Bangkok Farmers Market food tasting

Bangkok Farmers Market food tasting

Six years ago I tagged along to see a fortune teller with my brother in Seoul. It was just for fun but it was quite amazing how the fortune teller told me so much about myself just by my name, date of birth and my face. One of the distinct points she mentioned was not to go into the food business. But my passion for food and sharing my skills with other people won over and I ignored her advice and started Nicky’s Kitchen cooking school.

My next mile stone is about to occur this weekend at the Bangkok Farmers market at K-Village. I will be cooking a variety of Korean dishes to sell. Before the real deal though, I decided to do a test run and invited a few friends for a tasting session.

We set up a pretend stall to see what it would be like. Below are my two lovely assistants who will be helping this weekend! 

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Seafood pancake and home made kimchi for tasting!

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Cooking two Seafood pancakes at once!

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Korean sweet pancake – aka hodduk was very popular!

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Tasting time… these are delicious!!

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If you are in Bangkok, we hope to see you this weekend!

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In Korean….

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Recipe: Pollock Soup

Recipe: Pollock Soup

I promised to post dried pollock soup (북어국 – book e guk ) in this blog recently and one of my readers reminded me a few days ago…. Thanks for the reminder!!! I am still in Sydney and winter is approaching… I think it’s a perfect weather for soup!!  Let’s begin….

 

Dried Pollock soup

(serves 4 people)

  • 40g Dried Pollock pieces
  • ½ packet of tofu, sliced in 1cm thickness
  • 1 spring onion, sliced diagonally
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 5 cups of  Water
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • ¼ Korean radish, slice thinly
  • 2 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • salt and white pepper to season

Before we begin, just a little note about the pollock. I never thought twice about this fish until I moved to Singapore and discovered just how difficult it is to source this type of fish. When my family first moved to Sydney we often had pollock dishes as there were many good quality Korean groceries. It was easy to get hold of various types of pollock either fresh or frozen. Koreans use fresh, frozen and dried pollock in various dishes. Fresh and frozen ones are usually used for stews (동태찌개) and dried ones are for soup or fried. For those who have never seen this fish, check this link.

 

황태채

자른 황태

 

  • Soak the dried pollock in water for 30minutes and then drain.
 I found another type of pollock  in my pantry and decide to use a few pieces of it in the soup (refer to the picture below). Extra pollock like these chunks really enhance the stock flavour. Soak these chunky ones in a bowl as well.     

    

ingredients

 

무

  •  On a medium heat, pour the sesame oil in a pot and fry the pollock and chopped garlic. Season them with soy sauce and fish sauce.
  • Add the radish and continue to fry all ingredients together.
  • Pour 5 cups of water and boil on medium to high heat for 10-15 minutes. You can also add Korean soy bean sprouts at this point.

  • Add the beaten egg and sliced tofu to the soup and cook for another 2 minutes. I am not a big fan of tofu so I skipped it this time.


 

북어국 in a pot

 

  •  As a final touch, season the soup with salt and pepper and add sliced spring onion
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  • Serve the soup either in individual bowls with hot cooked rice or simply place the whole pot on the table for everyone to share.
 


 

북어국

 

Doesn’t the soup look flavoursome and homely? I am heading out to a Korean grocery to grab ingredients for tonight’s dinner! Enjoy….

 

Eating my way through the streets of Seoul III

Eating my way through the streets of Seoul III

You may remember my giant steam bun(hobbang) from my previous blog. The bun which was as big as my face?

 

hobbang

 

We arrived to have hobbang for lunch at this famous cafe near Gwanghwamun area in Seoul but realised they were only available from 2pm.  While we waited, we decided to try another famous dish, Chilli rice cake (dduk bok yi -떡뽁이).  The best part was that we get to cook it on our  table. This is called instant dduk bok yi(즉석 떡볶이). You can also add extra ingredients such as instant noodles, vermicelli, fish cake or chewy noodles . Instead of ordering our usual ddukbokyi, my friends suggested pizza dduk bok yi. What the??

menu

 

 

As you can see below, we ordered the extra chewy noodle on top, only S$1.70!

