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Making Korean Food at Home


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#1 Chris Amirault

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 08:51 AM

In the spirit of several other threads devoted to Thai and Vietnamese cooking at home, here's one for Korean cooking at home.

I learned about Korean food in my college dorm house, with a roommate from Seoul who was hell-bent on eating well. That meant having bibimbap, bulgogi, chicken stew, and tons of kimchi on a regular basis. I've been unable to eat good Korean food for a while, not having found any good sources for Korean supplies here in Providence (where Southeast Asian foodstuffs line the shelves of most Asian shops).

However, in the span of two days, we had our first dinner at Sun and Moon Korean Restaurant in East Providence RI and shopped at Asiana Foods across Warren Ave from S&M -- and I'm hooked again! I have a stash of homemade kimchi in the fridge, a big jar of kochuchang next to it, and some sliced up bulgogi beef in the freezer. I'm hoping to do a lot of Korean cooking over the next many months, and I hope y'all can help!

Let me start with a basic question. When I have had bulgogi in the past, it has been fairly large pieces, but at Sun and Moon, the beef was basically julienned: longish but very thin strips, thinner than shoelaces. Is this the style to which most people are accustomed?
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#2 touaregsand

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 11:57 AM

Let me start with a basic question. When I have had bulgogi in the past, it has been fairly large pieces, but at Sun and Moon, the beef was basically julienned: longish but very thin strips, thinner than shoelaces. Is this the style to which most people are accustomed?


It's one of the traditional ways of cutting beef, but not really for bulgogi. Julienned strips of beef thinner than shoelaces would be reserved for sauteeing in a pan to use as a garnish for dishes such as bibimbap, jap che (noodle dish with sauteed vegetables) or Gujeolpan (tiny crepes served with 8 fillings) . The traditiional cut for Korean steak tartare would be the cut you mention, but not longish.

For grilling or barbecue, before commericial butchers with meat slicers were as prevalent as they are today, thicker strips of beef were common.

#3 Jason Perlow

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 11:59 AM

Here's an existing thread on Bulgogi and Galbi:

bulgogi / kalbi thread, what to cook it in, techniques

And here is one on Bibimbap

bibimbap! how to make it?

and Korean Noodle Dishes:

Korean noodle dishes
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#4 chefzadi

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 03:45 PM

What are you making tonight Chris?

I eat Korean food 3-5 times a week for dinner. Funny thing is my wife hardly ever eats it. I'm a big meat eater so there's always Korean bbq of some sort, rice of course and kimchi.
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#5 Chris Amirault

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 08:12 PM

I made fried chicken (finally) for the cook-off tonight, but tomorrow I'm looking forward to a simple bibimbap. Thanks, Jason, for the links, which I'll absorb tomorrow.
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#6 chefzadi

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 08:37 PM

Oh but bibimbap isn't so simple.

Look here

or here

I'm teasing a bit. Yes there is an extravagant dish called bibimbap, but you can also make it with whatever you have at hand.
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#7 Chris Amirault

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 11:09 AM

Well, I'm not going to try that for a while! I think I'm going to start by making the dolsot bibimbap recipe that mamster provided on the bibimbap thread. I'm also going to use torakris's recipe for bulgogi marinade, with Jinmyo's revisions. And while I don't have the stone bowls, I think I'll be able to figure out a decent workaround of some sort.

Meanwhile, I haven't been able to find an answer to the following question. I have two pounds of thinly sliced beef (rib eye, it says on the package), but I want to get those threads for the bibimbap. So should I slice the meat into threads (a) before marinating, (b) after marinating but before cooking, or (c ) after cooking? I'm going to start the marinade now, so I guess if the answer is (a) I screwed up! :raz:
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#8 Chris Amirault

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 11:11 AM

Oh, wait. I just reread this --

It's one of the traditional ways of cutting beef, but not really for bulgogi. Julienned strips of beef thinner than shoelaces would be reserved for sauteeing in a pan to use as a garnish for dishes such as bibimbap, jap che (noodle dish with sauteed vegetables) or Gujeolpan (tiny crepes served with 8 fillings).

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-- which makes me think that I should in fact slice them into shoelaces before sauteeing them. So: I think I'll do one pound that way.
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#9 touaregsand

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 11:43 AM

Yes, you slice before you marinade. It's easier that way. It's also easier to slice when the meat is slightly frozen.

