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{Non-Recipe Post} Travelogue 2013 | 14 Days South Korea Itinerary

6 Jan

Well, hellooo everybody!

It sure has been a long time since I was here. Hope everyone ushered 2014 on a good note 🙂

Anyway, I do owe some of my readers and Facebook friends — my 14 Days South Korea itinerary ever since I came back in June 2013! Yes, it took me that long to sit down, be disciplined and update the itinerary. Sorry that I took so long… my bad 😦

As this was our second time travelling to South Korea, we pretty much knew where we wanted to go. Prior to our two-week long vacation, we did some research on the places of interest. The key word here is GOOGLE.

You need to identify what you intend to see or even food that you want to eat. Because all these play a dominant role in your itinerary. You also need to confirm the place(s) where you will be staying so that you can map out your route(s) for the day.

Here was our itinerary for last year’s travelogue (please click on the link below the picture).

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Travelogue 2013 | 14 Days South Korea Itinerary

Please bear in mind that we veered from our original plan partly because of the bad weather we encountered while we were there.

For the places that I missed out last year, I will surely include them in the upcoming South Korea trip due end February 2014! Yup, I’m heading there again for the 3rd time. So, stay tuned folks 😉

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As always, I remain…

Devotedly yours,
Liza Hassan

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Dubu Salad (Korean Tofu Salad)

29 Sep

The family especially love the Korean Cold Tofu whenever we dined at Seoul Garden Hotpot, IMM. But this home made rendition which I chanced upon at my favourite Korean food blog, got me curious and I decided to give this a shot. The most common way that Koreans eat tofu is to boil or pan-fry the tofu and serve with a soy dipping sauce, called yangnyumjang.

In this particular recipe, I simply drizzled the sauce over the boiled tofu and added my favourite butterhead lettuce. You can actually use any type of salad mix, up to your preference.

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Ingredients

  • 1 package soft or silken firm tofu
  • Butterhead lettuce or salad mix, up to your preference

Sauce (Yangnyumjang)

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 scallions chopped

Directions

Mix all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Wash the butterhead lettuce (or salad mix) and drain. In a medium size pot, bring about 4 cups of water to a boil and add the tofu. Cover and boil for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Carefully transfer the tofu to a colander to drain and cool. Cut the tofu into two blocks. Cut each block into about 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange the butterhead lettuce (or salad mix) and tofu slices on a plate. Drizzle the sauce over the dish when ready to serve.

Dakdoritang (Korean Spicy Chicken Stew)

29 Sep

Nowadays, I like to cook Korean dishes whenever I have the time to do so. I actually have cooked this dish prior to my trip to Seoul, South Korea in May/June 2013. Dakdoritang (닭도리탕) is a chicken dish that’s cooked in a spicy red sauce along with vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions.

This spicy chicken stew is best served with piping hot rice and kimchi as the side dish. Trust me, this is such an easy recipe because you simply put everything in a pot and wait for it to cook. The result is succulent pieces of chicken packed with spicy and savoury flavours!

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Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into small pieces (excess fat removed)
  • 3 – 4 potatoes, cut into big chunks
  • 2 carrots, cut into big chunks
  • 1 large onion, cut into big chunks
  • 4 – 5 plump garlic cloves
  • 2 – 3 thinly sliced ginger pieces
  • 2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons Korean red chili pepper paste (gochujang)
  • A pinch of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Directions
Add 1 1/2 – 2 cups of water to a large pot along with the chicken and the sauce (except the sesame seed oil and sesame seeds). Stir well. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the vegetables (except the scallions). Cover, and cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook, uncovered this time, until the chicken is tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the scallions, sesame oil and sesame seeds right before turning off the heat.

Kimchi Jeon (Kimchi Pancake)

9 Nov

On a cold rainy day, I like to make kimchi jeon (kimchi pancake) for a snack. Since I still had a container of kimchi that I made previously, I decided to whip this up for the family. I have since made three batches and experimented with the ingredients.

It’s up to you really if you wish to add chilli padi or seafood into the batter. I added thinly sliced Korean fishcake and crabmeat sticks and these two really packed in a lot of flavour into the kimchi jeon 😉

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup Korean pancake mix (or 1 1/4 cup flour)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water (1/4 cup more if not using juice from kimchi)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced kimchi
  • 1/4 cup juice from the kimchi (if available)
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 1 Korean fishcake, thinly sliced
  • 3 – 4 crabmeat sticks, thinly sliced
  • 3 – 5 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • Sugar & salt, to taste

Directions

Prepare batter by mixing the first four ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Heat oil in a non-stick pan over medium low heat. Ladle the mixture into the pan and spread it evenly into a thin round shape. Cook until the bottom is light golden brown (about 3 – 4 minutes).

Turn it over, adding more oil, press it down with a spatula, and cook for another 3 – 4 minutes until the other side is light golden brown. Repeat the process until there is no remaining mixture. Serve hot with chilli sauce, if desired.

Bibimbap (Korean Rice Bowl with Vegetables and Chicken)

27 May

Here is another Korean dish that I truly love, Bibimbap. Basically, it is a large bowl of rice topped with an array of individually prepared vegetables and chicken (or beef) and served with seasoned red pepper paste (gochujang). If you can serve this in a sizzling hot stone bowl, that would be highly recommended. But since I don’t have stone bowls at home, I opted for claypots instead. It works equally fine 😉

This recipe looks long indeed as there are plenty of side dishes to be included. But if you want the easy way out, you can just make 3 – 4 toppings as desired.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 250 grams chicken (or beef)
  • 4oo grams mung bean sprouts
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1 packet shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 eggs
  • 7 garlic cloves
  • 2 or 3 scallions, chopped
  • light soya sauce
  • sesame oil
  • roasted sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil

Red pepper paste (gochujang) sauce

  • 4 tablespoons of Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons of water

Directions

Cook the rice in a rice cooker, using a little less water than called for. The rice for bibimbap should be a little drier than usual. Prepare all other ingredients.