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Doesn’t this look spicy and delicious?   It was starting to get chilli outside and this was just perfect dish to warm us up. And then final ingredient arrived…

rice cake cooking

 

 

Mozzarella cheese was sprinkled on top as our final step.  We now have pizza dduk bok yi!

cheese piza

 

 

Cheese on top of  dduk bok yi wasn’t my thing. It just didn’t seemed to go together, but my friends loved it. I picked around the cheese as you can see below.

rice cake

 

 

As I am writing this I have a sudden craving for dduk bok yi right now… I might have to head out to Korea Town to see if I can find decent cafe or restaurant.  Hungry!!! 🙁   I tend to gain 2-3 kg while I am in Seoul for a week. The reason is there is breakfast, morning tea, lunch, snack and then dinner and supper and repeat for a week!

 

While we were waiting for hobbang to be ready, we stopped by a Coco Bruni cafe nearby and had some lovely cakes and teas… The cafe is a chain so you will be able to find it in many locations in Seoul.

Coco Bruni

 

 

The cakes were so delicately made and melted in our mouth so smoothly. Such a different texture and taste to what we just had…

cakes

 

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Now back to hobbang. This is the man behind this wonderful hobbang. He was making them earlier and waiting for them to rise and now he is steaming them.

 

hobbang man

 

 

Finally, they are ready. I have been waiting for these for 3 hours!!

hobbang

 

 

We ordered 3 buns with 3 different fillings. I think the owner thought we were 3 little piggies….  The first one is with red bean paste filling. This is my favourite but today it seemed too much red bean paste. The second one is with cooked sweet potato filling and this was new, not bad at all. The third one is mixed vegetable with pork. A bit like Chinese dumpling except it’s a giant bun. Out of 3, the one with vegetables and pork was the best. I noticed a lot of people of taking them back to the office or home.

red bean hobbang

 

hobbang with sweet potatoe

 

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This cafe is not hard to find but if you are not familiar with the area, it might not be easy. I would recommend your hotel to call the cafe and write down the direction.  Remember, the buns are not ready before  2-3pm in the afternoon. Have ddukbokyi as your main and hobbang to take away to your hotel. One side of the cafe is called Bbang Hana palgu and the other side is called Sanhane cafe. Strange…

 

Cafe name: Bbang Hana pal gu  (translation –  selling one bun)  Tel: +82-2-756-0189

빵하나 팔구

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: happy birthday to me

Recipe: happy birthday to me

It was my birthday recently and my first one in Bangkok. Normally I would start with a lunch celebration followed by afternoon tea with friends in Singapore but I felt a bit alone. We moved here 3 months ago and my new friends here were all away. On top of that, my husband was having lunch with a work colleague. At least he was taking me out for dinner.

When I was about 10 years old, my family forgot that it was my birthday. I was still in Korea at the time and I was supposed to have seaweed soup (미역국 -mi yeok guk) with my breakfast. It’s a Korean tradition. But this time….no seaweed soup…I remember it was quite traumatic. Now I make sure to make my own seaweed soup every year.

It’s a tradition to have seaweed soup on birthdays in Korea. When women give birth, they are given the seaweed soup with mussels to encourage fast recovery. Apparently the best seaweed is meant to be purchased and you must never ask for a discount as this can bring bad luck. Interesting…

You can either have beef or mussel seaweed soup. I like mussel better than beef seaweed soup but today all I could find was frozen mussels in Bangkok. My future mission is to find a fresh mussel supplier in Bangkok!

Unlike other Korean soup which can take hours to braise, this soup only takes about 30 minutes.

 

미역국 - seaweed soup

Beef Seaweed Soup – 미역국

Serves 2 people

  • 10g dried seaweed (different to tossed seaweed – see picture below) or 100g dried mussels(100g)
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 100 g beef for soup (I used chuck steak)
  • some salt for seasoning
  • 5 cups of water

 

Dry seaweed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dried mussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soak the seaweed in warm water for 10 minutes.

soaking the seaweed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wash the seaweed in cold water and cut them to around 5cm lengths. Drain all the water from the seaweed and set aside.

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Chop the peeled garlic and mince it finely. Trim the fat from the beef and slice into 2 cm lengths.

Beef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a medium pot, add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and fry the garlic on medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the seaweed to the pot and fry for about 5 minutes. Finally, add the beef and fry until it is cooked.

seaweed with beef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add 4 cups of water and boil for a few minutes and then simmer for a further 20 minutes. Add another cup of water to enhance the flavour. Season with salt and soy sauce to your taste.

soup boiling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serve it with steamed rice and any of your favourite side dishes.

