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

 

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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 Chu Seok everyone!

Happy Chu Seok everyone!

Days like today makes you really miss your family.  A friend in Korea shared these photos of her family celebrating Chu Seok. They remind me of when I was living in Korea. When my grand parents were alive, the entire family (my dad has 5 brothers and 1 sister) got together to celebrate Chu seok.

For those who don’t know what Chu seok is, it’s Korean Thanksgiving. We buy the best season produce and serve it on a table like in below picture to show respects to our ancestors. Looks a bit like a ghost month, right?

 

 

 

We also serve Korean rice wine to the ancestors.

 

 

Then we bow on the floors to the ancestors. The two kids in the middle are wearing hangbok (Korean traditional costume). So cute!

 

Now time to eat…  I can see various kimchi, stir fried vegetables and Korean soy bean paste soup. The most important dish for Chu seok is Song pyun rice cake.

 

 

This table is an indication of the hard work by the Korean house wives. Grandmothers, Aunts, daughters and daughter-in-laws would have slaved away over the last few days to put all this food together. Hmmm, now I have a big craving for all this food…. ^_^

Happy Chu seok everyone!

 

**Photos provided by Erin Kim in Korea**

 

 

 

 

 

 

Korean Temple food

Korean Temple food

I can’t believe this will be my last blog for 2011. It’s been a busy last few months and I finally managed to squeeze in some time to write a blog I have been meaning to write for a while…. This is long overdue!

I was invited to attend a Korean cooking demonstration conducted by a Korean Buddhist Seonjae nun a few months ago. Being reasonably ignorant of Buddism, it was a good opportunity to educate myself.  I noticed a lot of Temple food cooking books were very popular during my last trip to Korea.

The cooking demonstration was organised by the Singapore Korean Women’s Association and was held at the Korean International School. The turn out was fantastic. There must have been at least 200 people filling the school hall. I guess everyone was curious to see the difference in the Korean temple food. Seonjae nun was going to show us how to make a few different types of kimchi in the Buddhist way.

I learnt that Buddhists don’t eat garlic, spring onion/leek and onion. This was hard to believe when Koreans use so much of these ingredients. I was really looking forward to taste Kimchi which has no garlic!

 

Seonjae nun is a cancer survivor. When she found out that she had cancer, she decided to focus more on the Korean temple food and treat her illness with food that she cooked. All her vegetables were grown in the temple organically and she treated the vegetable like any precious lives. She explained that what you eat is what you are. So you need to eat good and healthy food or your body will get sick.  How true…

 

Check out the different variety of kimchi that she made and we tasted.

Lotus root white kimchi

 

Cabbage Kimchi

 

Eggplant kimchi

 

 

Cucumber kimchi

 

All the different variety of kimchi that I tried tasted much less salty but still very fresh. I still couldn’t believe she didn’t use any garlic in any of the cooking. One more thing to note is that she makes her own soy sauce and substituted that with fish sauce.

Well, thank you all for following my blog this year and I hope I can bring more instresting stories for you next year! Happy New Year everyone and all the best in 2012!

A real veggie garden

A real veggie garden

I am in Australia this week visiting my family and friends. It was really nice to experience some cooler weather for a change. We spent yesterday having an typical Australian BBQ and now I am staying at my mother-in-law’s farm enjoying the country lifestyle. See the cows? We also saw kangaroos jumping around on the way here. Beautiful!

 

 

Here are some photos of my mother-in-law’s vegetable garden which I would like to show off. Living in Singapore and struggling to grow anything, this is my dream garden. We just harvested some parsnips and carrots which we are now cooking for dinner. I was over the moon harvesting with my bare hands.

 

 

 

Check out these cabbages… I will be taking one of these to my dad to try. He is an amateur farmer and might encourage him re-start his back yard veggie patch.

 

I tried this fresh broad beans off the stem and it was incredibly sweet.

 

 

This little lettuce was hiding between the Swede Turnips.

 

Harvesting parsnips.

 

Harvesting carrots. Look at these luscious green leaves.

 

 

Check out this little carrot.

 

How great are these!

 

I can’t wait for dinner. Freshly picked vegetables which are going straight on to our dinner plates.  🙂

 

An-nyung Korea!

An-nyung Korea!

I received an email today from a Korean reporter who has published a story on the An-nyung Korea event in Singapore last August. I was working at this event demonstrating how to make bibimbap (비빔밥) and dduk bok yi (떡복이). I can’t believe I made to Korean TV!!!!  If you want a glimpse of the report, click here. It’s in Korean, but I am sure you can get the gist.

Here are some pictures of the event.

 

Getting ready for the cooking demonstration!

 

 Ingredients for bibimbap.

 

Beautiful colour and healthy dish….

 

Now, time for the next dish. Dduk bok yi!

 

It’s ready! Looks spicy… 🙂

 

Time for tasting!

Korean Thanksgiving – Chuseok food

Korean Thanksgiving – Chuseok food

When a friend mentioned how much she missed a Korean dessert drink called Sikhe (식혜), it took me back to childhood. I remember my mum making this drink when I was growing up and she seemed to take forever making it.  It was Chuseok(Thanksgiving) in Korea recently so I thought I would make it to celebrate the occasion.

Sikhe is served mostly during Korean celebrations(Chinese New Year, Thanksgiving,etc). Apparently, Sikhe helps to clean your palate after all the rich and greasy food you have been pigging out on during the celebration.

 

After a bit of research and consulting my mum, I started the two days sikhe making journey. You can buy pre-made ones in a can but you can’t beat the home made ones!! Aynway, that would be cheating, right?

