Korean Tourism classes

Korean Tourism classes

Oh my, time really flys… It’s been too long since my last post.  Here are some class photos from Korean Tourism Singapore. I promise to be back sooner next time!

  • Japche (잡채) class in February


Our creation in the class
Our creation in the class


Great to see a male student in the class for a change
Great to see a male student in the class for a change


Very happy students




  • Last year’s Pollak soup class
I think they are twins! 🙂


pollak soup2


Besides Korean cooking, I love baking…. My mother in law and I took a 3 day basic French Pastry course a few months ago. Oh my goodness…. I was in heaven!

Pastry class
I am in heaven!


Hodduck class at Korean Tourism Singapore

Hodduck class at Korean Tourism Singapore

I was back in Singapore last week teaching at Korean tourism. It was really good to be back there meeting enthusiastic Korean food lovers.  This class was  all bout teaching Hodduk (호떡)! Check out my  previous blog on how to cook this.


about to start the class


KakaoTalk_Erica Pak_2 August, 2013


KakaoTalk_Erica Pak_2 August, 2013




Next class back in Singapore is on 11 September  and I will teaching chilli rice cake (aka dduk bok yi -떡뽁이).   Contact Korean tourism to register!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

I came across a hot cross bun recipe from the Sydney Morning Herald a few days ago and decided to give it ago.  I was rushing around to get myself ready for my cooking class and I foolishly didn’t let the dough rise enough. I should never bake in hurry! Anyway, my first attempt ended in disaster. 🙁

After researching a number of different magazines I bought in Sydney, I decided to use an Apricot & Almond Chelsea bun recipe and then modify it to make my own Hot Cross bun creations. You should have seen my husband’s face when he had his first mouthful. It was a Kodak moment… 🙂

Almost like the ones you buy from a bakery but better, don’t you think?

My version of Hot Cross Buns:

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 14g dried yeast
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 150ml warm milk
  • 50 mil warm water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50g unsalted butter softened, 1 extra tbsp of melted butter to brush
  • a handful of sultanas
  • 1 tsp mixed spice

For piping crosses over the dough balls:

  • 50ml water
  • 50ml milk
  • 90g self raising flour

Let’s get started!

  • I put plain flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and mixed well. (If you have a bread machine or electric mixer/food processor, you can almost let the machine do all the work.) I used my bread machine.
  • I added the flour mix into my bread machine bowl and poured in warm milk, water, egg and butter and pressed the dough function on the machine and let it mix for 30 minutes.
  • Once the mixing was done, I left the dough in the machine for one hour (or until it doubles in size).
  • I set my oven to 200’C (or 180’C fan). I used one of  baking trays lined with baking paper.
  • I knocked back the dough and cut into 8 pieces. I rolled them into balls and placed the balls so they just touched. I let it to rise for another 30 minutes.


  • Now the final touch! I brushed melted butter over the dough. Then I mixed the water, milk, self raising flour and piped over the dough balls to form crosses except two balls which I made heart shaped for my husband. ♥


  • I baked it for 10 minutes and then reduced the oven temperature to 180’C(or 160’c fan) and then cooked for another 10 minutes (or until golden brown).


  • It looked like I didn’t brush the butter evenly so I put another coating and put it back in the oven for a few more minutes.


Ready for steaming hot cross buns? My husband gave me an evil eye when I asked him to wait for a few more minutes while I was taking some photos. Sorry! 🙂

It was perfect for our Easter Friday afternoon snack. We cut the bun in half and spread a bit of butter while it was still hot and had it with our caffe latte! Happy Easter everyone!








family tree of Gold fish bun

family tree of Gold fish bun

For my birthday present, I received an interesting book which illustrates how some Korean and western food originated. Translated, the tittle of the book is: “Even the golf fish bun has a family tree”. It basically means, there is a story behind all types of food and dishes.

I’ll translate and share some of the stories on Korean dishes with you over next few months beginning with a Korean dessert called ho dduk (호떡-胡餠).  It’s a round, flat pancake filled with sugar and peanut. You can find ho dduk being sold by street vendors in Korea during autumn and winter.

