Korean fried chicken – Let’s make it at home!

If you live in the DMV area, you cannot help running into the name of the chicken joint, Bonchon!

Bonchon Chicken is found in different locations, mostly on the east side of the country. This Korean style soy garlic fried chicken is so delicious that it haunts me day and night so I decided to make it at home.

Here’s what we need (2 servings):

– 8 drumsticks (washed and scored)
– flour (lightly seasoned with salt and pepper)
– sauce : 4 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp minced garlic, 2 Tbsp molasses or honey, 2 Tbsp sugar, 4 Tbsp mirin or cooking wine, 1 Tbsp flour (My secret ingredient is a Tbsp of sriracha sauce!)

Once you figure out the ingredients, the hardest part is done!

1. Put the chicken in a zipper bag with seasoned flour. Shake it.
2. Pour some oil in a pot and keep your stove at medium heat.
3. When the oil gets hot, put the chicken into the pan. When it becomes light brown, take it out and let it rest on a paper towel.
4. KEY STEP: When it cools down a little, put it back to the pan to finish cooking! This way, the chicken gets super crispy even when smothered in the sauce
5. While chicken is frying, put all the ingredients for the sauce in a separate pan and cook it at low heat so the garlic doesn’t burn.
5. Poke the chick with a chopstick or a knife to make sure it’s done. No one likes undercooked, bloody chicken. 😉
6. Let the chicken rest on a paper towel for a couple of minutes. Then, put it in the sauce.
7. Mix it well till the chicken gets all nice and saucy!

Now, we have this awesome chicken HOMEMADE!

I gotta say, it wasn’t exactly the same but was PDD, pretty damn delicious! 🙂 Much more affordable, much healthier but still mouthwatering!

Korean fried chicken – aka ChiMac – is “a thing” in Korea. Especially when Korean people watch baseball or soccer games, chicken delivery places get unbelievably busy. Recently, a Korean soap opera made ChiMac super popular even in China. So I’m gonna enjoy my garlic soy chicken with some cold beer. Sounds darn good, right? 😉

Orange garlic chicken – simple but great!

This chicken dish isn’t anything crazy. It literally takes less than 30 minutes to cook this delicious chicken. (Hmm.. Did I just sound like Rachel Ray? 😉 )

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What you need (serves 2): 4 chicken thighs (deboned and pounded), 2-3 cups of OJ, 2-3 table spoons of minced garlic, jalapeño bits (I used 1/2 of a whole jalapeño)

Marinate your chicken in the ingredients above all together at least for three hours. Cook the chicken in a pan and season it with salt when cooking. BAM! Dinner is served!

I am not even sure if this is blog worthy but the chicken tasted so good that I had to post this for some novice cooks like me! A great dish is never impossible! You just gotta be willing to spend 30 minutes in the kitchen!

Bulgogi (beef) – Scrumptious but simple enough to make!

The picture is from the website of a famous Korean franchise restaurant called “Bulgogi Brothers.” They haven’t opened one in the States yet unfortunately. 😦 What you see up there is Bulgogi Bibimbap. “Bul” literally means fire, “gogi” meat, “bibim” mix and “bap “rice. It’s self explanatory except for the ‘fire’ part. That came from how it’s cooked and for more information, click the link above. 🙂 Because I am too excited to reveal the recipe that’s so easy! There are more than a few different kinds of Bulgogi’s but this one is the most common and easiest one that you can make. The key is to get all the right ingredients. After that, it’s a piece of cake!

*** Recipe (2 servings) ***

<Meat>

You need thin slices of (usually) sirloin. I do have hard time finding this cut of beef at regular supermarkets. If that’s the case, go to H-Mart or an Asian grocery store nearby. They should have it and it doesn’t matter if it’s frozen. Get 1lb of the meat.

<Marinade – unit:tablespoon> FYI, everyone has a different recipe and this is my mom’s.

soy sauce (4-5), water (2), Coke or Pepsi (3), minced garlic (0.5-1), sugar or honey (1), sesame oil (0.5-1)

<Secret Ingredient>

Meat can be really chewy and here’s the ultimate meat tenderizer! Pureed KIWI! Use only half of the whole kiwi, though. Your bulgogi won’t even have big chunks if you put the whole thing – half joking. 😉 If you don’t have a kiwi, you can use half of a pear. This will add a nice tone to your marinade as well.

Now, you can mix everything together. You can put a little ground pepper as well. When you marinate the meat, you can also add onions as in the picture above. Let it sit for a couple of hours. You can even wait a day to cook it. Once you are ready to stuff your face with this deliciousness, cook it on a pan. No oil is needed. Add mushrooms (button mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms are usually good), which go perfectly well with bulgogi. Cook it until it’s ready, which doesn’t take too long.

One thing about my mom’s recipe is that “Coke” part. You can add a little more water instead of that but her bulgogi does taste gooooooooooood. 🙂 Like I said, everyone seems to have his/her own bulgogi recipe so do some experiment and find your own recipe! It’s another fun part of cooking, right? 😉 Serve it over white sticky rice maybe with some kimchi. That’s one complete meal! Enjoy!

