how to make handmade noodle soup -kalguksu-칼국수

how to make handmade noodle soup -kalguksu-칼국수

Another exciting class at Korean Tourism in Singapore last Friday! I was very ambitious and decided to prepare some dough for my students to hand cut noodles. We are making kal-guk-su(칼국수 – handmade noodle soup).

 

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Guess what happened when I took them to the class?

making Korean handmade noodle soup1
rolling the dough

 

All stuck together!!! 🙁

making Korean handmade noodle soup2

 

We didn’t have any rolling pins so we were creative with our noodles and it was so much fun~

making Korean handmade noodle soup3

 

making Korean handmade noodle soup4

 

At the end of the class, we had delicious noodle soup and everyone was happy!! handmade Korean noodle soup1

 

handmade Korean noodle soup2

 

handmade Korean noodle soup4

Korean handmade noodle soup
boiling…. waiting…

 

Korean handmade noodle soup
Finally!

 

This is actually one of my favourite dish to eat in Korea. Check out my previous post on kalguksu

Happy cooking everyone!

 

Fried Anchovy recipe

Fried Anchovy recipe

Surprisingly, I have had a lot of requests from people asking for this fried anchovy recipe (Myulchi bokum-멸치볶음).  It’s one of the easiest dish to make and most Koreans will normally have this as one of  the side dishes with a meal.

I grew up with this dish.  I was told it has a lot calcium which is good for growing bones. There are many different sizes of anchovies. Small ones are used for frying and served as a side dish and big ones can be fried in chilli but generally it is used for making stocks.

I strongly recommend that you buy the anchovies from one your nearest Korean supermarkets. The local ones you buy in Singapore are much more salty and not as fresh.

How to make fried anchovy:

  • 150g small dried anchovies
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tuna extract sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 1 long green chilly, sliced thinly (optional)

Direction:

  • Pour 2 tbsp of oil on to a frypan on a medium heat
  • Once the oil is heated up, add the anchovies and fry them until they are light brown
  • Add a tbsp of soy sauce and 1/2 tbsp of brown sugar and mix until they are combined. I use tuna extract for a better flavour
  • If you want to include the chilli, stir fry it  with the anchovy.
  • Add the 2 tbsp of corn syrup and mix until it is all dissolved. The corn syrup will make the anchovy crispy. If you don’t like it crispy, you can skip this step and just season with soy sauce and brown sugar

 

  • Sprinkle some of the sesame seeds and its ready to be served!
  • Before the anchovies becomes too crispy, put them in a container. Once it is cooled down. Keep it in the fridge.
    Time to taste the dish!  Yum yum…..

 

Next Friday, I am off to visit friends and family in Korea. I will try to get various size of anchovies so I can show a few other fried anchovy recipes.
Have a great weekend!

 

Time for a face lift

Time for a face lift

I am excited to announce that the Nicky’s Kitchen blog site has received a new face lift. It’s been two and half years since I started blogging and having my home page decorated with all the beautiful photos I have taken during that time makes me proud.

Lots has happened since my last blog.  The year has been filled with classes, corporate events and being asked to judge the first Korean cooking competition in Singapore sponsored by Korean Tourism Oraganisation.

There is also another big change coming up in the next few months and I will be making an announcement soon!

In the mean time, check out some photos from my latest event at  Annyeong Seoul Festival two weeks ago. I demonstrate cooking seafood pancakes, chilli rice cakes, japche and bulgogi over two day. At the end the food was shared with the entire audience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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? 🙂

 

Korean traditional tea – Su Jung Gwa

Korean traditional tea – Su Jung Gwa

I had some friends over who had a major craving for Korean food. We had a lovely Korean BBQ pork and wagyu beef on my hot grill and to finish off the dinner, I served a traditional Korean tea called Su Jung Gwa (수정과).  I normally cook a western dessert when I have dinner parties but this time I decided to give this dish a go as I always thought this tea seemed hard to make. The good thing about this is you can make it in advance so you have more time to prepare other dishes on  the day of the party.

