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Archive for the ‘Korean Food’ Category

I said I was going to post up the Galbi episode of “Best cooking recipes” but I couldn’t resist posting up the one for budae jjigae aka Army stew.  Its freaking delicious but considered a “low class” food because of its origins.  During the Korea war, the majority of Korean citizens were hungry and starving.  When the American troops entered the country, they brought with them their army rations which included canned meats and beans.  The Americans would give them out to the Koreans who then used it to develop this stew.  It’s Korea’s first fusion food.  Puah.

In the past few years the stew has found a renewed popularity.  While you couldn’t find this stew in many Korean restaurants, I’ve noticed it popping up on several menus over the past few years.  I had this stew two weeks ago with a side of alcohol and nothing goes better with soju than a spicy hot stew like budae jigae.


100 grams  of Kimchi
1/2 can of Spam
3 hot dogs
1/2 can of baked beans
50 grams of ground beef
1/4 block of tofu
1/4 onion
One stalk of green onion
50 grams of 쑥갓  (optional)
1 slice of american cheese


5 cups of water
1 sheet of dashima (kelp)
100 grams of Korean radish
6 anchovies


Prepare the ingredients:  Cut the green onion into small diagonal pieces

cut the onions into long pieces

Cut the tofu into smaller rectangular pieces

Cut the hot dogs on a bias

Cut the SPAM into approximately the same size as the tofu

Cut the kimchi into smaller pieces.  Note that you don’t want to use too much kimchi in this stew even if you really like kimchi because you’re making army stew not kimchi jiggae.

Once the ingredients are prepped, you want to make the broth.  Take the kelp and make a few cuts on the bottom in order to release the flavor.

Then take the anchovies and remove the intestines to get rid of the bitter taste.  I personally never do this because I don’ t think there is any real bitterness that shows especially in a stew like this.  I would remove the intestines if I was making a broth for something a bit more subtle in flavor.  But whatever floats your boat.

Finally roughly chop up the Korean radish.

Once prepared, add the water, radish, kelp and anchovies to a pot and let it boil.  Once it rapidly boils, remove the kelp and continue to let the broth boil for another 10 minutes.  Once cooked, strain the broth.

Now to create the seasoning:

Add the following to a bowl and mix:

1 TBS Soy Sauce
2 TBS hot pepper powder
1 TBS minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 TBS rice wine
Pinch of pepper

Take a wide pan and place your hot dogs, spam and veggies around the rim of the pan.  Add the beans and ground meat into the middle and top it with the seasoning.

Once everything is placed in the pot, add the broth and let it cook for 5-10 minutes.  I watched a special on tv and the guy said 7 minutes is the perfect amount of time but I personally would wait until I noticed everything was throughly cooked.

Once cooked, you can add the 쑥갓, cheese and ramen which are all optional.  Its ready to eat with a side of rice, or personally a side of cold cold beer.  mmmm beer.  By the way, besides the stock and seasoning, the ingredients for this stew is readily interchangeable.  I think the only three things you really need are the hot dogs, SPAM and kimchi.  You can add mushrooms, use rigatoni instead of ramen, etc.  I’ve seen so many variations but there’s always those three things.  If anything, I would add the ramen as a necessity.  Make sure to add the ramen at the end or the flour in the ramen will overcook and you’ll have a nasty congealed mess.

Here’s the video of the chef who says its 7 minutes.  He uses what looks like beef bones to make his stock which probably taste 100 times better than using anchovies.  mmmm.

So I finally made yook gae jang based on the recipe I posted up and it was delicious.  I didn’t have mung beans or gosari so I replaced it with just soy beans but it was still freaking good.

Although I have to say I added a few hot peppers, a bit of dashida (dried beef stock because the stock I made was a bit on the weak side), and cooked the final product for an hour.  Would I do it again?  Yes as my mom loved it so much she made me make another batch to take to work after dinner.  Except this time she showed me how people in the south make yook gae jang which included adding a spoonful of soybean paste.

I’m going to make something else from Best Cooking Recipes show now because everything they said about yook gae jang was on point.

