Sunday, January 29, 2012

Soybean Paste Stew (Doenjang Jjigae 된장 찌개)

Hey guys, so today the last day of my holidays. School starts again tomorrow, so I am going to post up another recipe. I have no idea how long it will be before I can post up another recipe again so I promise to make this a good one.

Today I will be posting up another Korean recipe, it is soybean paste stew, or Doenjang Jjigae (된장 찌개). It is made using Korean soybean paste and a variety of vegetables, mushrooms seafood or tofu. It is hearty stew that is great to eat in winter when the weather is very cold, much like Seoul at the moment.

The main ingredient of the stew; deonjang, is actually made in an interesting manner. I personally find that it is interesting enough to explain so here goes the explanation.

"To produce doenjang, dried soybeans are boiled and stone-ground into coarse bits. This paste is then formed into blocks, which are called meju (메주). The blocks are then exposed to sunlight or warmth. When so exposed, dried rice plants are attached to the surface of the soybean blocks.
The fermentation process begins at this stage. The Bacillus subtilis bacteria (from the plants) reproduce, consuming soybean protein and water in the meju. The unique smell of the meju is mainly the ammonia produced by the bacteria. One to three months later, depending on the block size, the meju are put into large, opaque pottery jars with brine and left to further ferment, during which time various beneficial bacteria transform the mixture into a further vitamin-enriched substance (similar to the way milk ferments to become yogurt). Liquids and solids are separated after the fermentation process, and the liquid becomes Korean soy sauce (Joseon ganjang; 조선간장). The solid, which is doenjang, is very salty and quite thick, often containing (unlike most miso) some whole, uncrushed soybeans.

While traditional homemade doenjang is made with soybeans and brine only, many factory-made variants of doenjang contain a fair amount of wheat flour just like most factory-made soy sauce does. Some current makers also add fermented, dried, and ground anchovies to accentuate the doenjang's savory flavor."

And that is how deonjang is made. The stew itself is hearty and rich in all the flavours of the soybeans. The dish is actually one of the most popular dishes in Korea, it is readily eaten with dinner and is practically available in all Korean eateries.

I have babbled on for long enough about everything other than deonjang jjigae, so it is about time that I started the actual recipe.

1 1/2 tablespoons of doenjang
150g tofu
1 small or medium size onion
1/2 medium size zucchini or squash
5~7 dried anchovies
1 green onion
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 green chili pepper (optional)
1 red chili pepper (optional)
1/4 tablespoon Korean hot red pepper powder red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup of mushrooms (optional)
1/2 small or medium size potato (optional)
3 ~ 4 pieces of dasima(kelp) (optional)
Shrimps or clams (optional, when you want to make seafood doenjang jjigae)

1. Mix doenjang (and gochujang, if you want) with water.
2. Pour into the stew pot and add 3 cups of water. (Depending on how salty and thick you want it to be, you can add less or more water.)
3. Remove the heads and intestines from the dry anchovies and put them in the pot.
4. If you have dasima, add it to the pot.
(*The anchovies and dasima are for broth. Most Koreans remove them a few minutes after the water boils.)
5. Slice the vegetables (onion, zucchini, potato or mushrooms).
6. When the water boils, add the chopped vegetables. Add the shrimps or clams if they are not cooked. If they are already cooked, you can add them with the tofu later.
7. Cut the tofu into chunks and chop the green onion.
8. When the vegetables are cooked, add the tofu and green onion.
9. When the stew boils, add the minced garlic, chopped green and red chili pepper. Boil it a couple of minutes more.
10. Serve the doenjang jjigae when it’s hot.

And that is it. It is a simple dish that requires very little time and effort, but gives you so much in return (a full stomach and a warm and fuzzy feeling on the inside)

That is it for my post today, I don't know when I will have time to post again with school, homework and all that. I will try to keep to posting once every week, but don't count on it. I won't forget to post, hopefully ><

Until next time that I post stay warm, healthy and above all healthy.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rice Cake Soup Tteokguk 떡국

Hey guys, so there are only two days until the 2012 Lunar New Year. I know that there are a lot of dishes that are prepared for this event, but there is one that everyone know about and is a definite must at this event. Rice Cake Soup or tteokguk 떡국.

This is something that can not be left out of the celebrations because it is believed to grant the consumer luck for the forthcoming year and gain an additional year of life. It is usually garnished with thin julienned cooked eggs, marinated meat, and gim (dried seaweed or laver)

The history of the dish is actually quite unknown. However, tteokguk is mentioned in the 19th century book of customs Dongguksesigi (동국세시기, 東國歲時記) as being made with beef or pheasant used as the main ingredient for the broth, and pepper added as seasoning. The book also mentions the custom of having a bowl of tteokguk in the morning of New Year's Day to get a year older, and the custom of saying "How many bowls of tteokguk have you eaten?" to ask a person's age.

