Seaweed Soup (mi yeok guk – 미역국) – AKA: Birthday Soup

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Here is my first post of a soup. If you’re turning a year older in Korea, this is what you’ll be eating. It’s a simple beef broth soup, perfect for a cold day or a chilly night. This isn’t a soup you’re going to wow the socks of your American friends with. I don’t mean to undersell it at this point. This is one of my favorite soup. It’s the flavor of home. I just mean that if you’re giving it to a person who’s diet normally consists of hot dogs and hamburgers, they may find it too simple–too slimy. But, if you have a Korean friend and you want to surprise them with some comfort food, this is the way straight to their heart. The first time I had it, I wasn’t impressed to be honest. But now I’m addicted. The beef, the garlic, the sesame…it’s all there surrounding the superfood that is seaweed! Eat up. Drink up.

Time:
  • Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Cooking Time:  30-45 minutes (including bringing to a boil)
  • Total Time: ~40-60 minutes
WARNING: For this recipe you may need a scale. It is is given in grams. For the seaweed, one-fifth of the package is a good estimate. For the rest, you can use this conversion. \
15g = 1 TBSP
Also…the pictures are all taken of a HUGE batch we made. 5 times as big as the recipe below.
Ingredients:
  • 10g cut seaweed (ja reun mi yeok – 자른미역)
  • 50g (0.1 lbs) of stew beef (sui go gi – 쇠고기)
  • 6g (about 1/2 TBSP) minced garlic (ma neul – 마늘)
  • 6g (about 1/2 TBSP)  Sesame oil (cham ki ruem –  참기름)
  • 23g (about 2 TBSP)  soy sauce (gan jang – 간장)
  • 4 cups water (mul – 물)
  • *OPTIONAL 1/2 TBSP perilla seed powder (deul kkae ga ru – 들깨가루)
For more information about ingredients please see my ingredient page for detailed information
Categories:
  • Soup (국)
  • Quick and Easy
  • Not Hot-At-All
  • Exotic Ingredients
  • On the cheap
  1. The seaweed should come in a container like this. Be sure to buy the cut kind. Otherwise you’ll end up with a bowl of never-ending seaweed
  2. Pour it out in a large bowl. It will expand to many times it’s size. They look small and cute now right?
  3. Fill the bowl most of the way full with water.
    seaweed 4
  4. Place the beef in a bowl and let it sit in the water for a few minutes (10-15) to let the blood soak out.
    seaweed 3
  5. Measure out your garlic, sesame oil, and soy sauce
    seaweed 5seaweed 6seaweed 7
  6. There you have it. All the ingredients! Simple right. The rest of the process is just as simple. At this point the seaweed should be swollen up. Big. Juicy looking.
    seaweed 8
  7. Not to the draining. You need to drain out both your beef and your seaweed. It’s a lot bigger that the first time we saw it isn’t it?
    seaweed 9
  8. Heat up a large pot and start putting your ingredients in one by one. Start with the sesame oil, then add the garlic, then the meat, the the seaweed. Do NOT add the soy sauce quite yet.
    seaweed 10
  9. Fry all these ingredients for 3 minutes. The smell here is amazing! I love the smell of roasting sesame oil. Then add the 4 cups of water.
    seaweed 11
  10. Bring it all to a boil. A big big boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes, then add the soy sauce
    seaweed 12
  11. Let it boil for another 10 minutes or so. It wouldn’t hurt for it to boil longer. At this point you could be finished…or, if you have it (and you should have it…this is one of my favorite newly-found ingredients) add the perilla powder. This is “sesame’s cousin.” It’s tastes a bit like a earthy sesame seed, but in this case, it adds a bit of creaminess to the soup. We bought this in Korea and brought it on the plane (Shhh…don’t tell) because we couldn’t find it here. But then last month it started showing up in the stores. Perhaps you can find it.
    seaweed 12a
  12. Here’s what our pot looked like. Notice the creamy texture. There’ll be a bit of oil on top. That’s okay. Eat it. It’s delicious!
    seaweed 13
  13. Eat up! Soup is served. Taste it and add salt or soy sauce to taste. It’ll be a tad bit bland at this point, and that it natural. You can add some salt or just let it sit longer to let the flavors come out. This soup tastes better the next day for sure. Just cover it and leave it on the stove over night (turned off of course). The next morning for breakfast, turn on the stove, bring it to a boil, and you will have a better-flavor-infused seaweed soup. Like most seaweed foods, it’s a pain to microwave. So don’t. Throw it on the stove and warm it up. This soup also freezes well. This is why we made a huge batch, break it up into serving-sized containers, throw it in the freezer (softly of course^^) and when you want the soup, drop it back in the pan and bring it to a boil.
    seaweed 1 & 14

Do you have comments? Suggestions? Questions? Leave them below and I will answer right away!~

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Simmered Burdock Root (oo eong cho rim – 우엉조림)

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This is one of my favorite banchan, and it’s a flavor that you will find in many places across the Korean cuisine. It’s a little sweet, a little salty, and a little nutty. This vegetable is not normally seen on your average American dining room table, but it is healthy and tasty. The root is often used in various natural medicines as well. Cutting the root into fine pieces is the hardest part and can get a bit time consuming, but after that it’s just watching the pit simmer and stirring once in a while.

