Friday, November 25, 2011

Zucchini Fritters/Hobak Buchim(호박부침)

Hobak Buchim is another simple Korean side dish. Buchim means fried with batter. Very little effort is required in preparing this food.

This banchan is also a good lunch box component.

Hobak Buchim

  • 1/2 small zucchini
  • 1 small egg
  • 3 tbs flour
  • salt to taste
  • oil for frying

  1. Slice the zucchini into 1/8 inch thick pieces.
  2. Beat 1 small egg. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. Put flour in a small bowl.
  4. Put oil in a hot skillet.
  5. Coat the zucchini with flour and dip it in egg. Put in the frying pan and cook for 1-2 min on each side.

Didn't I tell you it's easy?

Miso Soup

Miso Soup is a regular Japanese soup. It's main ingredient miso is from fermented soy bean paste much similar to dwaenjang. Miso, on the other hand, is smoother in texture, and lighter in color and flavor. It's accompanied with soft tofu which is another staple food in Japan. It's also cooked with some seaweed but you can do without it as long as there's green onion for garnish. This soup is extremely easy. All you need is boiling water and your job is done. It's a simple yet healthy dish you should try.

This miso isn't the same miso you use for sinigang, ok? Although there are varieties of miso paste available in the market, this one is very common. Most likely they will  be selling light miso and not spicy one. This is light miso.

Miso Soup


  • 4tbs miso paste (light)
  • 4 cups water
  • half block tofu
  • green onions for garnish

  1. Boil 4 cups of water.
  2. Slice the tofu into 1cm cubes.
  3. When you notice the water starts to form tiny bubbles on the bottom of the pot, put the miso in a sieve and into the pot so you can easily dissolve the paste.
  4. When the soup starts to boil, add the tofu.
  5. Boil for 5 min.
  6. Turn off the heat and transfer to bowls. Garnish with green onions.

Seasoned Soybean Sprout/Kongnamul Muchim (콩나물 무침)

Kongnamul Muchim is a ubiquitous side dish or banchan. It uses soy bean sprouts which is a close cousin of togue. In fact, you can use togue as substitute in this recipe. Togue is less expensive but it's a little different from soy bean (togue is actually mung bean) in taste. For this dish, using mung bean sprouts won't be that far from using soy bean sprouts.

Kongnamul Muchim

  • 2 handfuls soybean sprouts
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbs green onions, chopped

  1. Put soybean sprouts in a pot. Add the water and salt.
  2. Boil for 10 min without removing the lid.
  3. Turn off the heat and drain liquid from the soybean sprouts.
  4. Set aside to cool.
  5. Combine the remaining ingredients with the sprouts. Mix by hand.
  6. Check your seasoning.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Buckwheat Noodles/Memil (메밀)

Memil is a thin noodle made from buckwheat. It is similar to soba noodles. It's got a brownish color. It is mostly used in cold dishes. 

Black Mushroom/Mogi Beoseot (목이버섯)

This is dried black mushroom used in preparing Japchae. You take one of these and soak in hot water to plum back up. I sometimes use this in bibimbap too.

Laver/Kim (김)

This is called kim. It's also known as nori in Japan. It's made from seaweed. It's used to wrap rice when making rice rolls like kimbap. This pack contains 10 sheets of dried laver.

Seakelp/Dashima (다시마)

Dashima is a kind of dried seaweed mainly used in making broth. It's also called seakelp. In Japan, they call it konbu. It's usually cut into small rectangular pieces. This particular seaweed is tougher than miyeok.

Seasoned Soybean Curd/Yubu Chobap (유부초밥)

Yubu Chobap is seasoned soy bean curd. It's like bean curd made into a square pouch cut diagonally which is immersed in a sweet liquid. It comes with seasonings like rice vinegar and vegetable powder mix.

Basically, you mix the seasonings with rice and then put it in the soy bean curd pouches. It's a great picnic food.

Crab Sticks/Matsal (맛살)

Matsal or crab stick is commonly used as kimbap filling. Korean matsal is usually longer than what we're familiar with. Nevertheless, they are just the same. Of course, different brands, different tastes, different prices.

Besides kimbap, you can use this to make tiny  pancake side dishes. I like putting this in Japchae too.

This pack has 9 long pieces which I split lengthwise coz it's too thick for kimbap roll.

Red Pepper Powder/Kochukaru (고추가루)

Kochukaru or chili powder is widely used in many korean foods. There is big array of chili powder out in the market. This one is mainly used for making kimchi. You'd like to get the correct kind of chili powder for your cooking or you'll end up with food that's too spicy or too bland. Some chili powder, like the cheap unbranded ones in supermarkets, have stronger color than flavor. So if you like spicy food, get a good quality chili powder.

