Archive for the ‘korean’ Category

Steamed Pork Buns (찐빵 만두)

In korean on January 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm

What is it about cold and rainy weather that makes me want to make all of my old childhood favorites?  I had a serious craving for steamed pork buns, the kind I used to eat growing up.  We would get a huge order of these from the local ajuma who churned them out by the dozen, flash freeze them, and enjoy them all winter.  We would have regular steamed and fried mandoos on a regular basis, but the jjimbbang mandoo was always a special treat. These mandoo differ from the traditional dumplings because they use a yeast-based dough. They are fluffier and more filling than the normal dumplings you make using wanton wrappers.

Jjinbbang Mandoo


3 c AP flour

1 c warm water

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp olive or other vegetable oil

2 tsp active dry yeast (about one packet)

1/2 tsp salt

  1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well
  3. Knead gently and then set aside in a warm place to rise
  4. When dough has doubled in volume, punch down and then knead again gently
  5. Allow dough to rise for another half hour


1 lb ground pork

1 tsp soy sauce or fish sauce

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp sesame oil

freshly ground pepper to taste

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 c finely chopped green onion

  1. Saute vegetables for a few minutes, until just starting to get soft (they will cook longer while you steam the filled buns, so be careful not to overcook the veggies at this point). Set aside
  2. Cook the pork with sesame oil, fish sauce (or soy sauce) and garlic.
  3. Add the cooked pork to the vegetables and stir to combine.  If there is  a lot of liquid, drain carefully.


  1. Roll out dough on generously floured surface
  2. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces
  3. Roll into discs about 5-6 inches across.  If possible, make the edges thinner than the middle
  4. Fill dumplings with about 2-3 tbsp of ground pork /vegetable filling
  5. Bring edges to center, and crimp while going around
  6. Put filled pork bun onto a pre-cut disc of parchment paper.  Or if you’re lazy like me, you can use cupcake liners
  7. Allow buns to rest for 30 minutes
  8. Place buns into steamer, and cook for 20 minutes
  9. Enjoy!

While the pork filling is traditional, this is an easy recipe to make vegetarian.  You can substitute or add in almost any vegetable, including squash, zucchini, potatoes, or mushrooms.  It would also be great with tofu and kimchi.  Normally, I would add some red pepper flakes, but I was sharing these with a friend who doesn’t like spicy food.


Quick and Easy Snack

In gluten free, korean on January 4, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Sometimes I want a taste of home, but am feeling incredibly lazy.  Or more often, am too lazy to drive all the way to the Korean Grocery and just have to make do with whatever ingredients I have lying around the house, or can get at the normal grocery store.  This is my go to meal for days like that.

Soba Noodles with Soy Dressing

It’s not even worth writing out a separate ingredient and instruction list, because this is one of those dishes that you are just supposed to throw together, without much effort:

Put 2 oz of soba noodles in boiling water, and cook until tender (about 6-8 minutes).  Be careful not to overcook, or the noodles will get gummy. Rinse with cold water.  While noodles are cooking, combine  2 tbsp of soy sauce with 1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar and 1 tbsp of roasted sesame oil.  Add noodles to sauce and toss well.  Top with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onion.  You can add fried tofu, chicken, or any other protein or vegetable to the dish to dress it up.

For anyone who is not familiar with soba noodles, they are Japanese noodles that are made from buckwheat flour.  The beauty of this dish is that it is so simple, and can easily be made gluten free.  Just be careful to buy the soba noodles that are 100% buckwheat; some of the cheaper ones have whole wheat flour mixed in.  You can usually find soba noodles at the American grocery store, they will just be cheaper at the Korean market.

Not Hot Dogs

In korean on December 22, 2010 at 12:49 am

The last time I was in Korea, it was late December.  I had just spent the past few years living in West Africa, and was woefully underdressed for a real winter chill.  Enter 호떡… the world’s most perfect street food.  OK… I’m biased.  When other families used to eat poptarts, we would put frozen hoddoeks in the toaster and have a warm, sweet and gooey korean treat for breakfast or a snack.  So there is nothing better than buying steaming hot hoddeok from street vendors while walking around Seoul.  It’s the snack of my childhood and what got me through a frigid winter wearing only jeans and a t-shirt.

Yesterday, after a weekend of being snowed in in the mountains, it felt like a perfect time to make hoddeok.  Of course when I asked my husband if he wanted any, he heard “do you want a hot dog?” and said “no.”  Until he saw what I was making, and proceeded to eat the hoddeok I made for myself, and then then next two that came out of the pan. So I would say that you don’t have to just be nostalgic for a childhood treat to enjoy a hot hoddeok.

Some of the recipes I’ve found use just plain old wheat flour.  I like to substitute in some sweet rice flour; I think it makes them a bit more chewy.  If you can’t find sweet rice flour, you can just use all AP flour instead.


For Pancake:

1 c warm water

2 tbs sugar (I used turbinado)

2 tsp active dry yeast (if you use rapid rise, just skip the proofing step)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbs vegetable oil

1 c AP flour

1 c sweet rice flour


1/2 c brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbs chopped walnuts

Make the dough:

  1. Mix warm water, yeast, salt, sugar, and oil in bowl; stir to dissolve
  2. Add both AP and sweet rice flour, mix well (the dough will be very wet)
  3. Let rise until dough has doubled in size
  4. Punch down and allow to rise for another 30 min

Make Filling

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl
  2. That was easy!


  1. Knead dough gently
  2. Place dough onto generously floured surface and divide into 8 equal parts
  3. Roll out or flatten one dough portion and fill with 1 tsp of filling.  Gather dough at top and pinch closed
  4. Heat a pan with vegetable oil and place filled hoddeoks seam side down
  5. After the first side is golden brown, flip hoddeok and flatten with spatula
  6. Continue cooking second side until golden brown
  7. Flip hoddeok over again and turn heat down to low.  Cook gently over low heat for a few minutes to allow filling to melt and turn syrupy.  Serve immediately.

There is nothing like warm hoddeok on a cold day.  You have to eat these right off the griddle, while the filling is still warm and gooey.  I think nutella would make a great, non-traditional hoddeok filling.  You can also fill hoddeok with red beans, cheese, or anything else crazy.  It’s really just a stuffed pancake, after all.

Eating in the PacNW

In korean on October 19, 2010 at 5:03 pm

How many newspapers, websites, and televisions shows have waxed in rhapsody over the excellent food in the Pacific Northwest?  For a relatively sparsely populated region, we have an unbelievable food culture.  Even our local fast food joint will practically tell you the name of the cow who gave their life for your burger, or at minimum will tell you what farm the beef was sourced from.  Menus change constantly, in accordance with the seasons, and whatever is available at the local markets.  We have rotating organic seasonal beers on top.  And we have berries and fruit like you would not believe.

But the one thing we don’t have is any decent Korean food.  I one time asked the founder of the Oregon Korean Foundation where to get decent Korean food, and he looked at me, and without even skipping a beat, told me to drive to the airport and buy a ticket to LA.

So I’m setting out learning how to cook food that is not from my childhood.  Food that I didn’t grow up eating, or food that I grew up eating, for which there are no local ingredients.  Wish me luck!