There’s a Korean cooking show called “Best Cooking” and this episode shows us how to made Yook Gae Jang, a spicy beef soup eaten with rice and side dishes.  *Spoiler* In the movie Le Grand Chef, the main character was a talented chef who left the profession after almost killing a group of diners with his food.  Years later, he enters a cooking competition in order to beat his rival, a famous celebrity chef.  After several rounds, the last challenge is to cook something for a descendant of royalty.  While the celebrity chef goes all out making something out of Gourmet Magazine, our hero cooks a humble bowl of yook gae jang and wins the entire competition.*


For the stock:

300 grams of beef brisket
3 stalks of green onion
10 cloves of garlic
10 cups of water

Seasoning for the beef:

1 & 1/2 TBL Red Pepper Powder
1 TBL minced garlic
1 & 1/2 TBL sesame seed oil
Pinch of black pepper

The vegetables:

100 grams of cooked braken (fern stems)
100 grams of mung beans
1 stalk of chopped green onions

Seasoning for the soup: 

1 & 1/2 TBL Red Pepper Powder
1 & 1/2 TBL sesame seed oil
1 tsp bean paste
3 TBL soy sauce
Pinch of salt


Before you start cooking, you have to drain the blood from the meat by soaking it in cold water for an hour.  This removes much of the distinct smell that meat has and produces a cleaner broth.  To make the broth add the 10 cups of water, the meat, the three stalks of green onion and the 10 cloves of garlic in a pot on high heat.  Once it boils, lower the heat to medium low and let it simmer for an additional 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes remove meat and let it cool before shredding it into pieces.  While you can use a knife almost every Korean mom I’ve seen make this uses her hands to shred the meat.  Once shredded, the meat needs to be seasoned.  Take the 1 & 1/2 TSP of red pepper, 1 TSP of minced garlic, 1 & 1/2 TSP of sesame seed oil, a pinch of pepper and mix well.

Then prepare the braken called “gosari” in Korean and the mung beans.   If you have dried braken, it must soak in water over night and then cook it for an hour.  However, many Korean markets now sell prepackaged braken which you can slightly blanch in hot water.  Once cooked, cut the braken into smaller bite sized pieces.

The mung beans, like soy beans have a odor and therefore should also be blanched in water for 10 seconds.

Once the ingredients are all prepared, place a pot on medium and add 1 & 1/2 TBL sesame seed oil and 1 & 1/2 TBL red pepper powder.  Stir the pepper into the oil and once the oil begins to rapidly bubble add your stock (make sure to remove the green onions and garlic before you do this).

Add the seasoned meat, the braken, mung beans and the chopped green onion.  Also add the 3 TBS soy sauce, 1 TBS of minced garlic and a pinch of salt.  *Here the cook adds 1 teaspoon of bean paste which I’ve never seen anyone do.  She says its her grandmother’s secret and that it gives a depth of flavor.  So do as you will with this little secret.*  Once everything is added let it boil and its ready to eat.

One of the most fundamental Korean foods besides rice and kimchi is 된장찌개 (aka Daeng Jang Jiggae aka Soybean paste stew).  It is also one of the only korean foods I can make that is edible.  Here’s what I do:

I take my stone jiggae pot and add some water, a handful of anchovies, and let it come to a boil.

After the water is infused with fish stock flavor, I scoop them out of the water and put in sliced onions and diced potatoes.

Then I put in two spoonfuls of soybean paste.  Now soybean paste deserves its own paragraph.   I can’t eat the packaged kind.  Actually, i’m lying.  I would eat it off the floor.  I should say the packaged soybean paste lacks the flavor profile of the home made kind.  My mom washes, cooks and grinds the beans, then salts it, adds the other ingredients and lets it ferment.  The major advantage of having my mom made-paste is that it doesn’t smell.  The smelly kind actually has more nutritional value but my dad is really sensitive to smell so she developed a way to make it odorless.

So after the paste is added, I just wait like 5-10 minutes depending on how much I care about the potatoes being done and add my tofu.  I usually also add zucchini but I only had mushrooms so mushrooms it is.  I also added a dash of red pepper powder and dashida (beef stock) just to mix it up.

Then i just let it bubble.  My favorite thing about Korean stews is how it bubbles.  The sound, the smell, the colors make me happy.  I can’t describe it in words but thank god youtube is here to show you the final product:

Eat with rice, and kimchi.  Napa cabbage is used in the making of traditional kimchi and is best picked in the winter.  There is no more traditional kimchi until the family 김장 aka kimchi making palooza.   Therefore I ate my jiggae with freshly made 파김치 (green onion kimchi) and 깍두기 (radish kimchi).

And then my mom told me all the things wrong with my stew.  I forgot to add some stuff but I tuned it out.  Lady  is always raining on my jiggae parade.