South Korea is located in the continent of Asia. It has North Korea to the north, the East Sea (Sea of Japan) to the east, Japan to the southeast, and the Yellow Sea to the west.
The capital is Seoul.
The official language is Korean.
The climate has a hot and humid summer and a relatively dry and cold winter. Their staples are rice, vegetables, fish, chicken, pork, beef, kimch’i (fermented cabbage, cucumber, white radish’s and many more), tofu, garlic, ginger, red pepper powder and paste.
BIBIMBAP (비빔밥) (https://www.loveandlemons.com/bibimbap-recipe/):
- ½ English cucumber, thinly sliced
- ½ tsp rice vinegar
- 1-1/4 tsp sesame oil, divided
- 1 C fresh bean sprouts
- 1 C shredded carrots
- 4 C baby spinach
- ½ tsp tamari
- 2 C cooked short-grain white rice
- 2 fried eggs, or 1 C cubed baked tofu
- 4 oz sautéed shiitake mushrooms
- Gochujang to taste (red pepper paste)
- Sesame seeds
- Sea salt
- Kimch’I (pickled vegetables. Too many to name)
- Chopped scallions for serving
- In a small bowl, toss the cucumber slices with rice vinegar, ¼ tsp sesame oil and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Drop in the bean sprouts and cook for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
- Heat ½ tsp sesame oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes until a little bit soft, and then remove from the pan and set aside. Heat ½ tsp more of sesame oil in the skillet and add the spinach ad tamari. Cook, tossing for 30 seconds or until just wilted. Remove from the skillet and gently squeeze out any excess water from the spinach.
- Assemble the bowls with the rice, cucumber slices, bean sprouts, carrots, and spinach. Top with a fried egg or baked tofu. Add the mushrooms, if using. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle generously with the gochujang sauce. Serve with kimchi’ and scallion, if desired, and the remaining gochujang sauce on the side.
CLASSIC CABBAGE KIMCH’I (배추 김치) (The Food and Cooking of Korea by Song Young-Jin. This book is available from Amazon):
- 1 head Chinese leaves (Chinese cabbage), about 4-1/2 lb
For the marinade:
- ¼ C coarse sea salt
- 5 TBSP water
- 2 TBSP table salt
For the seasoning:
- 2 oysters (optional)
- ½ Chinese white radish, about 1-1/4 lb peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 oz Korean chives
- 1 oz minari, watercress or rocket (arugula)
- 5 garlic cloves
- ½ oz fresh ginger root, peeled
- ½ onion
- ½ Asian pear, or ½ kiwi fruit
- 1 chestnut, sliced
- 3 spring onion (scallions), sliced
- ¼ C Korea chili powder
- ½ C Thai fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 red chili, sliced
- Make a deep cut across the base of the head of Chinese leaves and split it in two. Repeat this with the two halves, splitting them into quarters. Then place the quartered head in a bowl and cover it with water, adding ½ TBSP salt. Leave the quarters to soak for around 2 hours.
- Drain the cabbage and sprinkle with the sea salt for the marinade, making sure to coat between the leaves. Leave to stand for 4 hours.
- Hold an oyster with the rounded shell up. Push the tip of a short-bladed knife into the hinge and twist to prise (pry) the shell open.
- Cut the muscles of the oyster inside. Run the blade between the shells to open them. Cut the oyster away from the flat shell. Repeat with the other oyster, Season with a pinch of salt.
- Cut the radish slices into fine strips. Cut the chives and minari, watercress or rocket into 2” lengths. Finely chop the garlic, ginger, onion and Asian pear or kiwi fruit. Combine the seasoning ingredients with ½ C water.
- Rinse the softened quarters of Chinese leave in cold running water. Place in a large bowl and coat with the seasoning mixture, ensuring that the mixture gets between the leaves and that no leaf is left uncovered.
