You must try them.
By Ann (Lai Cheng)/Category: Feature, pictures, and recipes
During my week long spring break from the University of Illinois at Chicago, I was craving a new food experience. I was on a mission to try new food that was not typical to what I normally eat. One of my family members urged me to try Korean food. Therefore, my family and I went online to look up a good and non-expensive Korean restaurant closer to my home. We decided to go to SeoCho Garden, located at 1600 Maple Ave., Suite C, Lisle, IL 60532. Two of us ordered a silky tofu with seafood vegetable broth for $10 (Soondooboo Chigae) and rice topped with vegetables, beef, egg & spicy sauce served in sizzling pots for $12 (Dolsot Bibimbop). The restaurant offered a free Korean vegetable pancake and eight kinds of kimchi. Everything we ordered turned out to be extremely delicious. When I got home, I talked to a Korean friend and told her that I really enjoyed the Korean food we ate. My friend shared a few traditional classic Korean recipes that I would love to pass onto you. ENJOY!!
Silky tofu with seafood vegetable broth (Soondooboo Chigae)
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
- 1 palm-sized piece dried kelp
- 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 5 dried anchovies
- 1/2 small onion, cut into large chunks
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup pork belly, sliced into strips
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
- 3 tablespoons Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or fish sauce)
- 1 cup frozen mixed seafood (or any combination of your favorite seafood)
- 1 tube silken soft tofu (soondooboo- use 1 tube per person)
- 2 stalks green onion, sliced into 1″ pieces
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 egg
- Rice, for serving (optional)
- First, make the stock: Rinse the dried kelp and dried mushrooms under cold water to remove any dust. Add to a medium-sized stockpot. Remove the head and intestines from the dried anchovies, rinse under cold water and add to the pot. Add the onion and water. Cover, bring to a boil on high heat and boil vigorously for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 20 minutes.
- Remove the mushrooms and set aside to cool. Strain the stock and set aside until ready to use. Once the mushrooms are cool, slice into strips.
- Heat a Korean stoneware pot over medium-high heat. Add the pork belly and sauté until lightly browned. Add the garlic and reserved sliced mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the red pepper paste, red pepper powder, and sugar. Stir to combine then quickly add 2 cups of the reserved stock. Add the soy sauce. The pot should be fairly full.
- Bring back to a boil and cook for 5-6 minutes over medium-high heat.
- Add the seafood, stir, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Cut the tube of tofu in half and squeeze into the stew. Break it up slightly (but not too much) to submerge.
- Sprinkle the green onion over the top and drizzle with sesame oil.
- For each person, crack an egg into the stew and serve immediately while hot and bubbling, with a bowl of rice on the side.
Rice topped with vegetables, beef, egg & spicy sauce served in sizzling pots (Dolsot Bibimbop)
Preparation time: 35 mins
Cooking time: 55 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 people
Meat and meat sauce
- 100g (3.5 ounces) beef mince
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sugar – I used brown sugar
- ¼ tsp minced garlic
Vegetables and other
- 250g (0.6 pounds) mildly seasoned spinach
- 350g (0.8 pounds) mildly seasoned bean sprouts – (You don’t have to use them up if you think it’s too much but I love having lots of vegetables on my Bibimbop!)
- 100g (3.5 ounces) shiitake mushroom
- 120g (4.2 ounces) carrots (1 small)
- ½ tsp fine sea salt (1/4 tsp each will be used when cooking shiitake mushroom and carrots)
- 3 to 4 serving portions of steamed rice
- 3 or 4 eggs (depending on the serving portion)
- Some cooking oil to cook the meat, mushroom, carrots and eggs – I used rice bran oil.
- Korean seasoned seaweed, shredded (long thin cut)
Bibimbop sauce – The below sauce might be only enough for 3 servings if you like eating it spicy.
- 2 Tbsp gochujang
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp sugar – I used raw sugar
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
- 1 tsp vinegar – I used apple vinegar
- 1 tsp minced garlic
* 1 Tbsp = 15ml
- Prepare and cook ingredients as below.
