish to warm up? 🙂

I love dakgalbi. It’s a delicious and comforting dish. Of course, if you have dakgalbi, you gotta go to Chuncheon. It’s their specialty! But if you’re ever up in my city of Daejeon, I say head over to Gung-dong. In Gung-dong there’s a great place called Mat-jeon (막존 – which I think is supposed to be “Taste Zone”). They serve up the best dakgalbi in town. Not just that, but I have a friend who was a part-timer there, and she said they don’t even make the sauce on-site. It’s that secret! Plus they serve up pineapple makkeolli (막걸리) which is pretty darn good.

But being so far from me second home, I can’t just pop over when I want. So I looked around for a couple recipes and found some good ones from Beyond Kimchee and Maangchi. I pretty much did a mix of the two (so all credit goes to them for this!)

Ingredients:

– 1 lb of boneless chicken (thigh or breast), diced

– 1/2 lb of Korean rice cake sticks (떡볶이 – ddeokbokki)

– 1/2 small head of cabbed, diced

– 1/2 onion, sliced

– 1 sweet potato, chopped into bite sized pieces

– 1 carrot

– 1 tbsp of ginger, minced

– 2 tsp curry powder

– 2 tbsp of low sodium soy sauce

– 2-10 gloves of peeled garlic, minced (amount is to taste)

– 2 tbsp rice wine (mirin/mirim)

– 1 tbsp sugar

– tbsp sesame oil

– 3 tbsp Korean chili paste (고추장 – gochujang)

– 2 tbsp Korean chili flakes (고추가루 – gochugaru)

– 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

– 2 tbsp canola oil

– 2-4 tbsp water

Directions:

– Set your rice cakes to soak in hot water (if they’re fresh you don’t need to do this step).

– Cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces. Put in a bowl with soy sauce (1 tbsp) and black pepper, mix, and set aside.

– Prepare the sauce by mixing: garlic, ginger, hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, soy sauce (2 tbssp) and mirin/mirim in a bowl.

– Place cabbage in a large, shallow pan. Put in onion, carrot, sweet potato, and rice cakes. (You can also add perilla leaves – I didn’t because I couldn’t find any anywhere!)

– Add chicken on top. Pour sauce over that.

– Cover and cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir.

– Lower heat a bit and cover. Let it cook for 20 minutes or until it’s done.

Enjoy!

Let’s Cook – Ddeokbokki (떡볶이)

Cooking time again! This time I went for ddeokbokki (also spelled tteokbokki).

Ddeokbokki is a dish of spicy rice cakes. Sometimes people will add hard boiled eggs or odeng (fish cakes) too.

I actually used a couple websites as references, but I most used the one on Maangchi.com (check it here)

I also followed Martina of EYK’s video for making anchovy broth. I did not have fun taking out the innards of the anchovies. First, I’ve never done that for any fish much less these itty bitty ones that are hard to handle. Also, the ones I had were not fresh. The broth wasn’t too hard to make, but the fish smell is really strong. You end up with a lot of broth so unless you do a lot of Korean cooking you’re going to have to store it or toss the rest.

Once the broth was finished the rest was pretty easy. Just involves throwing stuff in a pot and waiting. My sauce probably could’ve been thicker in the end. Someone commented that I need sugar and corn syrup which I did add (it wasn’t in the video), but I may have needed more. The taste was pretty spot on though!

I ended up taking the dish to the high school my mom works at for their international culture day. Only a few kids tried it and they thought it was too spicy. ^_^; The one Korean student liked it though haha. So I didn’t do too badly.

I need to find more recipes to cook! Hope I can bring more tasty treats to you guys.

Let’s Cook Kimchi Jjigae

I love cooking, but I never really cooked Korean food while I was living in Korea. But now that there isn’t a Kimbap Cheonguk (a Korean restaurant chain) on over corner like I was used to, I need to fend for myself.

I searched for a few asian/international grocery stores in Milwaukee. The ones I ended up going to were Cermak, Asian International Market, and Pacific Produce. These are all 30-40 minutes away from my house, so that part kinda sucks.

Cermak didn’t have much in the way of asian products. The latter two were more what I was looking for. For one thing, Asian Int’l had 32 oz jars of kimchi for around $7. Not bad. Pacific Produce was way bigger than I expected, so I didn’t see all they had but they definitely have a lot.

Anyway I picked up all my needed ingredients from several different stores, and headed home. Making the jjigae is pretty simple because it’s basically just chop stuff and throw it in a pot. I got the recipe from the Cooking Channel (which you can find here). Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (salted works fine too)
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds (32 oz) of kimchi, chopped if you wish
  • 5-7 oz can of tuna packed in oil
  • 8 oz of firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • white rice, for serving

The Cooking Channel recipe also has seaweed, scallions, and sesame seeds for garish, but I didn’t bother with those.

First, melt the butter in a saucepan or cooking pot. I started out using a saucepan, but it was way too small for all the ingredients. I recommend the sort of pot you’d use for making soups/chili.

Chopped onion & garlic

Chopped onion & garlic

Then add the garlic. It’s should be coarsely chopped, but I was feeling lazy so I used a food processor. I don’t like big chunks of garlic anyway, so this worked better for me. Cook the garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook for around 4 minutes or until it’s soft.

3 cups of water

3 cups of water

Then add your kimchi (which all it’s juices) and 3 cups of water. I think 3 cups isn’t nearly enough. I know I added extra tofu which affects things a bit, but I think adding another 2-3 cups of water was best. Bring that to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. I partially covered the pot so I didn’t lose too much water, and would get more flavor.

Tofu

Tofu

Drain the tuna and break it up into chunks. Cut up the tofu into 1 inch cubes. I chose to use the whole package which was 16 ounces. The recipe calls for half that, but I just wanted to use up the whole thing. 😛 Also I like fim tofu best for this, but I’ve had soft (손두부) before at restaurants. Whichever you prefer.

Add the tuna, tofu, sesame oil, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Stir a little and let the whole thing simmer for minimum of 3 minutes. I probably let mine be for 5 minute or so cuz I wanted the flavors to really come together.

Yummy! 맛있다!

Yummy! 맛있다!

All done! You can add the garish that Cooking Channel recommended or not. I didn’t bother and it tasted fine.

Cook a bit of white rice to serve it with and you have a pretty darn tasty dish. Next time I wanna maybe check it up a little — maybe put in shrimp or something. 🙂

Happy eating!

 

 

*By the way, here are the grocery stores I visited, in case you happen to live in the Milwaukee area:

Cermak Fresh Market

1541 Miller Park Way, West Milwaukee, WI 53214

Asian International Market

3401 W National Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53215

Pacific Produce

5455 S 27th St, Milwaukee, WI 53221