Time:
  • Prep Time: 30-40 minutes
  • Cooking Time:  30-40 minutes
  • Total Time: ~60-80 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 1.5 pounds of burdock root – about 3 long roots (oo eong – 우엉)
  • 1/2 cup water (mul – 물)
  • 2 tsp cooking vinegar (shik cho – 식초)
  • 8 Tbsp Soy Sauce (gan jang – 간장)
  • 5 Tbsp Korean cooking wine (mat sul – 맛술)
  • 5 Tbsp Simple Sugar or oligosaccharide (o li go dang – 올리고당)
  • 2 Tbsp of granulated sugar (seol tang – 설탕)
  • 1 Tbsp of Sesame oil (cham ki ruem –  참기름)
  • 1 Tbsp of Sesame Seed Salt (ggae so geum – 깨소금)
For more information about ingredients please see my ingredient page for detailed information
Categories:
  • Long-term Banchan
  • Sweet & Savory
  • Not Hot-At-All
  • Exotic Ingredients
  • Vegetarian
  1. When you buy the root it should look something like this. Rough and like a giant carrot. It will probably be wrapped in the store, and the inside should be a little moist when you cut it.
  2. Cut the root into pieces roughly 6-10 inches long.
  3. Using a hand peeler, take the skin off each piece. It should come off rather easily.
  4. They will look a bit like this when you are finished
  5. Take the pieces and cut them into smaller segments about 3 inches long.
  6. The cut the pieces in half.
  7. Take each half and cut them in half again. Sometime they are a bit hard to deal with at this stage. But the skinnier you can cut them, the more flavorful they will be.
  8. Take the individual pieces and cut them into small skinny strips like this. I find that it is easier to do this A. With another person helping so it doesn’t take so long and B. in an assembly line type method: cut them all in half, then all in half again, then all into strips. 
  9. Meanwhile, have a large bowl that you fill with a bit of water and put the amount of vinegar in. I would put them in the water to soak as soon as you get them cut. They should soak for about 10 minutes after the last one is in there. The root has a tendency to be a bit tart and the vinegar bath reduces this a bit.
  10. After soaking, rinse all the vinegar water off the pieces.
  11. At this point you can make your marinade in a separate bowl using the sugar, simple sugar, cooking wine, and soy sauce. Remember the sesame oil always comes last so don’t put it in now. 
  12. Put some oil in your frying pan. It needs to be a frying device that has a lid. 
  13. Put the cut burdock root in and fry for about 5 minutes in a medium heat.
  14. Add the half cup of water
  15. And the marinade.
  16. Cover and let it simmer, just barely steaming, with the lid on for about 30 minutes. Stirring every few minutes.
  17. At this point you want to check it. Depending on your heat you may have to adjust a few factors. You may have to add a bit of water if it starts to run out before the 30 minutes is up. After 30 minutes, if there is some liquid still on the bottom, open the lid and continue to stir and simmer until the water is gone. The root really takes on the flavor at the end, as the last of the marinade is being soaked into the root, so be sure to keep stirring at this point.
  18. Not, when it is finished, turn off the heat and add the sesame seeds and sesame oil. 
  19. Try it out. It should be a tad bit crunchy but at the same time kind of soft. It will get a bit softer the longer you keep it in the fridge don’t worry. 
  20. Store in a good sealed container, and enjoy with rice! 

Do you have comments? Suggestions? Questions? Leave them below and I will answer right away!~

Spicy Fried Squid (oh jing aeo chae bok keum – 오징어체볶음)

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Often referred to as cuttlefish in America, squid is eaten in many forms in Korea. This is a wonderful tasty banchan to accompany rice. If your not a fan of seafood as all, perhaps wait a bit to try this one; however, this has only a very mild seafood taste, a little bit spicy while not overpowering, with a touch of a nutty flavor when garnished with sesame seeds.