In the book The Customs of Joseon written in 1946 by historian Choe Nam-seon, the New Year custom of eating tteokguk is speculated as being originated from ancient times. The white tteok signifying purity and cleanliness would be eaten as a ritual to start off the New Year for good fortune.

Although tteokguk is traditionally a seasonal dish, it is now eaten at all times of the year.

The broth is generally made by simmering the main protein (beef, chicken, pork, seafood) in a soy sauce-based seasoned stock. The stock is then strained to clarify the broth and long cylinder-shaped rice cakes (garaetteok) are thinly sliced diagonally and boiled in the broth. Garnish is added before serving and it may vary by region and personal taste.

Varieties of tteokguk include: saeng tteokguk (생떡국) or nal tteokguk (날떡국), a specialty of Chungcheong province, where a mixture of non-glutinous rice with glutinous rice is made into small balls or rolled into a garaetteok shape and then sliced into a boiling broth; joraengi tteokguk (조랭이 떡국) from the Kaesong region with the tteok twisted in small cocoon shapes; and gon tteokguk (곤떡국) from the island of Jeju, which uses sliced jeolpyeon tteok rather than the usual garaetteok.

Another variety, tteokmanduguk is literally tteokguk with additional mandu.

I think that is enough about the history of tteokguk and its other varieties. It is time to introduce you to the dish that you will be making is two days time.

300g Diagonally sliced rice cake
100g Beef brisket
1 clove Garlic
2tbs Fish sauce
3 Eggs
1 sheet Laver (dried seaweed)
Green onion
Sesame oil
Black ground pepper

1. Boil 8 cups of water in a pot.
2. Soak sliced rice cake in cold water.
3. Chop beef brisket into small pieces.
4. Prepare 3 eggs in 2 small bowls:
5. In the first bowl, put 2 egg yolk;
6. In the second bowl, put 2 egg white and 1 egg;
8. Add a pinch of salt to each bowl and mix well.
Cooking the Egg
9. Heat up a non-stick pan. Let it get really hot. Add a few drops of vegetable oil, and wipe off the excess hot oil with a paper towel.
10. Turn the heat off. Pour the egg yolk mixture from “bowl 1″ above into the pan and spread it thinly. You want to make a thin yellow paper out of the egg by tilting the pan.
11. When it’s almost cooked through, turn it over and let it sit on the pan to cook the other side.
12. Slice it thinly and set it aside.
Laver Powder
13. Roast a sheet of laver (kim) directly on the stove top. Both sides of the laver should be roasted so that it can be crushed easily.
14. Put the roasted laver into a plastic bag and crush it! Then set it aside.
Finishing off the Soup
15. When the water boils, put in the beef. Boil over low medium heat for 20-30 minutes.
16. Open the lid and add minced garlic and fish sauce.
*tip: the water will boil off but you want to keep it at 6 cups. You can add more water as you need it.
17. Drain the rice cake slices and put them into boiling beef soup. Close the lid.
18. A few minutes later, open the lid to check if rice cake slices are floating on the surface. You can taste a sample now.
19. Pour in the egg mix from “bowl 2″ above, a little at a time.
*tip: Don’t stir it until the egg mixture is cooked a little in the broth
20. Chop some green onion and add it to the pot.
21. Turn off the heat and drizzle some sesame oil and grind a little black pepper.
22. Transfer the rice cake soup to serving bowls. Garnish with the roasted laver powder and the thin egg yolk strips.
Serve hot.

And there you have it, a delicious dish to welcome the New Year and something that you can make on a cold and drizzly day.

That is it for my post today, but I wish you all a Happy Lunar New Year, and I pray that you will all be healthy and safe in 2012. May all your dreams come true and that you will all continue to support my blog as I will continue to come up with recipes.

Happy Lunar New Year!! 새해 복 많이 받으세요!! *BIG bow*

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Yakgwa 약과

Hey guys, so I am back with another blog post this week. Today I am going to be posting up a dessert recipe.

Today I am posting up a post about Yakgwa or 약과. This is a Korean dessert cookie that has a long history that is pretty hard to trace. The dish is more commonly referred to as a confectionery because it is part of the long list of Korean confectioneries.

Yakgwa is a type of cookie made by kneading wheat flour with sesame oil, honey and refined rice wine. It is pressed into a square mold, or flattened with a mallet and cut into a square. It is then fried in oil and dipped in honey. This is the most luxurious and tasteful traditional Korean cookie. It is served without fail on festive days, at ceremonial feasts and memorial services.

I'm not going to go too into it, so I'll start with the recipe now.