The most basic marinade is:

Soy sauce
sugar
garlic
black pepper (fresh makes a huge difference)

To this you can ad scallions, onions, sliced jalapeno or serrano peppers. Some people add juice, I've even heard of cola.

#10 touaregsand

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 07:59 AM

Last night we celerated my brother's 40th birthday at my parents house.

The Menu:

Kalbi
Various Jon
Hong Hweh
Jap Che
Kim chi
Too many banchan to mention right now

I'll post some recipes later today.

#11 Chris Amirault

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 02:04 PM

Oooh, recipes would be most excellent. Can you give translations of the various dishes -- or is there a decent website that does that?

I made the beef last night and it's in the fridge. Unfortunately, our twelve-day-old daughter conspired against a full-on Korean meal last night, so it's on for tonight.

I'm now going to make the namuru (side dishes, yes?) for tonight's bibimbap. I'll take a few pictures so that I can get some constructive criticism. One thing I'm going to try is to use a non-stick skillet to fry the rice and then slip it into a large heated serving bowl for the namuru and eggs (since I don't have any dolsots). If anyone has any tricks for that, I'd appreciate it.
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#12 touaregsand

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 03:24 PM

Kalbi- ribs
Various Jon- batter dipped pan fried things
Hong Hweh- Skate escabeche Korean style
Jap Chae- Korean Pasta
Kim chi- Hundreds of varieties, but we only the type made from napa cabbage last night
Banchan- side dishes

One thing I'm going to try is to use a non-stick skillet to fry the rice and then slip it into a large heated serving bowl for the namuru and eggs (since I don't have any dolsots)


I've never tried creating neulongji this way for bibimbap. There are two traditional ways of getting neulongji (the crust at the bottom). One way is to boil/steam the rice over an open flame, in the case of modern kitchens stove top. The other way is in a dolsot which can retain insane amounts of heat. On the other hand my mother has "faked" neulongji on the stove top to make fried neulongji sprinkling with sugar for her grandchildren. And yes she did this in a non-stick pan. Let me know how your experiment goes.

As for preparing naemul for your bibimbap, I would just saute the vegetables and skip the traditional blanching step for some vegetables. A plastic mandoline (you can buy one for less than $20.00 at a Korean grocery store is the easiest way to julienne carrots and zucchini. Traditional each vegetable is sauteed seperately, which is obvious given the presentation. :biggrin: While you're at it, you might want to saute extra for jap chae.

For Jap Chae simply boil Mung Bean noodles and quickly sauteed with a little garlic, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil and pre-cooked vegetables. The standard mix is carrots, mushrooms, onions, spinach and julienned beef. Sprinkle with sesame salt if desired.

I'm now going to make the namuru (side dishes, yes?)


Namul are unfermented or unpickled vegetables. In other words fresh or rehydrated dried vegetables. Leafy green vegetables and sprouts are usually blanched then seasoned or blanched, sauteed and seasoned. Carrots and Korean squash are usually just sauteed. A cucumber "salad" type preparation is also called namul. Mountain vegetables are also common.

#13 touaregsand

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 03:51 PM

Hong Hweh recipe for Eunny-

Frozen skate (You must use frozen skate, if you use fresh the texture will be really weird).

Heinz white vinegar (buy the big jug at Costo)
Minari stems
Yang Pah ("Western onions" or to our "Western" egulleters plain ole onion)
Pah tips (scallions)
Julienned carrots
Julienned Mu (Daikon radish)

Optional
Cucumbers and bell peppers


Korean red pepper flakes
sesame oil
sugar
roasted sesame seeds
garlic, minced

I have no measurements. :biggrin:

My mother always hand cuts the frozen skate. I ask the butcher to do it for me. I just can't wield a big sharp knife to hack away at a big piece of frozen, bone in fish with an active and involved two year old. The restaurant cuts of hong hweh seem to average 1/2" thickness. The hand cut are about 1" thick. My mother soaks her 1" cuts in vinegar for 2-3 hours. For the 1/2" cuts I suggest to begin checking at about 1 hour.

Julienne the mu (it should be thicker than the carrots). According to mom it's very important to gently massage in some sesame oil "ha cham he". A long time can be about 5-10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, again massage it into the mu. Add the remaing vegetables, garlic and sugar. Add more red pepper flakes if needed. Mix the indgredients well. Taste, adjust seasoning. When the skate is "cooked" enough in the vinegar to suit your taste, drain and squeeze out excess vinegar. Combine well with the seasoned vegetables. Again taste and adjust seasoning. This is the easy part of Korean cooking you can keep adjusting the seasoning. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

You can serve this as a banchan or with neng myun. Of course Eunny already knows this.

