Can’t remember when Korean food overtook Japanese as my favorite Asian cuisine, but I do crave for it now more than the other. There are a lot of Korean restaurants in Manila, but the problem is I always find it hard to tag along my friends there. You see, everybody likes dimsum but not everyone acquires the taste for kimchi. Moreover, the average you can spend for a meal by your lonesome in a Korean resto is P300 – quite expensive for an office worker, tee hee. So I guessed the next best thing was to figure out how to cook their cuisine.
The first sensible thing to do is to visit the Korean grocery. Most of the ingredients just can’t be found anywhere. Am lucky that I work in the tourist district of Ermita because there are a lot of stores here. I found out too that there are a lot of quality shops in Paranaque, but that’s for another post:D
Easily, the most common perception is that Korean food is uber-spicy – which is true in some aspects. But the popular bulgogi certainly is not. And so is this luscious piece of steak which is my own version of beef kalbi (or galbi). The beef ribs that was supposed to be used for this dish was at an astronomical P800 per kilo, so I substituted with T-bone steak instead. The meat was marinated overnight in cooking wine and other ingredients, then topped with crushed Korean pear for greater tenderness and flavor. The result was a T-bone Kalbi that was bordering on deliciously salty and sweet. It definitely made our Sunday lunch a mouth-watering one!
Kimchi chigae is another popular Korean dish. I even like the one where they put slices of Spam in it. This one I made uses canned tuna, and the oil or brine is even added to the soup to give it even more flavor. For this dish, you need kimchi (of course), slices of soft tofu, the broth from the kimchi, red pepper powder and several more slices of pepper. When you want an alternative to healthy eating, this is it. Caution: uber-hot!!!!
This kimchi ramen might as well be my comfort food for the rainy season. Nothing like spicy soup to beat the doldrums that usually goes with foul weather. This is easy to make too. Just buy a pack of instant Korean noodles (like the Nong Shim Brand), add kimchi and the flavorings that go with the noodle pack to boiling water, then top with egg, green onion and nori or dried seaweed, if desired 😉
If you’re a noodle lover like me, the chapchae should be a welcome addition to the noodle varieties you’re already enjoying. I like this one because it tastes different from the Chinese or Filipino pancit we are accustomed to. You can add beef, but if you want to be more vegetarian, the spinach, mushrooms and sweet pepper should do just fine. Like other Korean dishes, this one also borders on salty and sweet because a little salt and sugar are added to the mix. Chap chae is love <3
I will try to make a part 2 of this Korean cooking series. Of course, I will try to post the recipes in my other food blog. The only problem is, I haven’t updated that blog in ages 😀 The gist of the matter is that Korean cookery is fairly easy and tasty too. No need to spend a lot of money too since you can enjoy it at home. You just probably have to labor in the kitchen for their banchan or assortment of appetizers. Even then, good ol’ kimchi will do 😉