Assemble: Place a serving of rice in a big bowl. (If using a stone bowl, heat it on medium heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and rice and cook the rice for several minutes until the rice sizzles.) Nicely arrange a small amount of each prepared vegetable and chicken (or beef) over the rice. Drizzle a little sesame oil over. Top with an egg fried sunny-side up and serve with the red pepper paste sauce.

Chicken / Beef / Shiitake mushrooms: Cut into thin 2-inch long strips. Mix in 1 tablespoon of light soya sauce, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of chopped scallion, 2 cloves garlic minced and a pinch of pepper. Marinate for 20 minutes. Sauté in a skillet for 2 – 3 minutes over high heat.

Mung bean sprouts: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil with a teaspoon of salt. Add the bean sprouts and boil for 3 minutes. Drain quickly and shock in cold water to stop cooking. Drain again. Toss with 1 clove garlic minced, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds and salt and pepper to taste.

Spinach: Blanch the spinach in salted boiling water only until wilted, 30 – 40 seconds. Drain quickly and shock in cold water. Squeeze out water. Cut into 3-inch lengths. Toss with 1 tablespoon of chopped scallion, 1 clove garlic minced, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds and salt and pepper to taste.

Zucchinis: Cut the zucchinis in half lengthwise and then thinly slice crosswise. Generously sprinkle salt over sliced zucchinis and set aside for 10 – 15 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid from salted zucchini by hand. Add 1 tablespoon of chopped scallion and 1 clove garlic minced. Sauté in a lightly oiled skillet for 1 – 2 minutes over medium high heat.

Carrots: Julienne the carrots into match sticks. Sauté in a lightly oiled skillet for 1 – 2 minutes over medium high heat, sprinkling salt and pepper to taste.

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.

Tteokbokki (Spicy Stir-fried Rice Cakes)

27 May

I love this Korean street food the most! And I had the pleasure of having it on my recent Korea trip 😉

I prefer the spicy kind and you will find this almost everywhere on the streets of Korea. You can also include other ingredients such as ramen, boiled eggs and even seafood. These spicy, slightly sweet and chewy rice cakes are simply addictive! I have since made this twice, prior to my very first authentic Tteokbokki. And I can foresee this becoming a hot favourite with the family members.

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for you folks. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 kilogram tteokbokki tteok (about 3-inch long rice cake pieces)
  • 1 packet of fish cake
  • 100 grams cabbage
  • 1 – 2 scallions
  • 3 cups anchovy broth
  • 3 tablespoons Korean red chili pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 1 – 3 teaspoons Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1 tablespoon light soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Directions

Cut the fish cake, cabbage and scallions into about 2-inch long pieces.

Add the anchovy broth to a large pan. Stir in the sauce ingredients except the sesame oil and sesame seeds. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the red chili pepper paste (gochujang)

Add the rice cakes. Boil until the rice cakes become very soft and the sauce is thickened, about 8 – 10 minutes. Stir frequently so the rice cakes don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the vegetables and fish cakes. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for an additional 4 – 6 minutes. Taste the sauce, and adjust the seasoning if needed. Add the sesame oil and sesame seeds right before turning the heat off. Serve immediately. 

Tteokbokki doesn’t reheat well in the microwave. Reheat any leftovers, along with a little bit of broth or water, in a small pan over low heat.

Jajangmyeon (Noodles in Black Bean Sauce)

27 May

I have been curious about Korean cuisine lately, all thanks to the eating scenes of the Korean dramas that I have been watching. And there is always the delivery scene whereby Jajangmyeon (Noodles in Black Bean Sauce) is being served. Basically, it is a sweet and savory noodle dish and a very popular Korean-Chinese noodle dish. I just had to google for the recipe, buy the necessary ingredients and start cracking.

I had to substitute the noodles with instant ones as I couldn’t find fresh jajangmyeon noodles. The other alternative is to use fresh udon noodles but my sister detests that alot. So, instant noodles it shall be then 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2 – 3 packets of instant noodles
  • 5 tablespoons Korean black bean paste (chunjang or jjajang)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 150 grams chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 100 grams cabbage
  • 1/2 zucchini (can substitute with carrot)
  • cucumber matchsticks for garnish (optional)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour* dissolved in 1/4 cup of water (*use up to 2 tablespoons for a thicker sauce)

Directions

Prepare the chicken and vegetables by cutting them into cubes. Marinate the chicken with ginger, salt and pepper while preparing the vegetables.

Add the black bean paste to a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, sugar and oyster sauce. Fry it over medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Heat a large pan with the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil over high heat. Add the chicken and stir fry until almost cooked. Add the vegetables and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in the black bean paste and mix everything together until all the meat and vegetables are coated well with the paste.

Pour in the chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium high and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the dissolved corn flour and cook briefly until the sauce is thickened. Add more sugar to taste if necessary.

Add the instant noodles in a pot of boiling water. Cook according to the package instructions and drain. Do not overcook. The noodles should have a firm bite to them. Place a serving size of noodles in each bowl. Spoon the sauce over the noodles and garnish with the optional cucumber matchsticks.