I noted them down while a bunch of us clueless girlies observed Helen's cooking for the first time. She took us to Geoje-do for the weekend to stay in her very generous friend's apartment, the results were fantastic! Her friend offered us the apartment for the weekend as her family were away in Seoul. It turned out though that Helen and her friend had got the dates confused, so her husband was hiding in his bedroom for most of the weekend, while we drank and ate. We were trying to be as discreet as possible but you know what it can be like when a bunch of women get together! Terrible!!! But he was very well humored and we felt very welcome!
We made a variety of delicious Korean dishes and to top it off made some chocolate chip cookies for dessert!
Here we go then!
Helen's Dak Dori Tang (Chicken mixed stew)
This can be made using Chicken thighs and legs or tofu for a veggie alternative.
Ingredients for the Dak Dori Tang sauce.
(Amounts should vary to your taste).
Chili powder and paste
Add any roughly chopped vegetables you like such as potatoes, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.
For extra flavor add sliced onions, spring onions, and fresh green chilies.
Simply put everything in a pan, cover with water and leave to boil on a high temperature for around 25 minutes. Serve! Pretty easy really!
When you have picked out all the larger ingredients, you can add cooked noodles to the sauce and share from one big pot. Helen also suggested that you could save the left over sauce and add it to cooked rice. You can then fry the whole lot up to make bokkeumbap (another traditional Korean dish). This is apparently extra special if you add mozzarella cheese.
Helen's Pajeon (savoury pancake)
This is a kind of savoury pancake and is actually my favourite Korean food. It is really tasty and fresh and quite easy to make. The only bad thing is it's fried but you could use a really good oil to make it slightly healthier. It is still pretty healthy. There are numerous variations or you can make it up as you go along.
Basic Pancake mixture
2 cups of flour
1 cup of water
Pinch of salt
Mix the ingredients into a bowl and try to make a smooth paste.
For flavour add diced onion and garlic.
Add your onions garlic, spring onions, and chopped seafood to the pancake mix and then fry in a little oil in a frying pan. Make sure you flatten the ingredients and be careful when turning as it can break up. Chop the pancake up with scissors and serve with the dipping sauce (below).
Add the same onions, garlic, spring onions and shredded carrots or finely chopped mushrooms to the pancake mix. Take some fresh kimchi, squeeze the water out of this before adding and roughly chop into small pieces with scissors. Add to the pancake mix. Cook as before.
Add the onions, garlic and any finely chopped veggies you like. Cook as above.
Soy sauce: water: vinegar ratio 1:1:1. Add a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt.
Helen's Dwen jang jjigae (soybean stew)
Thanks to Anmri, I discovered this dish early on as one of the few staple things I can eat in a meat restaurant. It is usually served as an accompaniment to samgyeopsal (BBQ pork) so when Tom is feeling meaty, I can always order this with a degree of safety. Some times there is the odd crab floating around inside but I have got used to those little guys.
Cold water/stock, enough to cover the base of a 2 pint dish.
1 heaped table spoon of dwenjang paste.
Potato thinly sliced
Dissolve the dwenjang paste into the cold water, add the potato and seafood and bring to the boil for 10-15 minutes. Add the other ingredients, and boil for a further 5 minutes.
Serve with rice. You can add hot pepper or gim (shredded seaweed paper) at the end for extra flavour but I prefer without. I take a spoon of rice and dip it into the stew as it is often served still boiling and the rice acts as a coolant.
Mandu come in many varieties and are basically stuffed dumplings. They can be steamed or fried, and are served with the same dipping sauce used for pajeon. At school the fried versions have been served in a red pepper paste. Most Korean mandu have gogi (meat, generally ground pork) inside, so it is refreshing being able to make my own so I can actually eat some!!
You will need to some mandu pasta circles. These are very similar to wanton discs which you should be able to find in a big supermarket or a Chinese market.
Stuffing for kimchi mandu.
1 block of tofu
A handful of Kimchi, squeezed of water and chopped up with scissors into small pieces.
pinch of pepper. No salt as this is in the kimchi.
3 spring onions.
Stuffing Ingredients for meat mandu
170g Ground beef
3 spring onions
half block tofu
You can add chopped shrimps, white fish or tuna to the kimchi stuffing if you like but be careful not to over stuff the mandu and reduce the amount of tofu accordingly.
Combine all the ingredient in a bowl until mixed well.
Place a teaspoon full of the stuffing into the center of the mandu disc. Add a little water to the outer edge and seal together. You can seal into a semi circle or try a tortellini style fold. I have tried to add some pictures for reference.
Place in a steamer and steam for 10 minutes. They can be frozen in their uncooked state and then steamed for around 15 mins. This has been useful for tired Saturday afternoons when we can't be bothered to cook.
Again serve with this dipping sauce:
Soy sauce: water: vinegar, in ratio 1:1:1.
Add a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt.
There you have it! Enjoy!