Radish Kimchi – Novice Recipe!

It’s about time. It’s Kimchi time! Kimchi is a staple dish in Korean people’s everyday lives. I should say every meal, actually. Not only do Korean people eat this spicy, fermented vegetable side dish with every single meal, but they also cook other dishes with it and it’s a whole new level. The most common kimchi is made with napa cabbage. However, when we went to Hollins Farm in Delaplace, VA this weekend to look at their pumpkin patch, we ended up getting more things than we needed (of course), among which were radishes!

To be honest, I’d never made kimchi myself before. Looking at the fresh radishes, however, I just couldn’t let them go. I had to make kimchi with them! Plus, radish kimchi is one of the easiest to make. 🙂 With a little help of the Internet and from my mom, I managed to do it and it’s gonna taste YUMMY!! You can eat kimchi as soon as you make it but it’s supposed to be “fermented”, meaning you gotta wait!

So here’s what I did!

※ What you need: 1 big daikon radish (or the same amount of a bunch of smaller ones), 3 Tbsp of red pepper flakes, 4 Tbsp of fish sauce (Korean anchovy sauce), 1 Tbsp of minced garlic, 1/2 Tbsp of minced ginger, rice flour paste, 1 tbsp of sugar, scallions, onions, and 4-5 Tbsp of sea salt

1. Cut the stems off the roots. Clean the roots thoroughly and peel the skin if necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Dice the radishes. Sprinkle sea salt over the diced radishes and let them sit for 3 hours. Give them a little toss here and there in the meantime. The point of salting the radish is to get the moisture out of the radish so the taste doesn’t get affected by the moisture. You will be AMAZED to see how much “water” the radishes let out for three hours. Even after this step, you will see a lot of “liquid” you didn’t expect later on when your kimchi is sitting in the refrigerator. In 3 hours, rinse them and put them in a colander.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Rice flour paste! Sweet rice, aka chapssal, is usually used when making rice cakes. This flour is easily found in any Asian grocery stores. However, according to my mom, just regular flour should work as well. Mix 3 Tbsp of rice flour with the same amount of water. Turn the stove on. Mild heat. You have to keep stirring. Otherwise, it’s going to burn really fast. When the paste get to the consistency in the picture. Turn it off. Let it cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Don’t forget about the stems! Some people don’t even bother to use them. Others cook them and dry them to make another dish. But I just put them in my kimchi. Wash them thoroughly and cut them so they are about 2-3 inches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 5. Let’s mix them! As you can see, the radishes, stems, thin strips of onions, minced garlic, minced ginger, red pepper flakes, a little bit of sugar, and the rice flour paste are all getting mixed in a bowl. Of course, this is when the fish sauce goes in! I wouldn’t really try to smell the fish sauce itself. It’s pretty strong! 😉 And use your hand to mix them! Kimchi tastes so much better that way. As you can imagine, it’s got a strong flavor so I always use the plastic gloves.

 

 

 

 

 

6. Kimchi is almost ready! Get a glass jar or any glass container and put your kimchi in it. I say a glass jar because (I’m gonna be honest) once plastic containers  have kimchi in them, they are done. lol Korean people have a Gimjang day and that’s when they make all their kimchi for the year. And they use cool looking jars and bury them under ground so the kimchi get properly fermented. We don’t need to get all that fancy though. 😉 All we need is a couple of days. Afterwards, keep it refrigerated and you should be able to enjoy it within a week! Kimchi is one of those things that taste different every time. Enjoy!

Samgyeopsal, Ultimate Meatlovers’ Dish

Samgyeopsal!

The picture up there said it all. Pure delight in your mouth. Every single person in Korea has had this and vegan population in Korea is pretty insignificant probably because samgyeopsal is so irresistible!! You can’t go vegan with this meat cooking right in front of you!

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What’s cooking on the pan:

– Meat: Go to any Asian grocery store (in my case, I go to H-Mart) and look for “sliced pork belly”. It is basically thicker bacon meat that’s not cured or smoked. Frozen samgyeopsal works just fine too.

– Garlic: Slice garlic cloves and just throw them in the pan with the meat. No rules.

Kimchi: Yup. Kimchi it is. Even if you might like the strong taste of kimchi normally, you will be pleasantly surprised with the amazing taste of cooked kimchi. Trust me and try this.

– Pan? Your regular non-stick frying pan works fine but if you want to get a little fancy, try your breakfast griddle! It seems that someone made it just for samgyeopsal without telling anyone this secret! *Warning: lots of grease!

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“Triple-S” Salad – Spicy, Sweet and Sour!

It’s got all the flavors that you can imagine. Just grab a bag of any lettuce at the supermarket. I usually get red leaf and a mix of other greens. All you have to do is to toss it with this mind-blowing dressing!

Pepper flakes (2) + Soy sauce (2) + Fish sauce (1, optional) + Honey(1) + Vinegar (2) + Sugar (2) + Minced Garlic (1) + A hint of sesame oil

After tossing it nicely in a big bowl, if you are into a nice presentation, sprinkle some sesame seeds! ALL DONE!