#14 torakris

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 03:51 PM

This is a really incredible site, it gives the English, hangul (Korean writing) and the Korean pronunciation. If you click on the English word it gives a description of the dish, the average heat level and price and often a picture as well.

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#15 Chris Amirault

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 05:57 PM

OK, here's my first crack at bibimbap. Here's the meez:

Posted Image

And here's the presentation:

Posted Image

Starting at 12 o'clock and going clockwise, it's daikon, seaweed, scallion, carrot, shiitake, spinach, scallion, beef, bean sprouts. Two fried eggs -- overdone so the yolks weren't completely runny, I'm sad to say -- and a dollop of gochujang in the middle. Black and regular sesame sprinkled on top.

touaregsand, thx for the tips,which I'll use next time for sure. As for the neulongji, I put a tablespoon of peanut oil in a very hot nonstick skillet and put the cooked rice into that skillet for about five minutes, shaking to keep it from sticking. It created what I consider to be a good crust, but could've gone longer (I was afraid of burning it the first time around). We ate it with a big dish of homemade -- not by me -- napa kimchi. (I wanted to make what I can only describe as fresh cucumber kimchi from some kirbys I got at the store, but I don't have a recipe. Anyone??)

Having said all of that: this is a damned amazing dish, truly a wonderful thing. There's something remarkable about the combination of textures, temperatures, and flavors. We scarfed ours down. I'm very eager to get feedback, but if we never change it this is going to become a household staple!
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#16 touaregsand

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 06:23 PM

napa kimchi. (I wanted to make what I can only describe as fresh cucumber kimchi from some kirbys I got at the store, but I don't have a recipe. Anyone??)


I have recipes for both and more. I will post those tomorrow.

I'm floored by your bibimbap presentation! Wow! It would make the people of my mom's home town proud (she's from the region where bibimbap originated).

There's something remarkable about the combination of textures, temperatures, and flavors.


Yes! This is where the beauty of Korean cuisine lies. Next time you might want to make a simple soup like kong namul gook (very simple, just soy bean sprouts in sun dried anchovy and dashima (kombu) broth) to have in between spoonfuls of bibimbap, it's very mild and refreshing.

#17 touaregsand

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 05:15 AM

Chris

I just noticed the appearance of the kochujang in your bibimbap. It doesn't look like you thinned it down with rice vinegar. If you didn't you might want to try that next time.

#18 Chris Amirault

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 04:53 PM

Chris

I just noticed the appearance of the kochujang in your bibimbap. It doesn't look like you thinned it down with rice vinegar. If you didn't you might want to try that next time.

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I didn't, that's right. Will do tonight -- I'm making it again! I think I'll wing it with the cucumber pickles and see what happens.
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#19 Ninjai Fanatic

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 05:17 PM

Beautiful thread! :)
thanks for those helpful links up there. I love Korean food and know how to cook just bibimbap chapchay(sp), kimchi, and some of the appetizers like the sweetened potatoes, spinach, etc.. and often like to cook this at home as well.. but of course, being vegetarian- I only know how to do the veggie dishes.

#20 touaregsand

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 05:48 PM

I didn't, that's right. Will do tonight -- I'm making it again! I think I'll wing it with the cucumber pickles and see what happens.



Great idea! That's how you really learn how to cook. Sorry I didn't get around to posting a recipe earlier today. It's actually really simple.


Kirby cucumbers
Cut them into 2 1/2- 3" cylinders, make two incisions, stopping 1/3" before you cut all the way through. salt them with sea salt, you can buy kimchi pickling salt at Korean markets for a while :biggrin: untill they become a bit limp, maybe 2-3 hours, rinse.

Seasoning
Chives
Scallions
Garlic
Red pepper flakes
Salt
sugar
I like to add a bit of fish sauce

Toss all the ingredients together. Taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary. Stuff the chive mixture in between the incisions. Oi Kimchi (Cucumber kimchi isn't eaten right away, it's usually eaten a few days later.

#21 torakris

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 06:12 PM

My recipe is quite similar, I make a quick cucumber kimchi that can be eaten the day it is made, it just has a fresher flavor. It is best at a bout day 2 and keep for about a week.

the recipe can be doubled or tripled, this is about a 4 person recipe.