If you're not familiar with a certain chili powder and its hotness, better use half of what's suggested at first. Then, check later if you should add more. It's hard to tell the quality or degree of hotness from the texture of the powder.

Thin Wheat Noodles/Somyeon (소면)

Somyeon is a thin noodle made from wheat flour. It appears to be a thick miswa. It is used in both cold and hot dishes. Cooking time is only 3 min.

During cooking it produces a considerable amount of froth. You may want to watch over it more closely. The trick is to pour a little water when it's close to overflowing. Don't forget to shock it or run under cold water after cooking, otherwise it's going to turn into a paste.

This is available in supermarkets like SM and Robinson's.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Spicy Pork Barbecue/Kochujang Samgyeobsal (고추장 삼겹살)

Kochujang Samgyeobsal is grilled pork belly marinated in sweet spicy sauce. Imagine a spicy bbq without the skewers.

For this you can use a skillet or non stick fry pan instead of a grill. A stove top grill will work too.

We had a smagyeobsal party yesterday and plain pork belly is too mundane... so I decided to marinade some of the meat. It's recommended to marinade it overnight but  because the meat had been delivered 15 minutes before our guests arrived, it only sat for 20 min. (We ate the plain pork belly first.) Nevertheless, it tasted great.

We cooked it on a stove top grill on a portable stove. It's a good idea to get one if you like grilled meat. The portable stove, you can buy at hardware stores. It's very convenient because it keeps your food hot as you eat. Works well for grilling and cooking shabu shabu.

This meat is best served with lettuce leaves, rice, and kimchi or other side dishes. Basically, you take a leaf of lettuce, you put meat, rice, and side dish/es, wrap it and and eat it as one large bite. I know, we are taught to put small amount of foods in our mouth as etiquette, but it's korean table manner to put the whole thing in your mouth. Well ultimately you'll eat the way you want, but just a tip when you eat this kind of food at a korean restaurant- make a wrap that fits in your mouth. ;)

Kochujang Samgyeobsal

500g pork belly, sliced 1/8" thick
1 small onion sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pcs green onions (6" long)

6 tbs kochujang
3 tbs sugar
1 tbs honey
1 tbs corn syrup
1 tbs cooking wine
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs sesame seeds

1. Cut the pork belly into 1" pieces
2. Mix all the ingredients for sauce.
3. Add the all the remaining ingredients and the sauce.
4. Mix well with your hands.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator. Marinade for atleast 30 min. or overnight.
6. Put meat on a hot skillet or top grill. Be careful not to burn.
7. When the fat starts to sizzle or melt, turn over to cook the other side.
8. Serve with lettuce wrap and rice.

Soy Bean Sprout Soup/Kongnamul Guk (콩나물 국)

Kongnamul guk is a very simple soup made from soy bean sprouts. From a distance, it may look like our local "togue" but  its bigger heads and longer stems are what make it distinct. Our local togue is called Mung Bean Sprouts and can be used as a substitute in several dishes but in this particular dish may not be the best.

This is also considered a good sobering soup for a bad morning hangover from drinking alcohol. It's got a clean, refreshing taste.

Soy bean sprouts are available in supermarkets like SM. Look for their big heads and long stalks.

Kongnamul Guk

  • 2 handful soybean sprouts
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 small anchovies
  • 2 pcs sea kelp
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 tbs garlic
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp kochukaru
  • 5" green onion

  1. Wash the soy bean sprouts. Remove the bad parts.
  2. Put the clean sprouts in a pot. Add 4 cups of water.
  3. Put in anchovies and sea kelp.
  4. Cook on med-high. Bring to boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Don't open the lid or your soybean sprouts will have an unpleasant taste. (I don't know exactly why this happens but trust me, it's better to keep your lid on.)
  5. Add the garlic and onion.
  6. Season with soy sauce and fish sauce.
  7. Put the kochukaru. Cook for another 5 min.
  8. Put the green onions and cook for 2 more min.

Stir Fried Fish Cake in Soy Sauce / Ganjang Ohmuk Bokkeum (간장 어묵볶음)

Ohmuk Bokkeum is another common side dish or banchan. Its main ingredient, ohmuk, is a fried fish cake resembling kikiam but in no means can be substituted.

It can be cooked with soy sauce or kochujang. It can also be used in soup. If you have been to shabu shabu restaurants, you may have met this baby.

Ohmuk Bokkeum


  1. Cut the fish cake into thin strips.
  2. Put oil on a hot skillet. Saute the garlic and onion.
  3. Stir fry the fish cake strips for 1 min.
  4. Add the soy sauce and sugar.
  5. Put the green onions and cook for another minute.
  6. Turn off the heat and add 1 tsp roasted sesame seeds.

