Tteokbokki (Korean spicy rice cakes)

I loooove Korean food and tteokbokki is my favourite Korean food of all and the dish I will always order at a Korean restaurant. Tteokbokki is rice cakes served with fish cake and a spicy barbecue sauce. The fish used seems kind of processed but I love it anyway though I’ve used tinned banana blossom because you just can’t get the fish cakes unless you go to an Oriental supermarket. I think tempeh would work well too. In London, there’s several Korean karaoke places where you can eat, then they’ll come and take away the tables and you can sing your heart out. I love a little pre-karaoke tteokbokki washed down with some plum flavoured soju. I think it’s good for the pipes. I got this recipe from the blog ‘My Korean Kitchen’ and I ordered the delicious chewy rice sticks from Amazon.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 350g rice cakes
  • 1 tin banana blossom
  • 2 cups dashi stock
  • 60g onion
  • 3 tbsp gochujang
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic /3 cloves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp gochugaru (or chilli flakes)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 100g broccoli

Method

1.) The rice cakes all come stuck together so separate these into sticks and soak them in warm water for 10 minutes.

2.) Make the tteokbokki sauce. Take a bowl and combine the gochujang, sugar, soy, garlic and gochugaru. Mix everything well.

3.) In a wok, add the stock and tip in the gochujang mixture. Stir to combine and bring to the boil.

5.) Peel and chop up the onion and add to the stock.

4.) Add the rice cakes and cook for a few minutes. Trim the broccoli, cut into florets and add to the wok.

5.) Drain the banana blossom and cut into chunks, add to the wok.

6.) Cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Stir in the sesame oil at the end.

Bibimbap

Bibimbap was probably the first Korean dish I ever tried which is probably the same for most people. It’s close to my heart as I love Korean food and culture. I love watching Korean tv shows, the K dramas have so much humour and the mother is always a real character. When I lived in London, I used to go to a gym that had Netflix on the treadmills and I ended up watching so many episodes of K Dramas on there that every lunch, all I could think about were ramen and sushi (Koreans have their own sushi called Kimbap which is bigger and may contain things you wouldn’t normally find in Japanese sushi such as cheese and ham). If you’re interested in Korean TV, I recommend ‘My Love from the Star’ and ‘Hellbound’.

For bibimbap, it’s great to eat out as they serve it on a super hot stone plate which comes out sizzling. This means that you get some really nice crispy bits of rice at the bottom. This is hard to replicate in the kitchen but it’s still nonetheless delicious with all the sauces and different elements. Despite cooking many things separately, they are all things which cook quickly and can be done while you’re cooking the rice. Also the recipe is really customisable so you can really change it up with your favourite veggies/protein. It’s entirely vegan if you omit the egg).

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 120g rice
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 courgette
  • 2cm ginger
  • 2 vegan steaks (I use plant pioneers)
  • oil
  • 100g kale
  • 1 pack mushrooms
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 spring onions
  • 10g coriander leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp gochjang paste
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp soy sauce

Method

1.) Cook the rice ( I have a rice cooker)

2.) Peel and finely dice the garlic, add to a bowl with the sugar, sesame oil and 1 tsp soy sauce.

3.) Wash and slice up the mushrooms and add to the bowl. Stir and set aside.

4.) Peel the carrot and chop into batons. Chop up the courgette into batons.

5.) In a large frying pan, heat up some oil then add the carrot and courgette. Cook until soft then move to a bowl.

6.) Slice up the steak, pan fry until it’s cooked, then set aside.

7.) Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry until cooked, set aside these too.

8.) In the meantime, finely dice the spring onions and finely chop the coriander leaves.

9.) Add the kale to the pan, fry until start to soften and place in a bowl.

10.) Crack in the eggs and fry the eggs.

11.) Make the bibimbap sauce – in a bowl mix the gochujang, vinegar and soy sauce.