How to make Sikhe (식혜)

Ingredients: Korean powdered malt (400g), 3/4 cup brown sugar,  5L of water, 1 cup cooked short grain rice

  • The good thing about making this dish is that there are only a few ingredients. The Korean powdered malt was around S$5 at a Korean supermarket and you can use any left over rice!

 

  • Soak the powered malt in 2L water in a bowl for one hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Using your hand, rub the malt to squeeze all the goodness out for about 10 minutes.

 

 

  • Strain the malt using a fine cheesecloth. Squeeze the cheesecloth until the malt is almost dry.

 

  • Leave the liquid from the malt in a bowl for another two hours. This is to separate the starch from the liquid.  Carefully pour the liquid without the starch into a rice cooker. Then add 3 L of water and a bowl of cooked rice.

 

 

  • Press the warming function of the rice cooker and leave it for 4-8 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Once there are a few grains of rice floating on top, it’s ready for the next step. Almost there!!

 

 

 

  • Transfer the liquid into a pot and add 3/4 cup of brown sugar and boil for 10 minutes.

 

 

  • Scoop off all the brown bubbles on top.

 

  • Remove the pot from the stove and let it cool down. Put it in a container in the fridge to be chilled. It’s best to be served cold.

 

 

Well, it took two days to make and I ran out patient waiting to try it so I added a few ice cubes to cool it down.  It was almost as good as my mum’s but it needed to be a lot colder. Back to the fridge!

 

 

 

Once it was ready, I couldn’t wait for my girlfriend to try. She said it was as good as her mum’s. What a relief!!

 

 

My husband and I have been enjoying this drink all last week and it really took me back to my childhood. How funny that some food brings out stronger memory than others. What dish reminds you of your childhood? 🙂

 

3 seconds of fame on Razor TV

My 3 seconds of fame on Razor TV… I was giving Korean cooking demonstration on Bibimbap and Ddubokyi over at Bukit Panjang Korean food festival and a few glimpses of me was captured… Well, that’s a start of being a star, right? ^-^

Simply Her September issue

Simply Her September issue

I was very excited to be invited to contribute a recipe in the September issue of Simply Her magazine. My first magazine interview and photo session!  Now I know how the photo shoots are done in magazines.

 

Don’t move…

 

Let’s move this to here and then this over there….

>So now waiting begins….

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A month later, here are the photos and the recipe. They look fantastic, don’t they?

 

 

 

My recipe is in the Home and Kids Cooking class section (page 156).  5 minutes of fame!  ^_^

Waiter! there is a bug in my food…

Waiter! there is a bug in my food…

When I was walking around Gwang jang market (refer to my last post here), I came across some Korean food I haven’t seen for many many years. Beondegi (번데기)!

Believe it or not, this used to be my favorite street snack when I was young. Nowadays, you just don’t see street vendors selling it any more.

 

 

So what are beondegi….? I didn’t even know until I looked up the translation in English. I was in horror. I always thought they looked a little suspicious and in the back of my mind I knew they were some sort of little creatures but I refused to admit it because they tasted so good. Now I know what they are I don’t think I can ever eat them again….   🙁

 

According to my research, beondegi are  silkworm pupae.  Yes, Silkworm!!!   I always thought Koreans didn’t eat insects but I guess I am wrong.

So what do they taste like? It’s hard to describe in one word… It’s nutty and neither soft nor crunchy. I can’t compare with any other food. The ones in the pictures are not cooked so you can either steam or boil with some salt and eat them as a snack. They are known to be high in protein and a lot of people eat them when they are drinking alcohol.

 

You can also buy these little creatures in a can already cooked and seasoned.

  • Stew style canned beondegi for 1900 won (approx S$2)

 

 

  • Seasoned beondegi 760won (less than S$1)

 

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen these in Singapore supermarkets so you can’t rush out and buy them to try. If you are heading to Korea or know someone going to Korea, you can always ask them to get you a can if you are brave enough to try!

 

 

Trip to Korea – Korean breakfast

Trip to Korea – Korean breakfast

While I was in Korea last week, I ate as if it was my last meal and my family fed me like I was never going to eat again. Here are some of the pictures of my breakfast prepared for me.

So you can see what real Koreans usually eat for breakfast. Rice, Korean miso soup, lotus root in soy sauce, stir fried oyster mushroom, stir fried eggplant, steamed broccoli and pickled green chillis. Some of the side dishes you will see in every Korean household. Yes, I forgot to mention the centre plate is chilli crab. Yes, chilli crab for breakfast!! I must admit I love crab a lot so I could eat it everyday for dinner but not for breakfast at 8am.  There is a dish missing in this picture. Can you guess?  KIMCHI!    I just couldn’t bring myself to eat kimchi for breakfast.

Yes, you are looking at blue swimmer crab cooked in chilli sauce. I had this for two days in a row for breakfast because there was so much of it. I thought I was going to get sick eating such heavy food but I was fine, just very uncomfortable….  I had sleepless nights from too much food in my stomach! Seriously…

Korean miso soup (den jang jji ge). Commonly served for  breakfast or lunch or dinner.

Lotus roots cooked in soy sauce

Stir fried eggplants

Stir fried oyster mushroom

You might wonder how these Korean family have this type of meals every day. Well, the trick is to make a lot on the weekend and eat during the week.  By cooking one or tw0 dishes only for the meal, it still feels like you have an amazing meal.

This breakfast table is not as heavy as previous one. After much complaining, my family started preparing smaller breakfasts. Check out the two fish – both of which I had to finish!! 🙁

Despite all my complaints about the breakfast, it was great to have a hot meal prepared by my mum. Thank you!!!  ❤

Dear readers, what do you usually have for breakfast? I know some readers in Singapore  eat noodles or pork buns for breakfast but still not as heavy a meal like Koreans.  Do you also have breakfast as interesting as this?  I would love to hear from you! 🙂