미역국 - seaweed soup

Korean Radish two ways

Korean Radish two ways

I found this amazing company in Bangkok that home delivers fresh organic vegetables and fruits. It is called CSA Munching Box by Raitong Organics Farm.

After reading through weeks of their facebook posts, I couldn’t help myself but to subscribe to their munching box.  A 4kg box full of organic vegetables and fruits gets delivered to your door step every week. The exciting thing is that it’s contents is based on what’s produced seasonally and locally in Thailand.  Apparently, you are supposed to consume vegetables and fruits 4 hours after it’s been picked in order to enjoy the optimal taste and nutrients. I think this box is as close I am going to get unless I have my little farm growing vegetables and fruit myself.

I was like a kid opening my first box of goodies when our first box arrived. Who wouldn’t you when you see them…?? They were so fresh and crisp!

CSA munching box

 

My favourite of all were the fresh carrots. We munched away on them raw and they were delicious! We then moved on to passion fruit and rose apples. So sweet!

carrots

 

Since the box’s arrival, our meals have been based on all the vegetables from the box. Last night’s dinner was radish done two ways in Korean style. Koreans use a lot of radish in our dishes, mostly stews and soups!  I prepared dried Pollack soup and hair tail fish with radish in soy sauce  to help cure my cold. I will post the recipes in the next few weeks, I promise! 

 

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The box included Amaranth which I have never used before. Luckily the CSA guys provided a recipe and my first attempt trying these colourful leaves was a success.

amaranth

 

I will write more on CSA Munching Box by Raitong Organics Farm in few weeks. I can’t wait to see what is in my box next week!!  Stay tuned! 🙂

Weekend cooking-chocolate tart

Weekend cooking-chocolate tart

Besides cooking Korean food, I love making dessert! I used to make many different kinds of desserts but my husband started to complained that his waistline was expanding, so I only indulge now and then.

I had a dinner party over the weekend and decided to try a new recipe from one of my favourite dessert cookbook “Bourke Street Bakery“. The bakery is a tiny shop in Surry Hills, Sydney that has become very famous. They now have queues of people down the road waiting in line to buy their cakes and bread.

Attempting to make sweet short crust pastry in this Singapore weather was a big challenge as the dough just kept melting as I rolling it out but I managed to pull it all together at the end. As soon as it started to fall apart, I put the dough back in the fridge. I kept doing this several times. It took much longer than normal, but the pastry turned out perfect.

 

Have a great week!

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**

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking competition

Cooking competition

I was asked by Korean Tourism to be a judge for a Korean cooking competition earlier in the year. The first prize was two return tickets to Korea!!  I wish I could enter.. 😉

The two day event involved a lot of preparation. There were many terms and conditions we had to consider and lots of questions from contestants regarding ingredients they could use. The first preliminary round involved making Korean pancake(파전) and Korean BBQ beef (불고기).

Despite all the hard preparation, it was really fun event. It was great watching all the contestants working so hard to cook delicious dishes. The best part was having to taste all the dishes!!

 

 

The aim of this competition was not only to cook authentic Korean dishes but also to be creative. I was proud to see a few male participants who were showing off their culinary skills.  Another competency that was judged was the cleanliness of each participants’ workstation.  Here is a photo of the judges walking around and assessing each workstation.

 

 

Each dish had to be created in one hour. It sounds like a lot of time, but when you are cooking in an unfamiliar environment, this can be quite scary and stressful.

 

  • 1st round – pancakes (파전)

 

 

 

  • 2nd round: Korean BBQ beef (불고기)

This contestant was one of my favourites. He was a young University student who had the creativity as well as culinary skills.

 

This contestant made chilli bulgogi. Not quite what the judges were expecting but tasty nonetheless.

 

Bulgogi in  wraps – very original!!

 

Nicely decorated… Bulgogi in capsicum cups

 

This contestant definitely knew what she was doing.

 

And the four finalists were….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The final round was any dish that included kimchi. And the winner is….

This winner went to a Korean restaurant the night before the final competition and tasted all the Korean kimchi dishes and came up with her own Korean pork dish.

Well done everyone!!