– For meat, mix the beef mince with the meat sauce listed above. Marinate the meat for about 30 mins while you are working on other ingredients to enhance the flavor. Add some cooking oil into a wok and cook the meat on medium high to high heat. It takes about 3 to 5 mins to thoroughly cook it.
– Mix the Bibimbop sauce ingredients in a bowl.
– Spinach and bean sprouts
– Rinse, peel and julienne the carrots. Add some cooking oil and ¼ tsp of fine sea salt in a wok and cook the carrots on medium high to high heat for 2 to 3 mins.
– Clean/rinse the shiitake mushrooms and thinly slice them. Add some cooking oil and ¼ tsp of fine sea salt in a wok and cook the mushrooms on medium high to high heat until they are all cooked. (It takes 2 to 3 mins.)
– Make fried eggs. (While sunny side up is common, you can make them per your preference.)
- Put the rice into a bowl and add the meat, assorted vegetables, seasoned seaweed, Bibimbop sauce and the egg on top of the rice. Serve it.
- Mix the ingredients well in the bowl and enjoy!
Korean Vegetable Pancakes
(Makes about four 8-inch pancakes)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cups ice cold water
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil for pan frying (approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons for each pancake)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and julienned
1 carrot, peeled and julienned (or grated)
1 green pepper, cut into thin slices
1 red pepper, cut into thin slices
1 bunch of scallions, sliced
- In a medium bowl, mix flour, egg, salt, and 1 1/2 cups water until a smooth batter is formed. If batter is still thick, add a little more water (you want it to be the consistency of pancake batter). Stir in the potatoes, carrots, peppers, and scallions.
- Place an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Let it heat for 15-20 seconds, and then coat bottom with vegetable oil. Ladle in about a quarter of the batter and spread it out evenly into a circle. Cook for 5 minutes until edges start browning. Then flip and cook for another 3-5 minutes. When completed, transfer the pancake on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain oil (if necessary) and then place on serving plate.
- Repeat steps 1 to 3 with remaining batter.
- When pancakes are all finished, cut into wedges and serve with dipping sauce.
Dipping sauce (sauce for pajeon and dumplings):
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice or white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Pinch of roasted sesame seeds
Pinch of chopped scallion
Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, water, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. Sprinkle in sesame seeds, chopped scallion, and if desired, pinch of red pepper.
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
- 2 heads Napa cabbage, cut into quarters or 2-inch wedges, depending on size of cabbage
- 1 bulb garlic, cloves separated and peeled
- 1 (2-inch) piece of ginger root
- 1/4 cup fish sauce or Korean salted shrimp
- 1 Asian radish, peeled and grated
- 1 bunch of green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1/2 cup Korean chili powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- Sesame oil (optional)
- Sesame seeds (optional)
- 1. Dissolve 1 cup salt in 1/2 gallon water. Soak cabbage in the salt water for 3 to 4 hours.
- 2. Combine garlic, ginger, and fish sauce or shrimp in food processor or blender until finely minced.
- 3. In large bowl, combine radish, green onions, mustard greens, garlic mixture, chili powder, 1 tablespoon salt and optional sugar. Toss gently but thoroughly. (If mixing with your hands, be sure to wear rubber gloves to avoid chili burn.)
- 4. Remove cabbage from water and rinse thoroughly. Drain cabbage in colander, squeezing as much water from the leaves as possible. Take cabbage and stuff radish mixture between leaves, working from outside in, starting with largest leaf to smallest. Do not overstuff, but make sure radish mixture adequately fills leaves. When entire cabbage is stuffed, take one of the larger leaves and wrap tightly around the rest of the cabbage. Divide cabbage among 4 (1-quart) jars or 1-gallon jar, pressing down firmly to remove any air bubbles.
- 5. Let sit for 2 to 3 days in a cool place before serving. Remove kimchi from jar and slice into 1-inch-length pieces. If serving before kimchi is fermented, sprinkle with a little bit of sesame oil and sesame seeds. Refrigerate after opening.
Note: Kimchi will be good enough to eat straight for up to about 3 weeks. After about 4 weeks, once the kimchi gets too fermented to eat by itself, use it to make hot pots, flatcakes, dumplings, or just plain fried rice.