Category Archives: Korean food

Why Korean food should be on your menu

butternutWhether you are a student, living alone, living with others, bringing up a family or, y’know, just need to eat, we can all agree that eating well these days is more effort and expense than ever. We’ve become so used to being fed garbage food that claims to be good for us, while slowly poisoning us with colours, flavours, preservatives and other chemicals we need not ingest. It is alarming how we are becoming less and less aware of the contents of our food with every year and so many people don’t even beg the question of what they are putting in their bodies.

No wonder the modern world is plagued with cancer, obesity and other illnesses that would have been rarely seen once upon a time.
Now, I could go on about the evils of big corporations and how they manipulate their products in order to control their consumers, but I’m more interested in helping you find solutions.

Now, as you have probably come to realise from the blog, I am a massive lover of Korean food. While being generally quite enjoyable to make, it also has other benefits:

Flexible

I am yet to find a Korean recipe that has one fixed method of preparation. Everyone seems to have their own little tricks and variations on the recipes that I have not come across a single recipe that I haven’t enjoyed.
There is room to play with your ingredients and method that you have so many ways to make your recipe suit your needs.

Relaxing

IMG_0456.JPGI know in our “all go” age we rarely stop to enjoy the process of doing day-to-day tasks but, speaking as someone who is often in a rush and eager to finish the task at hand, I find Korean cooking incredibly relaxing.
There’s nothing quite like the meditative state I slip into while rolling Hobakjuk balls or the calm of chopping the vegetables for kimchi. I love it and I feel all the better for taking that little bit of time to enjoy the moment.

Delicious

Korean food is, in my opinion, the tastiest food there is. I have never been as satisfied as I am when I eat Korean food as it is the perfect balance of taste, texture and temperature.
The grilled meats are to die for and the vegetable dishes have given me a love for some vegetables that I had hated for 20 years!

Healthy

As well as tasting incredible, so many Korean dishes are actually really good for you. despite loving their salt, Korean food is some of the best you can have. Kimchi, a side dish that is eaten with almost every meal, has recently gained recognition around the world as a super food that is known to be insanely good for you.
Also, if you prepare your meals from scratch, you are also aware and in control of what goes into your food, such as salt and sugar.

Cheap

11696527_850932034991471_1306743554_nPossibly the biggest draw of all, Korean food is generally very cheap to make. I can make easily enough Hobakjuk (Butternut squash rice porridge) to last me a week for £5 or less, because the recipe is so simple. And £5 can easily keep you in supply of kimchi for weeks (or months, depending on how much you eat).
Korean food is such an easy hobby for me because it’s so fantastically cheap, which also makes it accessible for anyone. What money you could spend on instant noodles and burgers that offer little to no nutrition, can go an incredibly long way with the right recipes and storage.

So, there are just a few of the benefits of cooking and enjoying Korean food. If you have any questions on preparation, ingredients or storage of Korean food or want some recipe suggestions to suit you, I will be more than happy to help!
I will have more Korean recipes coming very soon! In the meantime, have an excellent day and take care! Xx

Making 호박죽 (Korean butternut squash rice porridge) and Discovering Maangchi!

butternutIn Korea, 죽 ‘juk’ dishes are savoury porridges made from rice. Some are the same consistency of porridge or oatmeal, while others are more like soup with dumplings of rice. Juk is a popular comfort food in Korea and is commonly eaten when ill as it is simple and easy on the stomach, but tasty and good for the body.

While Juk is usually homemade, you can easily buy instant mix in Korea – however, it is incredibly salty!! It is best served warm, but most dishes can be enjoyed cold.

 

My first experiences of ‘juk’ were packets of instant 소고기죽 (Beef porridge) and, while saltier than a mouthful of seawater, was really nice! I’d never had any experience of savoury porridge before, so it was very new to me. When I started making it, I was dubious that the mix would even work. It seemed too small a quantity and too fine to expand into anything substantial, but sure enough it worked! This made me curious about how hard it could be to make it myself.

Being a big fan of butternut squash, I was so happy when I saw a recipe online for 호박죽. But this rice porridge was different from the one I tried. Instead of being an oatmeal-y mix, it seemed to be a kind of soup with dumplings. But, instead of suit, wheat flour and herbs, these dumplings were made of just sweet rice flour, water and a pinch of salt!

It’s so simple, but SO good

The recipe I used came from a lovely website and Youtube channel called Maangchi, which teaches a wide array of Korean recipes.

©Maangchi
©Maangchi

Maangchi is funny, cute, an incredibly talented cook and beautiful (inside and out). Her videos and articles sharing her recipes are clear and fun to make – and all delivered with charisma and a unique sparkle!

 

After one try, the 호박죽 turned out perfectly. And I can see why it is considered such a good comfort food! It’s so wholesome, yet simple! It’s not too rich, yet it’s so satisfying.

And Maangchi has literally hundreds of other fantastic recipes to try, including:

Roast Seaweed snacks

Korean style fried chicken

And Jjajangmyeon (짜장면)

After the brilliant success of the 호박죽, I will definitely be trying as many of her recipes as I can!

Make sure to subscribe to Maangchi, as well as follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

Have you tried any of Maangchi’s dishes? Share photos with us on the Learn With Amy Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and make sure to tag Maangchi so she can see your handiwork!

Good luck!

My first Korean restaurant experience!


littlek1web
Restaurant: Little Korea

Location: London’s China Town

Rating: **

Wow! So…. Not a great start to my first ever restaurant review!

Okay, so I ate at Little Korea while on a recent trip to good ol’ London. I went in super excited, ready to discover a new place, eat some good food and speak some Korean. Everything was looking good to begin with… Then things went down hill.

I must say now – the food was just fine. Everything tasted spot on, prices were very reasonable for central London and I didn’t get food poisoning (Always a delight). The only thing that soured things was the service.

Now, I am an understanding lady, I’m a waitress myself and I occasionally know what it feels like not to want to go to work and face a lot of people… but the staff at this place were honestly the rudest that I’ve ever met.

As well as outright ignoring people and being generally sharp toned and careless, when not doing anything, the staff would glare at the customers and try to do their best to rush them out of the place. The service was way too hasty for such a small place (which by the looks of it seats less than 30 people anyway) and they kept pestering customers to finish their meals, despite there still being plenty of free tables and no real demand for the space. They were so rushing, that they actually tried clearing plates that customers were still eating from!

I know people go out to eat for the food, but a big part of it is also the experience and it can really ruin it to be intimidated by rude and careless staff.

I’d eaten breakfast quite late, so all I ordered was seaweed soup (미역국), kimchii (김치) and rice (밥). The food itself was just fine and I couldn’t fault it and in total the whole lot (soup, kimchi, rice and 1 coke) only came to about £11.30 (including the automatic 10% service charge) so it was a very cheap lunch.

I would have been so happy if the service quality had matched the food (which would’ve won an easy 4*) and I would love to want to go back there, but I think the way the staff were towards me and the other customers ensures that, regardless of how good and cheap the food is, I won’t be going back there again.

I’m sorry to say that Little Korea was a big disappointment!

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