Recently, I’ve been getting into cooking my own meals at home. As a little girl, I was always fascinated by my mom’s cooking skills–the way she perfectly flips her omelettes in the air, the way she speedily chops all the vegetables, and even the way she presents the food on the plates.
Something about the art of cooking has always entranced me and I realized that the more you put yourself to do it, the more fun it gets!
Today, I wanted to share with you three Korean dishes that I’ve tried cooking and succeeded. Growing up in a Korean family, my taste buds have been influenced a lot by Korean spices and their flavors.
1. Gamja Juhn (Potato Pancakes)
Compared to how simple it is to make this dish, the taste is beyond ordinary. At first, it may taste bland but the natural sweetness of the potato eventually kicks in as you keep chewing. Slightly dipping it into the soy sauce or eating with kimchi on the side is a good tip for those who may find that eating the potato pancakes alone is boring (here, I ate the dish with a side of pickled cucumber kimchi).
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup grated onion
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup potato starch
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- Combine all the ingredients, except the vegetable oil, together in a bowl and mix thoroughly until the batter has smooth consistency.
- Heat up a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Add 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, making sure that the oil spreads evenly throughout the pan.
- Pour the potato mixture over the pan, thinly spreading it out.
- Cook a few minutes until the bottom of the mixture is slightly crispy and has turned golden brown.
- Flip over the pancake and add more vegetable oil to the sides of the pancake.
- Cook until the other side is also crispy and golden brown.
*Sizes of the pancakes can vary depending on what size skillet you use. To make the smaller ones in the photo shown above, I used circular cookie cutters and poured the mixture inside. However, this is not necessary; I made them smaller for the sake of presentation.
2. Bibim Guksoo (Mixed Noodles)
If you love noodles and if you love something sweet and vinegary at the same time, this dish is for you! This is also fairly easy to make and despite the fact that there is Korean hot pepper paste added to the sauce, it is really not that spicy so those who are weak to spicy food can also handle it without a problem.
- soba noodles
- 2 leaves of lettuce, thinly sliced
- 1 cucumber, julienned
- 2 1/2 tbsp. kimchi, chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts, crushed
- 1 egg, boiled
- 1 1/2 tbsp. Korean hot pepper paste
- 1 1/2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 3/4 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- Add water to a pot and bring to boil. Cook the noodles in the boiling water for 3-4 mins. Once fully cooked, drain the water and rinse the noodles in cold water.
- Combine the noodles in a large bowl with the lettuce, cucumber, kimchi, and walnuts.
- In a separate bowl, combine and mix together the hot pepper paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil together to make the sauce.
- Pour the sauce over the noodles and mix well.
- Cut the boiled egg into two halves and place on top of the noodle.
*Once again, walnuts and the boiled egg are optional ingredients. I added walnuts because I personally like their crunchy texture and the boiled egg just because I love eggs. This dish, however, is called “mixed noodles,” so you can essentially put any ingredient you want. Some people chop in other vegetables such as carrots and even fruits like apples or pears!
3. Jeyuk Bokkeum (Spicy Pork Stir Fry)
I love spicy food so I like to make my pork really spicy but some people also like to eat their jeyuk bokkeum sweet (like my boyfriend) so depending on your preference, you can either add more sugar to your sauce or dump in more hot pepper paste!
- 1 lb. pork tenderloin, sliced
- 1 lb. bok choy
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 hot green pepper
- 1 white onion, puréed
- 1 cup Korean hot pepper paste
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp. mirin
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- a small knob of ginger, minced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- In a large bowl, add together the puréed onion, hot pepper paste, brown sugar, mirin, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and 2 tbsp. of water. Stir well until a smooth consistency is achieved.
- Add the pork and stir to coat evenly. Refrigerate for at least two hours (preferably, overnight).
- Let the marinated pork sit at room temperature for at least 30 mins. before it is cooked.
- In a large skillet over high heat, place 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil and spread evenly over skillet.
- Add the marinated pork, cooking until one side is caramelized then flip over to the other side. Repeat the flipping until the pork is thoroughly cooked.
- Remove any excess fat by wiping the pan or draining the oil.
- Do the same thing with the rest of the marinated pork.
- Lightly stir the bok choy, scallion, green pepper, and white onion together over low heat. Combine this with the pork.
*Although the original recipe calls for pork belly or pork shoulder, I gave my spicy pork stir fry a try with the tenderloin part because it had less fat content than the other pork parts. Although less fatty, it was definitely more tender. Green peppers are optional; I just added them to raise the spiciness level of the dish to suit my taste buds.
Which one of these dishes would you challenge yourself to try cooking–or eating, if you’ve never tried any of these dishes before–and which dish looks the most appetizing to you? Share your thoughts below 🙂
To see more of the delicious food that I cook and eat, visit my Instagram page 😘