Korean miso soup – den jang jjige

Korean miso soup – den jang jjige

Due to the recent bad weather in Korea its been difficult getting fresh Korean vegetables in Singapore. In Sydney there is a big Korean community and a lot of vegetables are freshly grown locally. I have been taking it for granted thinking that I could get fresh vegetables anytime.

In order to overcome my frustrations, I decided to grow one of the vegetables that has been hard to come by lately – Korean young zucchini. After a month of babysitting, I had my first harvest!

To celebrate, I decided to cook Korean miso soup (den jan jji ge – 된장 찌게) as it is one of the vital ingredients. Denjang jji ge is one of the most common dishes you find on the Korean dinner table. (with Kimchi jji ge being the first, of course!)

To cook Seafood den jang jji ge, you need:

Ingredients

3 cups of anchovies stock, 1 potato, 1 Korean zuchini, 1 onion, 1 red & 1 green chillies, 1 & 1/2 tbsp soy bean paste, 1/2 tbsp Korean chilli sauce, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, spring onion, and any  type of seafood  you like (except fish).

  • Put the anchovy stock in a pot and add the soy bean paste, chilli sauce and garlic and boil for about 3 minutes.
  • Add the potato, onion, zucchini and clams, mussels and cook until potato is almost done.
  • Add prawns, tofu, red & green chilli, spring onion and cook another 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the soup into a bowl and serve with a bowl of rice.

I made some soybean sprout salad the other day  so I served it with the soup along with multi grain rice… Very healthy dinner!

Rice cake – Yak shik (약식)

Rice cake – Yak shik (약식)

I had some left over glutinous rice from my Ginseng Chicken class on Saturday and decided to try Korean rice cake called Yak sik (약식) for the first time. Yak shik is served as a dessert but this is one of the must have rice cake for the the first full moon celebration of the year.

I love eating all types of rice cakes and especially yak sik. Out of all the rice cakes, I think this must be the easiest to make!

Once I cooked the yak shik, I put it in a plastic container so it will be a rectactgular shape. You can also freeze the left over yak shik and defrost in a microwave to have it later!

If you don’t have time to make rice cakes, check out my favourite rice cake shop in Singapore!

Hankook rice cake shop

Address: 10 Sinaran drive, #03-09 Square 2, S307506

Tonight’s menu is Seafood Jjam bbong(해물 짬뽕)!

Tonight’s menu is Seafood Jjam bbong(해물 짬뽕)!

I think the last time I made this dish was when I was at high school in Sydney. This was one of my regular dishes for the family. Back then I used to crave it, especially during winter, but it was hard to find a good Korean Chinese restaurant that had it on the menu. So I took to making it myself.

Jjambbong(짬뽕) is a noodle soup that was modified by the Chinese population who were living in Korea. The Koreans have adopted it as one of their national dishes. It is as well known amongst locals as jja jang myun (black bean noodles – 짜장면). Koreans love both jjambbong and jja jang myun and always find it hard to choose between the two, so restaurants now have a bowl that is divided into half so you can enjoy both dishes. What a brilliant idea!

I haven’t cooked many Korean dishes since I finished my culinary school and when I feel lazy I usually go to Dong bang hong Korean Chinese restaurant to get my jjam bong fix. Tonight it’s time to see what my husband thinks of my homemade reciepe.


Seafood Jjambbong:

Ingredients: (Serves 4 people)

Vegetables: 1/2 carrot, 1/4 cabbage, 1/2 zucchini, 1/2 onion, 1/4 green capsicum, 1/4 red capsicum, 1 long red chilli, 2 cloves of garlic minced, some spring onions for garnish. (The cabbage brings out the sweetness to the soup so it’s essential ingredient.)

Seafood: 1 squid, 20 clams, 10 prawns peeled and de-veined, 8 mussels.

Chilli oil: 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil & 2 tablespoon of Korean chilli powder

Stock: 15 dried anchovies, a handful of dried prawns, 5 dried kelps, a handful of dried fish and prawn heads and shells, 2L of water

Seasoning: 1 tbsp of light soy sauce, 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, 1 tbsp of Korean chilli powder, some salt and white peppers

One of the most important steps is making the stock. I added dried anchovies, prawns, kelps, and  the fish to a pot with cold water and brought it to boil for about 10minutes.

I read it somewhere that if you boil kelp too long, the stock becomes slightly bitter, so make sure to remove the kelp after 10 minutes. Then boil the stock minus the kelp for another 10 minutes.

I also added prawn heads and shells to improve the seafood flavour.  Now time to strain the stock.