- The outermost leaf of each quarter of cabbage will have softened. This can be wrapped tightly around the other leaves to help the seasoning permeate throughout the whole.
- Place the Chinese leaves in an airtight container. Leave to stand at room temperature for 5 hours, then leave in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
CUCUMBER KIMCH’I (오이 김치):
- 1-2 English cucumbers (depending on how much you want to make. This will make roughly 3-4 Mason pint size, or two mason quart size).
- 2 TBSP coarse sea salt (use as much salt as it takes to cover the cucumbers)
For the dressing:
- 2 green onions (scallions), finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed (I use also the garlic crushed paste)
- 1 tsp cider vinegar (or to taste)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp Korean Red Pepper Powder (Kochugalu) (depends on how hot you want it)
- toasted sesame seeds (to your taste or desire)
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- ½ – 1 tsp Korean Red Pepper Paste (Kochujang) (depends on how hot you want it)
- 1 tsp sugar
- Cut the cucumber into thin slices and put into a colander, and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt, mix well and leave for 30 minutes.
- While the cucumbers are soaking in the colander, in a large bowl, cut the spring onions, mix in the garlic cloves, cider vinegar, red pepper powder, sesame oil, rep pepper paste, and sugar.
- Mix well and taste to ensure you have as much of the taste as you want. Then cover and put in the refrigerator until the cucumbers are done.
- Once the time is up for the cucumbers, rinse them well, then little by little put a small amount into a good cloth towel and squeeze the excess water out of the cucumbers.
- I have the bowl of the dressing nearby so that once I have gotten the excess water out of the cucumbers, I drop them into my dressing.
- Once you have all the cucumbers complete and, in the dressing, mix them all together well.
- Now you can put the completed fully mixed cucumbers into the mason jars. I use wide mouth so it makes it easier.
- Do NOT fill to the top because the fermentation will begin, and the moisture level will rise a little.
- I then place the jars in the fridge because I like mine cold, but you can also leave them at room temperature for about 1 week. If you place them in the fridge, they last about a month (mine do not last that long because I eat them too quickly).
HO-TTEOK (호떡) (https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/hotteok):
- 2 C Flour
- 1 C Lukewarm Water
- 2 tsp Dry yeast
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- 1 TBSP Vegetable oil
- ½ C Turbinado sugar (or brown sugar)
- 2 TBSP Sugar
- 2 TBSP Walnuts
- 1 tsp Cinnamon powder
- Place lukewarm water into a mixing bowl.
- Add white sugar, yeast, salt, vegetable oil, and stir it well.
- Add all-purpose flour and mix it with a rice scoop, or by hand.
- Let the dough rise. It should sit with the lid closed at room temperature for 1 hour.
- After an hour the dough will rise to double its size. Knead it to remove the gas bubbles in the dough.
- Let it rise for another 10-20 minutes.
- Mix turbinado sugar, cinnamon powder, and chopped walnuts in a bowl. *tip: you could use mozzarella cheese for stuffing. Invent your own fillings with your favorite ingredients!
- Knead the dough again to remove the gas bubbles.
- Place and spread about ½ cup flour on your cutting board.
- Put the dough on your cutting board and knead it. Make it into a lump and cut it into 8 equal-sized balls.
- Take 1 dough ball, flatten it, put some filling in the center of the dough, and then seal it to make a ball.
- Repeat this 8 times to make 8 stuffed balls. *tip: Use some flour from the cutting board to prevent your fingers from sticking to the dough.
- Heat up your non-stick pan over medium heat and add some vegetable oil.
- Place 1 ball on the pan and let it cook for 30 seconds.
- When the bottom of the dough ball is light golden brown, turn it over and press the dough with a spatula to make a thin and wide circle (about the size of a CD).
- Let it cook about 1 minute until the bottom is golden brown.
- Turn it over again and turn down the heat very low.
- Place the lid on the pan and cook 1 more minute. The brown sugar filling mixture will be melted to syrup! Serve hot!