12.) Dish up the rice on two plates. Place the mushrooms, kale, steak, carrot and courgettes around the plate. Put an egg on top. Add a dollop of the bibimbap sauce. Sprinkle over some coriander leaves and spring onions.

Korean Stew

I love Korean food and culture and it’s fortunate for my husband that my ancestry test didn’t come back with any Korean as I would have been annoying my husband even more than I have been for the last week about being 20% Norwegian (Viking). This recipe was in Gizzi Erskine’s ‘Healthy Appetite’ and utilises Korean Gochujang chilli paste which I really recommend seeking out (which should be easy in any oriental supermarket). Korean food is typically very spicy and I don’t think this is really a recipe you can tame – just keep a glass of milk to hand! Serve with sushi rice.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3cm ginger
  • 1 pack plant pioneers chicken pieces (or another chicken sub)
  • 2 tbsp gochujang
  • 500ml stock ( I used vegan chicken stock)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Korean chilli powder
  • 500g new potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • bunch spring onions
  • 200g green beans
  • salt and pepper

Method

1.) Add some oil to a pan and heat up. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides in a casserole dish.

2.) Roughly chop one of the onions, peel the garlic and ginger and blitz in a food processor to a paste. Chop up the other onion into wedges.

3.) Set the chicken pieces aside and add the onion wedges to the pan. Fry until browned then set aside with the chicken.

4.) Add the onion paste to the pan and fry for 3 – 4 minutes. Whilst this is cooking, make up the stock.

5.) Add the chicken and onion back into the pan with the stock, gochujang, tomato puree, mirin, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and potatoes.

6.) Peel the carrots and chop into chunks and add to the pan. Put the lid on and cook on a medium – low heat for 35 minutes.

7.) Cook the rice and tidy and chop the spring onions into 3 pieces. Trim the green beans.

8.) Add the spring onions and green beans and cook for a further 5-10 minutes.

9.) Serve the stew with some sushi rice.

Kimchi fried rice

They’ve been re-airing John Torode’s excellent series on Korean cooking on The Food Network and it never fails to make me feel hungry and also desperate to be back in South Korea. He does make a couple of comments about the drinking culture in Korea which do amuse me as Koreans generally drink Makkoli – a rice wine (very much to my taste but not everyone’s), Soju – a lighter form of vodka which often comes in delicious flavours like plum or peach and of course beer. None of these are over 15% alcohol concentrate. Even if you have a soju bomb, a shot of Soju poured into beer – Geonbae! Kimchi is rightly becoming more and more popular as it is delicious and addictive. It’s also fairly easy to make though I’ve only made it once, mainly because I’m not sure how to sterilise the containers. It would probably be fine for this recipe though as you’d use a fair quantity right away. I was really happy with this brilliant recipe that I found in Good Housekeeping’s ‘Vegetarian Collection’. It is just as quick to make as a stir fry.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 200g basmati rice
  • 2 tins jackfruit
  • 2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5cm ginger
  • 3 pak choi, separated into leaves and stalk
  • 1/2 broccoli
  • 160g jar kimchi (or the more the better)
  • 4 spring onions
  • coriander leaves (to garnish)
  • Oil

Method

1.) Cook the rice

2.) While the rice is cooking, prep the other ingredients. Peel and finely dice the garlic and ginger. Chop up the broccoli and pak choi. Slice up the spring onion and coriander. Open the tins of jackfruit and drain the liquid.

3.) When the rice is nearly done, start cooking. Heat some oil in a frying pan. Gently fry the onion and ginger for a couple of minutes. Then add the jackfruit and broccoli.

4.) After a few minutes, add the stalk parts of the pak choi and fry for 3 -4 more minutes.

5.) Add the kimchi, fry for thirty seconds.

6.) Drain the rice and add it to the pan. Pour in the soy sauce and give everything a good mix.

7.) Add the pak choi leaves and fry until everything is hot.

8.) Stir through the sesame oil and serve with a garnish of spring onion and coriander leaves.