Su Jung Gwa is made with cinnamon and ginger and  served with dried persimmon (곶감). If you are lucky, some restaurants will serve this tea at the end of your meal only without the dried persimmon(too expensive).  Depending on the season it can be served hot or cold. My mum gave me a bag of dried persimmon when I was in Korea and it’s been sitting in the fridge for a month. It’s too dry to eat so it was perfect for my Su Jung Gwa.

 

 

 

Just a quick note on dried persimmon for those of you have never seen or tasted.  As you can see in the picture below, it’s not easily recognizable. I also always thought the fruit is just air dried but the skin of the fruit has actually been peeled before being air dried for a least a couple of weeks.  Persimmons are in season in Autumn in Korea. In order to enjoy the fruit for throughout winter we dry them in this manner. I also prefer the dried ones instead of fresh because they are sweeter.

I am tempted to dry the persimmon and make them myself but according to my research, it might be too humid in this Singapore weather.

 

 

Well, this is a dish I have never even tempted to make as the flavor seems so complex but believe it or not, this is  the easiest Korean dessert ever!

How to make Su Jung Gwa:

Ingredients – 12 cups of water, 50g cinnamon sticks, 50g fresh ginger, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of honey, dried persimmon and some pine nuts

  • Wash and clean the cinnamon sticks and ginger.

 

  • Peel the skin of the ginger and slice them thinly.
  • Add 6 cups of water with the cinnamon sticks in a pot and boil on a high heat for 10 minutes and then reduce to low for another 20 minutes
  • Repeat for ginger
  • Strain both ginger and cinnamon separately

 

 

  • Mix the strained water in a pot. Add the sugar and honey and boil on a high heat for another 5 minutes before letting it cool down
  • While the tea is cooling down, cut the dried persimmon into bite sizes and soak them in the tea over night in the fridge

 

 

 

  • Serve the tea in a cup or bowl with the dried persimmon and garnish with a few pine nuts

 

How easy was that??   I LOOOVE dried persimmon so mine had a whole fruit while everyone else had a half the fruit. 🙂

 

 

Check out my persimmon! It’s glossy and soft…. It was so delicious.

 

One more dish I have conquered! Have a great week everyone!

Food glorious Korean food!

Food glorious Korean food!

I have reached rock bottom this week.  It’s been a month since I came back from Korea and my craving for all the wonderful Korean food I had  in Seoul is uncontrollable. Maybe too much of a good thing in one week wasn’t such a good idea?

Here are some of the dishes that I enjoyed during my trip. I think I had about 4-5 meals a day so I could get through my wish list.

 

  • Seafood stew – literal translation is steamed seafood (hemul jjim-해물찜) but it seemed like everything is called steamed and followed by fried rice with the left overs. Looks spicy, right? Well, it was damn spicy!!  Believe it or not, I had this for lunch and a few shots of soju (Korean rice wine)… yes, drinking during lunch time.  Nap time!!

 

 

 

 

  • I had oyster omelets for supper… and more drinking! I caught up with my primary school teacher and had a feast of BBQ pork. That was followed by supper with my relatives at 11pm. Yet more soju… bring it on!!  This was the best oyster omelet I had in my life…. Lightly fried with egg batter and a soy sauce dip. Yummy!

 

 

 

 

  • The next two dishes were interesting. Pork belly and pork ribs on a hot plate. This was a tiny restaurant near my parents place and it was packed. It was a rainy and miserable evening and the BBQ was perfect for the night.  Check out the fat on this pork belly….

 

 

  • Yes we grill everything including kimchi!

 

  • These pork ribs were so lean and tender. Hardly any spice on them yet still a wonderful aroma.

 

 

 

  • The next dish was from a restaurant next door. My aunt loves this dish so much she always order it while eating the BBQ pork belly and ribs. Chicken feet in chilly sauce. All the bones are removed. They were very crunchy.

 

 

  • What I crave the most on a day like this (rainy and cool) is kal guk su (handmade noodle soup). This particular one was made with ox tail stock. Normally the stock is made with either anchovies or clams. I think what made this special was their homemade kimchi and the soy sauce they added to the noodle.

 

 

After looking at these photos again, I think I will have to do something about my cravings… What to cook, what to cook….??

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!