While the stock is boiling, I prepared the seafood

Apologies for not having any photos for this next step. I was concentrating so hard that I forgot to take any pictures. Cooking and taking pictures at the same time is not easy!  In a pot, add 3 spoonfuls of vegetable oil and add 2 teaspoon of Korean chilli powder. Cook on a low heat to make chilli oil. Be careful not to burn the chilli oil. If you do, your soup will be bitter and you are better off starting a new batch.

Once you make the chilli oil,  add the vegetables and stir fry for about 5 minutes. Then add the light soy sauce, minced garlic, and oyster sauce. I added one more teaspoonful of Korean chilli powder because I like some zing!. If you want it even more spicy, I recommend to add those very small chillies that have extra heat. It will be deadly!  Now stir fry a little more and add all the seafood except the prawns. (If you cook prawns too long, they become chewy!) Add the stock and boil on high heat for about 10minutes to get a nice seafood flavour.

While the soup is boiling, I cooked some fresh handmade noodles that I buy at Fairprice supermarket. Finally, add the prawns and spring onions to the soup, keep boiling for a few minutes more and it’s ready.

Looking good!!

Season with salt and white pepper and finally add the noodles to the soup.

Mine could have been a little more spicy but it turned out fantastic for a dish that I haven’t cooked for such a long long time. If you have any left over, you can eat it again with a nice bowl of rice. I can’t wait to have some more for lunch.  Thumbs up from my husband!  🙂

15 minutes of fame

15 minutes of fame

I thought I had already had my 15 minutes of fame with an article published in U-Weekly(优1周) this week, so I was surprised to be contacted by another journalist interested in interviewing me. She was writing an article for a magazine which is distributed to high school students across Singapore.

To my surprise, when the journalist turned up, she brought along a 14 year old student to enjoy the experience of learning to cook with me. Since Korean movies and pop stars are very popular among students thesedays, it stands to reason that Korean food  has been riding a wave of popularity as well. We chose to make bibimbap which requires quite a bit of chopping and stir frying. My student confessed that he doesn’t normally cook at home but once I showed him some simple techniques he picked it up really quickly.

  • Ingredients for bibimbap prepared for the interview
  • Teaching how to cut a carrot in fine julienne style
  • Now showing off his mushroom cutting skill…
  • Tasting time!
  • I think he really liked it….
  • A photo with my new junior chef! What a star!

What was especially nice was he emailed me next day to find out where he can buy all the Korean sauces as he wanted to try out his new culinary skills on his family. That really put a big smile on my face!  🙂

Chu seok class – yummy song pyun

Chu seok class – yummy song pyun

Check out the dishes my students created during the Chu seok class last Saturday.

  • Iris put a lot of effort in decorating each “jeon” with mugwort leaves….
  • A few more photos from the class, believe it or not, everyone finished the plate clean, yum yum!!  🙂
  • Song pyun was a team effort… so proud! Aren’t they so pretty?
  • To celebrate Chu seok tomorrow, I whipped up some more song pyun so I can share with some of my friends. Can you believe the colour comes from adding cooked pumpkin?

Chu seok (추석) – Korean Thanksgiving Day!

Chu seok (추석) – Korean Thanksgiving Day!

Chu seok is the second biggest festival after Chinese New Year in Korea. It is celebrated on the 15th day of  August by the Chinese calendar which means it falls on the 22nd of September this year. In days gone by, it was to celebrate the great autumn harvest and thank the ancestors by offering newly harvested rice and fruits. Nowadays, as most people are living in the big cities, the tradition is to visit your family where ever they may be.

As Chu seok is approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to conduct a class based on the food that we cook and eat during this festival. Rice cakes called song pyeon (송편) are essential for the celebrations. It is a half moon shaped rice cake made from either bean paste or sesame seeds with honey.

Another type of food also we enjoy eating is mung bean pancake (녹두 빈대떡). First you need to soak the organic mung beans  over night  and then peel the shells by rubbing them between your hands. Boy, I must have spent at least half an hour peeling the mung bean shells and my hands were tired at the end of it. There must be a better way. I wonder if they sell pre-made mung bean pancake powder? 🙂

I put the mung beans through the blender with a bit of water until they were liquefied. Then I added some cooked bean sprouts and chopped kimchi mixed together with a few scoops of glutinous flour.

Finally I pan fried them in in medium heat with vegetable oil cooking for a few minutes on each side.

There is even a comedy song about mung bean pancakes. It’s about a gentlemen who went to  a fine dining restaurant and had his meal but didn’t have any money so he gets beaten up by the restaurant.  The moral of the song is to go and  buy mung bean pancakes at a pub rather than an up-scale restaurant.  Check out the song by clicking here!

If you want to learn about Korean Thanksgiving and cook some traditional Korean dishes, I have devised a special Thanksgiving class scheduled on the 18th September. Don’t forget to register early, seats are filling up already!