Time:
  • Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 5-10 minutes
  • Total Time: ~15-25 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 2 big handfuls of fried Squid (oh jing aeo chae – 오징어채)*
  • 3 Tbsp of red pepper paste (go chu jang – 고추장)
  • 2 Tbsp of Simple Sugar or oligosaccharide (o li go dang – 올리고당)
  • 1 Tbsp of Korean Soy Sauce (gan jang – 간장 )
  • 1 Tbsp of Korean Cooking Wine (mat sul – 맛술)
  • 1/2 Tbsp of minced garlic (da jin ma neul – 다진 마늘)
  • 2 tsp of Mayonnaise  (ma yo nae juh – 마요네즈)
* NOTE: Adjust the recipe to match how much squid you buy. Different stores will have different sizes. For example, my 1 pound bag in the picture below was a bit more than the “2 handful” standard, so I made a 1.5x batch.
For more information about ingredients please see my ingredient page for detailed information
Categories:
  • Long-term Banchan
  • Sweet
  • Medium Spicy
  • Quick & Easy
  • Exotic Ingredients
  1. The product you find in the store should resemble this. It seems that squid is a dirty word in America, so to soften the blow “cuttlefish” is used instead. Aren’t the little squiddys cute? The product you find should already have sugar and salt in it. This product, “Asshi”-brand, is an American brand. It’s all my Korean mart had, although if I had the choice I would have chosen a different brand from Korea. This worked out will however.  
  2. Rinse the squid in lukewarm water for just half a minute of so, it doesn’t need to be very salty. 
  3. The pieces can be a bit long straight out of the package, so take scissors and cut them roughly into pieces 2-3 inches long. 
  4. In a medium sized container, scoop out the red pepper paste. 
  5. Add the soy sauce, oligosaccharide, and cooking wine.
  6. Mix in the minced garlic.
  7. Put the mixture in a deep dish frying pan (in this case I used a frying pot) and bring the mixture just to a slight boil.
  8. Add the squid that you rinsed and cut into the pan/pot and start to fry.
  9. As you are frying add the mayonnaise and keep stirring. 
  10. Fry the product over medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced to the amount shown below. Not to wet, not too dry. 
  11. After frying, mix in the sesame seed salt, and store in a secure container in the fridge.
    NOTE: To ensure that your banchan lasts a long time in the refrigerator, make sure you read the comments and instructions on my “The Banchan Plan” page. This is long-term banchan, so make sure you are careful when serving and make sure to limit the amount of time exposed to air and/or out of the refrigerator. 

Do you have comments? Suggestions? Questions? Leave them below and I will answer right away!~

Spicy Red-Pepper Pickles (oh ee ji mu chim – 오이지무침)

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Enjoy your rice with a delectable banchan that is a tasty mix of sweet, sour, nutty, and spicy. This is one of my favorite side dishes and it is quite easy to make. Start with any homemade or store-bought pickles, and in a few minutes you will be ready to eat the transformed product.

Time:
  • Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Waiting Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: ~40-45 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 1 – 24oz can of dill pickles (oh ee gi – 오이지)
  • 2 Tbsp of crushed red pepper (go chu ka ru – 고추가루)
  • 1 Tbsp of granulated sugar (seol tang – 설탕)
  • 4 Tbsp of finely diced green onions (da jin pa – 다진 파 optional)
  • 1 Tbsp of minced garlic (da jin ma neul – 다진 마늘)
  • 1 Tbsp of Sesame oil (cham ki ruem –  참기름)
  • 2 tsp of Sesame Seed Salt (ggae so geum – 깨소금)
For more information about ingredients please see my ingredient page for detailed information
Categories:
  • Long-term Banchan
  • Sweet & Sour
  • Mildly Spicy
  • Quick & Easy
  • On the Cheap
  1. Just start with you average can of dill pickles. Open them up and, unless you have a good reason to save the pickle juice, toss it down the drain.
  2. Slice them up into about the size you see here.
  3. Throw them back in the container they came with and soak them in cool water for 30 minutes. In general, pickles from the store are to salty for this dish, if you have homemade pickles that are less salty, you can decrease the time to compensate. You don’t want them flavorless, you want a little salty and vinegary flavor left, but you don’t want it to be so strong to overpower the ingredients that you are going to add later.
  4. Next, you need to press the pickles dry. You can use a cheese cloth, or, as I did not have a cheese cloth in this case, you can use a clean and sanitized (boil for 5-10 minutes after washing) face towel. If the pickles are too wet, the ingredients won’t stick to them very well. 
  5. Next add the crushed red pepper, sugar, minced garlic, finely chopped green onions (I skipped that ingredient in this batch), sesame seed oil, and sesame seed salt.
    NOTE: If you like a little more vinegary flavor, you can, at this stage, add a little bit, perhaps 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp depending on taste. 
  6. With a cooking glove, mix the ingredients until evenly distributed.
    NOTE: As this is a long-term banchan, it is very important not to contaminate it, which is why we use the gloves. Even the littlest bit of bacteria at this stage will reduce the shelf-life considerably. 
  7. Enjoy with rice along with some other of your favorite banchan!

Do you have comments? Suggestions? Questions? Leave them below and I will answer right away!~