Apparently, ho dduk originated from countries like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan. Traders brought the snack via the Silk Road through China before finally reaching Korea. Back in  those days, ho dduk was only for the rich or king’s family as wheat flour was rare and the technique of using yeast was new to Koreans.

There is a proverb in Korea: “There is a fire at the ho dduk store” which is used to describe when something is very noisy. According  to 1920’s newspapers articles there were lots of reports of fires starting in the ho dduk shops. Back then ho dduck was fried on an open fire. In addition, many of the owners were Chinese. So the saying came about because no-one knew what the Chinese were saying (perhaps “fire fire!”). To the Koreans it was just a lot of noise. Funny, huh?

My aunt sells both gold fish bun and ho dduk in LA so I asked her for the recipe. Its usually a 3 hour process as you have to wait for the flour to rise but I will show you a short cut version. By the way, the recipe my aunt gave me has a cup of Korean rice wine (so ju).

All you need is a packet of ho dduk pre-mix from a Korean grocery shop. The best thing about this is you don’t need wait for the flour to rise.

Inside the box, there is one packet of yeast(red packet), flour mix(orange packet) and sugar mix(brown).  All you need to add is 250ml of water and some vegetable oil.

How to make it ho dduk:

  • Take the yeast from the ho dduk pre-mix packet and place in a medium size bowl. Add 250ml of warm water and mix well.

  • Pour the ho dduk flour mix into the bowl and kneed for 5-10 minutes.
  • Prepare the sugar mix in a bowl.

  • Grease your hand with the vegetable oil and divide the dough into 10-12 small balls.
  • Flatten the ball and make a dimple in the middle. Then add 1-2 teaspoons of the sugar mix. Seal the sugar mix in the dough by folding the dough over the dimple.
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable of oil on medium heat to a frypan, then place the ball into the frypan and let it cook for about 30 seconds.

  • Flip the ball and flatten it with a spatula until it’s round and flat.

  • Allow it to cook for a minute on one side and then flip to the other side to cook another minute.

  • Remove from the frypan and let it cool on a paper towel.

Here are some pictures from my ho dduk class I conducted last week. Happy cooking!

PS: Thank you for all your emails and comments. If you post questions/comments on my blog, everyone can join in and share their experiences.  For the next two weeks, I am giving away a mystery Korean ingredient for the two most interesting questions/comments on each blog. This applies to replies from Singapore and Malaysia. I look forward to reading your questions and comments! 🙂

Christmas baking

Christmas baking

Here are some pictures of my Christmas baking that kept me busy during December. I know I don’t upload photos of my baking  normally but before I discovered the pleasure I got from cooking, baking desserts was the only thing  that I enjoyed.

I have been making Christmas cakes using my mother-in-laws recipes for the past 5 years. As Koreans don’t really have any specific food for Christmas, I thought it would be great to learn some of my mother-in-laws traditional food. This year, I made  quite a few Christmas cakes and gave them out to friends as presents. My mother-in-law usually  bakes 20 or more cakes and shares them with her friends. It takes 3 hours to bake one so that’s a lot of baking!!

Here is my first cake I made before Christmas and  shared at a  friend’s dinner party! It was delicious. I poured a bit of Bundaberg rum into the cake every day. The alcohol preserves the cake and keeps it very moist. My husband had to stop me from pouring too much Bundaberg rum into the cake I was liking it so much!!

The second cake I made for another friend. I even bought a proper cake box to give it to her!

My third and final cake I decorated with a few different ornaments and shared it at friend’s Christmas eve dinner party!

Here is one picture of my mother-in-laws’ Christmas cake – just to show you how the expert does it!

As well as the Christmas cakes, I also made some mince pies (pies with fruit fillings). It’s one of my husband’s favorite. He even yelled out “it smells like my mother’s kitchen!” when he came home from a meeting. (Is that a good thing?) The trick to making a mince pie is to roll the pastry as thin as possible. It took me 3 different attempts to figure out!!

The first batch was a little too thick around the edges…

Aren’t they cute? Heart and star shapes…

I was getting a little more creative on the second batch of mince pies except the fillings were over flowing.

My final batch. I must have made at least 40 mince pies in total. They were great to give out as Christmas presents.

Here is my husband’s contribution to the Christmas baking – brandy butter! He insisted that mince pies cannot be eaten without a good helping!!