- 150 g wheat flour
- 2tbsp sesame oil
Honey cookie seasoning
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp refined rice wine
¼ tsp salt
½ tbsp ginger juice
pinch ground white pepper
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
Honey syrup
300 g honey
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 g pumpkin seeds
- 8 g jujube
- 4 cups edible oil

1. Sieve wheat flour, mix with the sesame oil thoroughly and sieve again.
2. Add seasonings to the wheat flour, mix thoroughly and knead it softly like as making a snowball.
3. Roll the dough flat with roller, fold over three times, roll and fold again. Finally roll it down to 0.5 cm-thick, cut it into 3.5 cm-square and make 5~6 holes with a chopstick.
4. Blend honey syrup.
5. Remove tops of the pine nuts, wipe pine nuts and pumpkin seeds with dry cotton cloths. Wipe jujube with damp cloths, cut the flesh round and make it flower shape.

1. Pour edible oil into the pan and heat it up for 5 min. on medium heat. When oil temperature comes up to 85~90 ℃, put the cookie dough, oil-fry for 15 min. When the dough float on the surface, raise the heat to high heat. When oil temperature comes up to 140~145 ‘C, fry it for another 10 min. until the both sides color turns to brown.
2. Drain oil on a strainer for 5~10 min, dip in honey syrup for 5~6 hours, put them on a strainer again for 2 hours.
3. Garnish with pine nuts, jujube and pumpkin seeds.

And there you have it, a yummy dessert cookie that is both presentable and delicious.

I hope you guys enjoy that, and until next time stay healthy keep warm and enjoy your food. Next time I am going to being posting a dish that can be eaten during the Lunar new year celebration.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bulgogi 불고기

Hey guys, So like I said yesterday I am back today with a recipe ^^

After some thought I decided that I will introduce to you a Korean favourite, Bulgogi (불고기). Bulgogi is one of Korea's most popular beef dishes that is made from thinly sliced beef. It is usually marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, garlic, onions, ginger, and sugar for two to four hours to enhance the flavor and its tenderisation.

Bulgogi is traditionally grilled but broiling or pan-cooking is common as well. Whole cloves of garlic, sliced onions, and chopped green peppers are often grilled or cooked at the same time. It is often served to non-Koreans as a first taste of Korean cuisine.

This dish is usually served with a side of lettuce, spinach, or other leafy vegetable, which is used to wrap a slice of cooked meat, often times along with a dab of ssamjang, kimchi, or other side dishes, and then eaten as a whole.

The word Bulgogi literally means "fire meat" in Korean, derived from Pyongan dialect, equivalent to neobiani in Seoul dialect. It refers to cooked marinated meat, applied old traditional grilling techniques using gridirons unlike deep frying or boiling in water. The term is also applied to variations such as dak bulgogi (made with chicken) or dwaeji bulgogi (made with pork), depending on what kind of meat ingredient and corresponding seasoning are used.

The history of bulgogi is that it is believed to have originated during the Goguryeo era (37 BC–668 AD) when it was originally called maekjeok (맥적), with the beef being grilled on a skewer. It was called neobiani (너비아니), meaning "thinly spread" meat in the Joseon Dynasty and was traditionally prepared especially for the wealthy and the nobility class.

Enough of all the history and background stories, time to get into the recipe.

500 g thinly sliced beef (sirloin or rib eye)
5 tbsp sugar
½ cup soy sauce
2 cloves finely chopped garlic (can be crushed but remove buds before serving)
¼ tsp salt
5 tbsp Mirin (sweet sake, optional)
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 cup split green onions
2 cups thinly sliced carrots (optional)

1. Mix all ingredients except carrots. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
2. Cook over medium high heat until meat is just short of desired completion.
3. Add carrots and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
4. Serve with rice

And that is it, it is practically the easiest Korean dish you will every make.

I hope you guys enjoy that, I am practically imaging the smell of the meat cooking as I finish up this post. Feel free to try this marinade with other types of meet such as chicken and pork, ann tell me how it goes.

Until my next post, stay healthy and enjoy your food!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Yo yo I am back on a computer ALREADY. Why? How?
Because my new computer came much sooner than I expected, I guess you could say that it is the wonders of express delivery. So I am already start posting new recipes, but I haven't really done any research yet. So the first post will be up tomorrow.
Just wait for tomorrow, I promise early tomorrow morning there will be a post up here about food ^^

Thursday, January 12, 2012

lack of computer

Hey, so my two weeks break is just about over but I don't think I will be able to post until a bit later because I have no computer to use. My computer has died and I need to wait for my new laptop to just wait a bit longer. I'm actually posting this from my phone, but it just isn't convenient to write a proper blogpost from a tiny keypad. And not to mention the terrors of trying to add an image.
I'm sorry for the lack of posts in the last month, but when my new computer arrives I will be sure to start blogging again before the start of school.
Just wait a bit longer guys until more delicious recipes ^^