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SoMac! = Soju + Maekju (Beer, in Korean)

A complete Samgyeopsal meal is finally served with some SoMac! Soju can be purchased pretty much at any ABC store in Virginia for $4-$6 a bottle (it’s kinda sad because it’s less than a dollar in Korea). 😦 Anyway, watch these people make SoMac. ->; So Cool! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL6oWNgAZNs

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No exaggeration. Not a month goes by without Samgyeopsal in Korea. If you have a regular job, not a week goes by without it. This is meat lovers’ ultimate pilgrimage so you should try it some time. If it’s too much headache for you to do it at home, go find any Korean style BBQ restaurant. It is one of those things that you can’t really mess up! Enjoy!

Make your own pickles! Don’t forget Soju!

There’s nothing easier than making home-made pickles! The pickled cucumbers are traditional ones that you see in the supermarket. However, the sexy, dark one on the right side is what I call “Grandma Pickles“! You know why they are great? Even my grandma, who is a notorious cook, can make these pickles and they are so yummy! So anyone can make them and they taste heavenly especially with BBQ’d meat! I usually put these pickles on the table when we have samgyeopsal! That’s a cut of pork belly and it’s gonna have to be another seperate post, if not, a book!

Here’s the simplest secret recipe >>>>>> vinegar : sugar : soy sauce : soju = 1 : 1 : 1 : 1 

You can put them all in a pot and boil. When it gets to a boil, turn it off and wait a couple minutes for it to cool down. You wanna pour the yumminess onto cut-up veggies when it’s still hot. Obviously, use a glass jar. 😉

You can pretty much pickle ANYTHING. In the picture are banana peppers (which I love!) and onions. I put a couple of garlic cloves and a few pieces of jalapenos for the flavor as well. My mom sometimes uses carrots, cucumbers and radish too, which are all great. If you don’t like anything too salty, add a half portion of water. 😉

What’s different here is the thing called SOJU! Soju is a what I call “Korean vodka”. It doesn’t really have any strong taste but Korean people for some reason seem to love this. It usually has 20% alcohol and people drink it out of shotglasses, usually in a “bottoms-up” pace. They say “Gun-Bay” or “One Shot” before they empty their glasses. How old you are really matters in Korea so if you are younger, you have to pour soju with two hands. It’s all about showing respect. It’s a dollar in Korea but you gotta pay at least $5 a bottle here in the states, depending on where you are. Most ABC stores in VA carry them so maybe get two bottles and use one for your pickels and the other for some dinner entertainment!

If you do make my GRANDMA PICKLES, keep me posted! Let me know how they come out 🙂

Yes, I eat very well!

There’s nothing better than smelling your steak cooking, especially when that’s done by someone else other than you 😉 I sometimes have no choice but to eat whatever that’s served and it was steak with mushrooms and zucchini. I used to hate mushrooms but, when served with steak, mushrooms are great! So here are some tips for you mushroom lovers!

♧ Garlic Oil : Remember that garlic minced and frozen in the tupperware (Click HERE to see the post)? Cook the garlic in oil before you put your veggies in the pan so you get that awesome garlic flavor in your veggies without actually chewing up garlic bits in your mouth.

No one likes small stuff! : Don’t cut your mushrooms too small because they are going to shrink once they are cooked. Mushrooms are all water. If they are decent sized and cooked well, they are nicely caramelized with the inside still soft and delicious.

Everyone likes hot stuff! : No. 1 “saute” rule! Make sure your pan is sizzling hot before you put those mushrooms in. You eat your food with your mouth but at the same time it’s gotta be eye-pleasing too. And a hot pan gives you that sexy color to your delicious food.

(BTW, I think I need new plates… Food is exciting but it seems to be always the same plate! lol)

When you think you have nothing, you have something!

I have been so busy recently that I didn’t even get to post anything this week!! That’s unheard of. So here we go.

When we are all too busy with work during the weekdays, it goes without saying that we barely have time to go food-shopping or even cook. Then, you end up getting BK on the way home or calling Domino’s for some pizza (not that it’s morally wrong). However, I manage to cook something even though it might be something super simple.

My secret? Garlic and pepper in the freezer!

When I go some serious grocery shopping, I get a lot of bulbs of garlic and peppers-usually jalapenos. I chop them up (BTW, mind you, use your common sense. Use gloves or something when you chop up those spicy peppers. They could seriously injure you and your beloved family at the same time!). Put them in a tupperware and freeze them.

When you have a boring piece of chicken breast and you have no idea what to do with it, put some soy sauce or any kind of seasoning that you like and add a little bit of garlic that you have in your freezer, the meaningless chicken breast gets transformed into a whole new meaning of your life. (You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you?….)

So, when you have just 10 minutes after you put away all the shopping bags from Giant or Harris Teeter or Whole Foods, do a little chopping with a little caution, you will always have something that can make your dish taste much better!