4 Japanese cucumbers (or about 10 oz of the thinnest you can find), cut them lengthwise into quarters or sixths if they are larger, and then cut tehm to about 2 inch lengths. Salt them with 2% of their weight in salt. About a heaping teaspoon for this amount. Toss them and let sit for about 30 minutes. Drain them in a colander and squeeze them well to get rid of all the liquid. mix them with
1/4 of an apple, grated (Asian pears work well too)
julienned or finely sliced scallions
1 teaspoon of coarse chile powder
1 teaspoon of fine chile powder ( I prefer a combination of the two)
1 teaspoon of grated garlic
1 Tablespoon of ginger juice
pinch of sugar


let this sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then refrigerate.

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#22 touaregsand

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 06:23 PM

I use torakris ingredients when I make Oi Namul with julienned cucumbers to which I would add rice vinegar and sesame seeds or with 1/4" thick half moon slices when I'm making a quick cucumber water kimchi (I'll get the name later) to which I will add rice wine vinegar and water.

You see how easy and flexible Korean food is? :biggrin:

#23 touaregsand

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 11:46 AM

I thought of two more cucumber pickles, they're actually my favorites. Both are based on long thin Korean cucumbers pickled in brine, just salt and water.

Oi jjang achi 1-
Rinse the salt pickled cucumber
Slice into 1/3" rounds
season with garlic, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, sesame salt, a little sugar.

Oi jjang achi 2-
Rinse salt pickled cucumbers with water
tear into strips with your hands (this is where a picture is worth a thousand words)
Place in a jar, top with cold water and add some finely sliced scallion tops.

#24 Jason Perlow

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 01:36 PM

Is Saemjang (fermented bean paste) ever used in Bibimbap? Or is that strictly used as a condiment for dishes like BBQ Bulgogi and Kalbi?

I really like Saemjang, although I think its an acquired taste. If we don't have it when we make Korean BBQ at home, I feel like there is something missing. I always request it at the table when we go out for Korean, I usually get surprised looks from the servers.
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#25 touaregsand

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 01:42 PM

Saemjang is usually used as a condiment for lettuce wraps with rice, beef, sliced scallions, garlic slivers, etc. Or sometimes as a dip for fresh chilis or sundried anchovies.

Saemjang isn't used in bibimbap, the dish called "bibimbap" that is, as opposed to preparing bap with leftovers to "Bibyuh muguh" (mix and eat) at home. In which case you can use saemjang. Alot of Koreans do this.

#26 jschyun

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 11:27 PM

I thought of two more cucumber pickles, they're actually my favorites. Both are based on long thin Korean cucumbers pickled in brine, just salt and water.

Oi jjang achi 1-
Rinse the salt pickled cucumber
Slice into 1/3" rounds
season with garlic, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, sesame salt, a little sugar.

Oi jjang achi 2-
Rinse salt pickled cucumbers with water
tear into strips with your hands (this is where a picture is worth a thousand words)
Place in a jar, top with cold water and add some finely sliced scallion tops.

View Post

Have you tried those Persian cukes for all your cucumber needs? They're awesome! All the Korean people I know prefer them to the Korean cukes. Even the restaurants here use them, at least the good ones do. You'll find them in every Korean market, at least the ones I've been to lately. Okay, so I don't get the chance to cook/make kimchi/etc as much as you guys. But I'm very good at feedback when I eat other people's food, haha. And those Persian cucumbers rock.
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#27 touaregsand

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 02:43 PM

Have you tried those Persian cukes for all your cucumber needs?



I just thought those were Korean cukes. :biggrin:

#28 jschyun

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 04:07 PM

Have you tried those Persian cukes for all your cucumber needs?


I just thought those were Korean cukes. :biggrin:

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You know, I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't start coopting them for ourselves. I just love seeing "Persian cucumber" written in Korean when I go shopping. I feel all international every time I see it. I love how the mound of Persian cukes is (well, generally) huge compared to the puny mound of korean cucumbers. Hahaha. But damn, trying to find seeds is impossible.
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#29 v. gautam

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 07:14 PM

Are Persian cukes another name for 'Armenian' cukes or 'Serpent melons'? if so, these latter are the same, and Cucumis melo. Try Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

#30 Chris Amirault

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 07:47 PM

I noticed a lot of brown rice for sale at the Korean market that got me jonesing, but I don't have any recipes for it. I used some leftover brown rice for a quick leftover bibimbap at lunch today and it seemed to work well. What are some recipes that use brown rice?
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