Saturday, May 28, 2011

Baechu Kimchi (Korean Spicy Pickled Napa Cabbage)


Prep time: 5-6 hrs + 30 mins
Spicy pickled and fermented Napa cabbage is the most popular and recognizable form of kimchi.  It is not only good as a side dish to almost every Korean meal, but it is also the foundation for many soups, stews, stir fries, and rice dishes.

Cure time: 2-3 days

Napa cabbage, ~1.5kg size, cut into quarters or 2" wedges, 2 units
Coarse salt*, 300g

Stuffing Paste Mixture:
Korean dried shrimp**, 90g
Kochukaru (Korean chilli pepper powder), 70g
Onion, cleaned & peeled & finely chopped, 100g
Garlic, cleaned & peeled & finely chopped, 7 cloves
Ginger, 1 inch size, cleaned & peeled & finely chopped, 1 pc
Radish, cleaned & peeled & finely chopped, 300g
Scallion, cleaned & cut into 1" length, 2 stalks
Salt, 2 tbsp
Sugar, 2 tbsp

* Can substitue with Kosher salt
** Can substitute with fish sauce

1. Mix napa cabbage with coarse salt in large non-metal bowl.  Toss well, then cover with clingwrap and set aside to stand for 5-6 hrs.

2. After 5-6 hrs, the cabbage should be soften.  Rinse cabbage under water and squeeze out as much water as possible to remove excess curing salt.

3. Mix well all stuffing paste ingredients.  Place stuffing between softened cabbage leaves, starting with largest leaf to smallest, working from outside in.  Do not overstuff, but make sure radish mixture adequately fills leaves.  When entire cabbage is stuffed, take one of the larger leaves and wrap tightly around the rest of the cabbage.  Divide cabbage among 4 (1-quart) jars or 1-gallon jar, pressing down firmly to remove any air bubbles.  Cover with lid and let it stand to ferment for 2-3 days in dark & cool place before serving.  Open lid occasionally to release pressure from carbon dioxide formed during fermentation

4. Remove Kimchi from jar and cut into 1" length piece.  Tranfer to a new container and keep in refrigerator.

1. For kimchi fermented <3 wks, it can be eaten straight.

2. For kimchi fermented >4 wks, it will be too fermented to eat straight.  It is recommended to use it instead in cooking, e.g. stew, pancake, fried rice, etc.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Manul Changaji (Korean Pickled Spring Garlic)


This banchan (side dish) is crunchy, salty and a little spicy.  Though not a flashy banchan, but is almost universally loved among Koreans.

Prep time: 15 mins
Cure time: 3 wks

Young garlic, cleaned, peeled & keep whole,

Prickling Solution:
Light soy sauce, 3 parts
Rice vinegar, 1 part
Sugar, 1 part

1. Placed cleaned whole garlic in pickling jar with good cover.  Fill jar with water till it covers 2/3 of the garlic cloves.  Then pour out water and measure its quantiy.  This will be the quantity of light soy sauce needed.

2. For pickling solution, use 3 part light soy sauce with 1 part vinegar and 1 part sugar.  Bring prickling solution to boil and allow to simmer for 10 mins.  Then allow to cool before pour into the pickling jar containing garlic cloves.  Ensure all garlics are completely covered in pickling solution.  Keep at room temperature for 3 wks.

3. Keep in refrigerator after opening the pickling jar.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Duk Boki (Korean Spicy Rice Cake)


Duk Boki is a popular Korean street food, which is cylindrical rice cake (= duk in Korean) covered in thick & spicy sauce.  It is also eaten as casual meal at home or as a drinking snack.  Recipe here used fish cake and Napa cabbage as cooking ingredients, but it is also possible to include meat of choice, or just with vegetable of choice for the vegetarian verson.

Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook time: 15 mins
Serves ~4

Cylindrical rice cake (duk), cut into 2" length & soaked in water for 1 hr, 500g
Napa cabbage, cleaned & cut into 1" squares, 500g
Fish cake*, ~150g size, cut into half then slices, 2 pcs
Shitake mushroom, soaked then sliced, 3 pcs 

Water, 3 cups
Kochujang (hot chilli pepper sauce)**, 1 tbsp
Kochukaru (hot chilli pepper powder)***, 1 tsp
Sugar, 1 tbsp
Light soy sauce, 1½ tbspGarlic, minced, 1 tsp (~2 cloves)

* I used the giant fried fish cake bought from Tiong Bahru Fried Fish Ball stall in Singapore in this recipe
** & *** If not using Kochukaru, may increase Kochujang used from 1 tbsp to 2-4 tbsp, according to preferred spiciness

1. While soaking the rice cakes, cut cabbage and prepare other ingredients needed.

2. Mix all sauce ingredients and bring to boil in a big saucepan.  Stir occasionally as sauce will slowly thicken throughout cooking time.

3. Add in fish cake, stir well and bring to boil again.

4. Add in rice cake and remaining ingredients, and mix well with the sauce.  When boils, simmer for 3 mins and then turn off heat.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dendeng Manis (Sweet Beef Jerky)


Beef jerky, presoaked in cold water till softened and drained, 500g
Bay leaf, 4 pcs
Salt, 1 tsp

Red chilli, deseeded, 10 pcs
Shallot, peeled, 8 units
Garlic, peeled, 4 cloves

1. Cut each softened beef jerky into 4x4cm pc.  Then deep fry all quickly in hot cooking oil and drain.  Set aside for use later.

2. Pound all sambal ingredients into paste.  Stir fry with little cooking oil till aromatic, then add in bay leaves and prepared beef jerky.  Stir well and add salt to taste.