Stir Fried Anchovies/Myeolchi Bokkeum (멸치 볶음)

Myeolchi Bokkeum is the korean version of "dilis na maanghang". It's made of stir fried anchovies or dilis in a thick sweet and spicy sauce. It's a common side dish or banchan in korea. It's very good for lunch box too.

While Pinoys may not see this as "ulam", you may later come to know that a typical korean meal consists of soup, side dishes of various kinds (atleast 3) and rice- the main dish. They consider rice more important than what we call ulam.

Anchovies have variety of sizes. The small ones range from 10-15mm and are white. They are usually cooked without kochujang. The one in the picture are medium sized anchovies that measure 20-25mm. Then, big anchovies measure 40-50 mm. Bdig anchovies are cooked with kochujang since they tend to have a funky smell sometimes.

I buy anchovies from korean grocery stores because unlike the ones they sell in local markets or supermarkets, korean anchovies are well dried and unsalted. They have a clean smell too. But ofcourse, you can use dilis from the market. Just toast it well to rid of the smell if you are bothered by it.

Myeolchi Bokkeum


  1. Put 1 cup of anchovies on a hot skillet. Toast it for about 1 min on low-med. Be careful not to burn.
  2. Add 1 tbs oil. Stir fry for 1 min. Push on the far side of the pan to make space for sauce.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients on the other side of the pan. Stir well. Wait until the sauce sizzles. It should have a thick consistency.
  4. Mix in the anchovies. Coat all the anchovies evenly.
  5. Transfer to a container. Add roasted sesame seeds.
This will stay crispy in room temperature.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sweet & Spicy Cold Noodles/Bibimguksu (비빔국수)

Bibimguksu is a cold noodle dish with a spicy sauce.

As Pinoys, it may seem a little strange to eat cold noodles, but if you give this adish a try, you'll most likely enjoy its sweet hotness.

The noodles resemble a thick "miswa". It is called somyeon(소면). Unfortunately, you can't use miswa as substitute to make this dish but the noodles are available in local supermarkets like SM and Robinsons. You'll find them in the asian food section.

It is very easy to make since you'll only have to cook the noodles. The veggies are raw and the sauce is an easy mix. You can even make a batch and keep it in the fridge for future use.

Serves: 2

  • 1 cup lettuce
  • 1/2 small carrot
  • 1/2 small cucumber
  • 2 tbs green onions
  • 1 hard boiled egg

(if your noodles are not separated into bundles, just make a ring with your index finger and thumb, like an "ok" sign)

  1. Boil 6 cups of water for the noodles.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the vegetables. Shred 1 cup of lettuce. Then cut 1/2 peeled carrot and 1/2 unpeeled cucumber into thin match sticks.
  3. Make the sauce by mixing 2tbs kochujang, 2tbs rice vinegar, 1tbs soy sauce, 1tbs sugar, 1tsp sesame oil, and 1tsp roasted sesame seeds.
  4. Put the noodles in boiling water. Cook for about 3 minutes. Don't put the lid back because it makes a lot of foam as it boils. When the foam is about to overflow, the trick is to pour a little water in the pot and it will dissipate.
  5. After 3 min, drain the noodles then run it under cold water to stop the cooking process. Don't forget this step, otherwise your noodles will become mushy.
  6. Drain excess water. Put on a plate or bowl.
  7. Add the veggies to the noodles and put the sauce on top. Mix well and serve with hard boiled eggs.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meat Salt

This is meat salt. It's basically used as seasoning when grilling meat like pork belly. It's a mixture of salt, pepper, and meat flavor. For some which finds salt and pepper too plain and boring, you can use this meat salt to spike the taste of grilled food.

Sesame Seeds/Bokkeum ChamGgae (볶은 참깨)

Sesame seeds are widely used for its subtle nutty flavor and high oil content. Buns and bagels just like many other dishes use sesame seeds for an added flavor. 

Asia maybe the largest consumer of sesame seeds. India is currently the biggest producer of these precious seeds which are mainly grown for the oil. Did you know that one pod or tube contains as many as 15,000 seeds?

The seeds come in different colors from pale white to black. The white, flat ones are more popular in the west.

This on the picture is toasted sesame seeds. It's commonly put in stir-fried dishes.

COST: P125 (100g)

Cooking Wine/Mirin (미린)

Mirin is a common condiment in Japan made from rice. It's called sweet rice wine because it contains 40-50% sugar. It also contains about 14% of alcohol.

There are three kinds of mirin and they differ mainly in alcohol content. This one is called honmirin, the one with the highest alcohol content. It is generally used to enhance the flavor of meat during marinade. If you like teriyaki sauce, it's practically 1/4 part mirin.

If you cook meat often, you should have this product in your pantry.

