I first tried Korean food back in 2009 when I was in Los Angeles. I stayed there for two weeks and my hotel was smack bang in the middle of Koreatown so I had absolutely no choice but to try the food.
Soon enough I learned how amazing it was, with loads of variety and very good prices which were great when I was on a budget. You could pick up food from local street food vendors or in lots of the small restaurants, cool little bars or karaoke clubs.
My favourite foods were kimchi and bibimbap, which I had to be convinced to try… especially the kimchi. Fermented cabbage didn’t exactly sound too appetising when I heard what it was, but how wrong could I be.
It was years before I actually started to look at Korean recipes and try to make them again at home. We’ve tried a handful of things now and I find Bulgogi and Bao Buns work great together, especially if the kids are eating them as they aren’t too spicy and great for sharing.
Also, the bao buns are nice and easy to make and great to the kids involved, my daughter absolutely loves making them!
The honey & miso cod was a new one I found a few weeks and saved for when we next did Korean, I’m so glad I did. It was beautiful and a really nice, fresh change to our normal Korean cooking.
I hope you can give these a go and enjoy them as much as we do… A little tip before you start, all of the meat and fish in these recipes need to marinate in advance so there is a little prep before cooking!
- 450g chicken breast or thighs
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce, regular
- 1.5 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp rice wine
- 1/4 cup Sprite (yes, the fizzy pop – it’s a trick to make the chicken extra tender)
- 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ground black pepper
- Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.
- Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix them well. Pour it over the meat. Cover and marinate it for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.
- Remove the chicken from the bowl and cook over a well-heated skillet. Do not add the leftover marinade, keep it in the bowl. Cook both sides of chicken over medium-high heat then reduce the heat to medium until the chicken is fully cooked.
- In the meantime, boil the leftover marinade in a separate saucepan for 2-3 mins over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until its slightly reduced.
- Pour the reduction over the chicken over the chicken and serve.
For the Beef:
- 800 g rib eye or sirloin, thinly sliced (2mm to 3mm thickness – do this by wrapping beef in cling film and putting in the freezer for 1 hour before slicing)
- 1 onion, peeled & thinly sliced
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 carrot, peeled & thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
For the Marinade:
- 6 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp rice wine
- 1 red apple
- 1/2 onion
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- Blend the marinade ingredients in a mixer or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
- Place the thinly sliced meat in a mixing bowl and pour the marinade over it. Mix them well together while gently massaging the meat with your hands. (Wearing a food prep glove is very handy here!)
- Add the sesame oil and mix it into the meat.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and marinate the meat for at least 4 hours (or overnight) in the fridge.
- Preheat a pan/skillet over medium-high heat until well heated. Add the cooking oil. Add the meat and vegetables and cook it on medium-high to high heat for 3 to 5 mins (until the meat and vegetables cook to your desired doneness). Toss in the sesame seeds and stir them quickly.
- Serve the bulgogi with steamed rice and other Korean side dishes. (refer above for more tips)
Honey & Miso Cod Fillets
- 2 cod fillets or cod loins
- 2 tbsp mild runny honey
- 1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp chilli sauce
- 1 tbsp white miso paste
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and oil it or spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange the cod fillets on the baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, whisk together or use a fork to combine the honey, vinegar, chilli sauce, miso, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Separate out about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and brush it over the fish before cooking. Let the fish marinate in the rest of the sauce in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat your broiler to high and broil the fish for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the glaze is bubbly and charred in places. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven off of broil and up to 375°F. Brush the remaining glaze over the fish and return the pan to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillets, or until they are opaque and flake easily with a fork.
- Serve over rice and steamed broccoli and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
Steamed Bao Buns
This makes 18 buns so just scale the recipe to suit how many people are eating – I halved it.
- 525g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1½ tbsp caster sugar, plus a pinch
- 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
- 50ml milk
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Mix together 525g plain flour, 1½ tbsp caster sugar and ½ tsp salt in a large bowl (see tip).
- Dissolve 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast and a pinch of sugar in 1 tbsp warm water, then add it to the flour with 50ml milk, 1 tbsp sunflower oil, 1 tbsp rice vinegar and 200ml water. Mix into a dough, adding a little extra water if needed.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10-15 mins, or until smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 2 hrs, or until doubled in size.
- Tip the dough out onto a clean work surface and punch it down. Flatten the dough with your hands, then sprinkle over 1 tsp baking powder and knead for 5 mins.
- Roll out the dough into a long sausage shape, about 3cm thick, then cut into pieces that are about 3cm wide – you should have 18.
- In the palm of your hand, roll each piece of dough into a ball and leave to rest for 2-3 mins.
- Use a rolling pin to roll out each ball, one by one, into an oval shape about 3-4mm thick. Rub the surface of the dough ovals with oil and brush a little oil over a chopstick.
- Place the oiled chopstick in the centre of each oval. Fold the dough over the chopstick, then slowly pull out the chopstick.
- Cut 18 squares of baking parchment and put a bun on each. Transfer to a baking tray, cover with a clean tea towel or lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hr 30 mins, or until doubled in size.
- Heat a large steamer over medium-high heat. Steam the buns for 8 mins until puffed up (you’ll need to do this in batches).
- Prise open each bun and fill with your choice of filling.
I really hope you enjoy these as much as we do and I have inspired you to maybe try something new…