As a big fan of Korean BBQ, particularly the do-it-yourself aspect of it, I decided to try to make it for dinner. My boyfriend was a week away from taking the California Bar exam, so he needed to load up on brain food. Not sure if Korean BBQ would be characterized as "brain food," but it seemed to be a good diversion from studying.
Fortunately for us, there is a great Korean market right down the street from us -- Greenland Korean Market --, so I was able to pick up all the ingredients I needed for our dinner. While I was there, I also grabbed some things I was going to need for our Shabu Shabu night. [FYI: the Korean BBQ and Shabu Shabu dishes I am making this week are not part of my New Years Resolution, as I've made them before.]
Here's what my shopping list for our Korean-themed dinner looked like:
- Pork Belly
- Soy Bean Paste
- Red Leaf Lettuce
- Green Onions
- Sesame Seeds
Hot Pepper Paste(already had some at home)
I have to thank Maangchi for posting all her authentic Korean recipes online and making them available to those who want to learn to cook Korean dishes. From her website, I used her recipes to make: Pajori (Green Onion Salad) and Ssamjang (Soybean Paste Dipping Sauce), Kimchi Fried Rice, and Gye Ram Jjim (Steamed Egg).
Let's begin, shall we...
Ingredients for Pajori with my addition of lettuce.
The dressing for the Pajori is made from soy sauce, sesame sauce (I used both hot and regular), garlic, toasted sesame seeds & sugar.
Dressing for Pajori
Ssamjang (Soybean Paste Dipping Sauce)
I also added some soy sauce to the soybean paste dipping sauce, just out of preference.
Ingredients for Kimchi Fried Rice.
A quick tip: it's best to used day old rice to make fried rice, as the hardened texture gives it nice consistency. I sauteed the day old rice with a little oil, garlic, kimchi, and some pork belly that I had cut up into bite sized pieces.
Here I've added the green onions and hot pepper paste which gave the rice and nice reddish tint.
Gye Ran Jjim (steamed egg). Only made with 4 basic ingredients. Water, eggs, green onion and salt. The authentic recipes calls for salted shrimp sauce or fish sauce but we didn't have that on hand so I just used some salt. Who knew this was so easy to make!
Steamed egg mixed and ready to be cooked in the microwave on high for 5 minutes.
No BBQ grill at the house, so we used the good ol' Foreman (which could have been the Hogan, if things played out differently) to cook the pork belly.
Gye Ran Jjim
Starting from the blue bowl going clockwise: Pajori, Gye Ran Jjim, Kimchi, Sesame oil with Salt and Pepper, Kimchi Fried Rice, Pork Belly, and Ssamjang. Yes that's some pretty awesome presentation, but like the saying goes, "You eat with your eyes first," hence the effort in the plating.
Kimchi Fried Rice
It might seem like this whole dinner would take long to prepare, but actually only the cutting of the vegetables took a while. Otherwise, everything else I did was measure and mix ingredients the recipes called for. All in all, it was a great dinner. My boyfriend loved it, as we didn't have to venture out to get a Korean BBQ fix, but instead, enjoy it in the comfort of our home. And while it wasn't "brain food," per se, it was a great distraction to studying!
If you're a fan of Korean food, you should definitely take some time to peruse Maangchi website and try out some of her recipes. Hey if I can do it, so can you!
Stay beautiful, and stay hungry!