COST: P180 (500ml)

Corn Syrup/Mulyeot (물엿)

Mulyeot is a clear, thick syrup from corn. It's sweet but not by far similar to honey. It's mainly used as a thickener and sweetener to many dishes. While you can use sugar as substitute, it can't give the thick consistency mulyeot has, not even if you caramelise it. Sadly, we don't have a pinoy ingredient equivalent to it.

Mulyeot is mainly used in spicy stir-fried foods to  mellow the kochujang.

This is available in local supermarkets at the asian food section.

Soy Sauce/Ganjang (간장)

Soy sauce is an indispensable condiment every kitchen needs. This one here is a korean brand soy sauce. What is the difference? It's a little more diluted than our local "Datu Puti Soy Sauce". Have you ever noticed a month-old bottle of our local soy sauce and the calcified residue at the bottle cap? That's how dense our soy sauce is.

This particular soy sauce is called jin ganjang. There's another kind used particularly in soups and dips for its reduced sodium content therefore know how expensive it is. Jin ganjang is just the regular soy sauce. If you are opting for a less salty alternative, go for this.

Sesame Oil/Chamgireum (참기름)

Sesame oil is a key ingredient in most asian cuisine. China, Japan, and Korea are the main consumers of sesame oil in Asia.

Sesame oil is extracted from sesame seeds which contain about 50% oil of its weight. It's used in baking for its high fat content. However, sesame oil is only used to enhance flavor of stir fried foods and occasionally soups. It's never used in large quantities.

It is also expensive. Of course there are many sesame varieties so the oil  they produce vary as well. A high quality sesame oil of 110ml costs about P120. That's more than ten times the price of canola oil, and twice the price of extra virgin olive oil (medium-high grade).

It will be a good idea to get one if you enjoy korean and chinese foods since this is almost essential to both cuisines.

COST: P120 (110 ml)

Hot Pepper Paste/Kochujang (고추장)

Kochujang is made of red pepper paste. It is a very thick spicy paste which is slightly sweet. It's another staple condiment present in almost every spicy Korean food. It also serves as a thickener in some sauces. While we Pinoys enjoy spicy food, this particular spice however is a whole new level of hotness.

This product is a little pricey, but if you get the refill pack you can save half the price.

Fried Fish Cake/Ohmuk (어묵)

Ohmuk is fried fish cake. It's also known as "Odeng". It's manufactured in different sizes and shapes. This one here is in sheets. There are some shaped like tubes, hotdogs, and balls. The taste is pretty much consistent and resembling to that of "kikiam", only it's less fishy.

I haven't seen this one in local supermarkets yet but you can get this one in Korean or Japanese grocery stores near you.

Daikon Radish/Moo (무)

Daikon Radish isn't just your typical radish or "labanos" here in the Philippines. It's bulbous and maybe similar to papaya in shape, even size. Another distinct feature of this radish is its taste. It's not pungent like our long and slender "labanos". It's actually a little sweet and crunchy like a fuji apple. You can even eat it raw.

But just like our very own "labanos", it's used in stews and most commonly in kimchi. There are many kinds of kimchi that use different types of radishes. Different sizes entail different methods of preping it. They even use the leaves of the radish. It's actually a versatile vegetable.

You can purchase this radish in your local supermarkets. There may even be some in farmers markets.

Enoki Mushroom

Enoki mushroom is mainly used in stews in Korea. It's a mushroom that grows like long filaments joined altogether at the base. The bottom part which is about 1/3 of the thing is discarded. It's very soft so it's best to use a fresh one in your dishes. The canned ones are just too mushy.

Soybean Paste/Dwaenjang (된장)

Dwaenjang (된장) is one of the staple condiments in every Korean kitchen. It's made of fermented soybean paste. It's much similar to miso paste in Japan.
It's traditionally aged in big clay jars put in the yard of the house. Its used in soup, marinade, and your everyday meat/vegetable dip. Since it's made of soy, it's got health benefits. According to my acupuncturist, who is a doctor of Oriental Medicine (Chinese Medicine), even a daily consumption of this isn't bad at all. Instead of a meticulous bone soup, a handful of spinach and onion with this paste can make a nutritious soup to go with your meal. You can also use Chinese cabbage or Pechay Baguio instead of spinach.

Silken Tofu/Soondubu

Soondubu is an extra soft tofu usually used in stew. It slightly harder than "taho" but much much softer than our regular tokwa. You can actually eat it like this because unlike our tofu, it doesn't have a stinky smell. As far as I can tell, our pinoy tokwa is a years-old tofu left over in your fridge because you have no use for it. Also, it's noteworthy to say that soy products are good for your health. You can perk up a soup simply by adding tofu to it.

This particular brand is available at SM Supermarket.