1. Serve with warm rice.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Source: Eunice Quek, recipe published in Sunday Times (Lifestyle section) dated 5 Dec 2010

Tiramisu, literally means "pull me up", is one of the most popular Italian cakes.  It is made of biscuits dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of egg yolks and mascarpone, and flavored with liquor and cocoa powder.  Use of cocoa powder at the top is both a garnish as well as a bitter counterpoint to the sweetened cream mixture.  It is possible to top with cocoa powder, if desired, before placing 2nd layer of soaked sponge fingers. 

Egg yolk, 6 units
Castor sugar, 50g
Whipping Cream, 500ml
Mascarpone Cheese, 500ml
Kahlua, optional, 1 shot
Brandy, optional, 1-2 tbsp
Baileys Irish Cream, optional, 1 shot
Amarettto, optional, 1-2 tbsp
Sponge finger, 24 pcs
Chilled expresso, 1 litre
Cocoa powder

1. Whisk egg yolk and sugar in metal bowl over water of minimum 70 degC till they are pale yellow.  Leave to cool.

2. Chill metal bowl in freezer for half an hour.  Whisk Whipping Cream in chilled bowl till it forms stiff peaks. 

3. Fold Mascarpone Cheese and Whipping Cream into egg/sugar mixture.

4. Add brandy and/or Kahlua to mixture.

5. Fold mixture a few times before whisking again to combine thoroughly.  Ensure cream sticks to spatula with trails and no lumps of Mascarpone remains.

6. Add Armaretto and/or Baileys to chilled expresso just before dipping in the sponge fingers.  Length of soaking depends on individual's liking.  Lay soaked spong fingers across bottom of a 9" x 4" container, till fully covered.

7. Spread one layer of prepared cream.  Repeat with one more layer of soaked sponge fingers and top up with remaining cream.

8. Leave to set in refrigerator for 8 hrs before serving.  Best consume within 2 days.

1. Sift cocoa powder over Tiramisu before serving.

Corned Beef Fried Rice

Source:  Tan Hsueh Yun, recipe published in Sunday Times (Lifestyle section) dated 28 Nov 2010

To serve fried rice dish, its preparation work started one day before serving.  For best result, excess moisture from steamed rice must be lost before frying.  This is achieved by storing the rice in refrigerator overnight.

Serves 4

Lemongrass, 4 stalks
Kafir lime leave, 8 pcs
Long grain rice, 3 cups
Water, to cook rice, 3 cups
Red onion, peeled and finely chopped, 1 unit
Long bean, discard both ends and cut into ½ cm sections, 8 pcs
Red fresh chilli, diagonally sliced, 4 pcs
Corned beef*, roughly chopped, ~400g size, 1 can
Cooking oil, 1 tbs
Salt, to taste

Coriander, chopped, 4-6 sprigs
Lime, halved, 2 units

* Can substitute with other canned meat, e.g. luncheon meat

1. Cook rice one day before serving the fried rice. 
(a) Prepare lemongrass.  Remove the fibrous top part, leaving ~10 cm length from root.  Peel off the tough outer layer of each stalk.  Bruised prepared lemongrass.
(b) Prepare kaffir lime leaves.  Wash and dry.  Make serveral tear in each leave.
(c) After washing rice and top with right about of water to cook rice, add in prepared lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. 
(d) Once rice is cooked, let is cool and then store in refrigerator.  This is to remove excess water from the cooked rice.  Discard the used lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.

2. Heat oil in wok over medium heat.  Add in chopped onion and stir fry 1 min till translucent.

3. Add in corned beef and break it up into small pieces during stir fry for 2-3 mins.  Add in cut long beans and stir fry 2-3 mins.

4. Add in rice and cut chillies.  Use spatula to separate the grains.  Stir fry for 3-4 mins, ensuring all ingredients are well mixed.  Add salt to taste if needed.  Off heat.

1. Transfer to plate and decorate each with chopped coriander leaves a half lime.  Squeeze out juice and mix well with rice just before eating.

Pig Trotter in Black Vinegar (猪脚醋)

This is a typical confinement dish for Chinese after giving birth.  Use of ginger will drive "wind" out of the body system, while vinegar breaks down calcium from the bones hence supplements calcium to the needy mother after childbirth (as most of calcium in mum's body has passed on to baby for growth).  Use of sesame oil also helps to improve blood circulation and eggs are good nourishment for the body.  Though it is mainly a confinement dish but it can be eaten by everyone. 

Serves 6-8 as part of a shared meal

Pork trotter*, cleaned & hair removed, ~2kg
Egg, hard boiled and shells removed, ~10 units
Old ginger, cleaned, peeled & smashed, 1.2kg
Garlic, peeled and smashed, 3 cloves
Black rice vinegar (双料糯米甜黑醋)**, 750 ml (1 bottle)
Water, 750 ml (measured using the vinegar bottle)
Raw sugar, 500g
Salt, 1 tsp
Cooking oil, 5 tbsp
Sesame oil, 1 tbsp

* Fore limbs are less fatty, so is the preferred healthier choice
** Must use the 双料 version

1. Parboil the cleaned trotters to remove dirt and blood.

2. Add cooking oil and sesame oil to a big claypot over medium heat.  Stir fry smashed ginger and garlic till aromatic, then add in vinegar, water sugar and salt.  Let mixture boils over medium heat for at least 1 hr.

3. Add in trotters and hard boiled eggs and allow to simmer for at least 30 mins or till trotters are fully cooked and softened.

1. Serve with steam rice.  For best result, it is recommended to be eaten on 2nd day after reheating.