Home Cooking in Korea

My take on kimchi bokkumbab/dosirak (presentation is a work in progress)
My take on kimchi bokkumbab/dosirak (presentation is a work in progress)

Hi friends!

Today I want to talk to you about something a bit novel for me, and that is cooking. Yes, this is a post where I am going to become a cocky SOB and tell you just how “easy” it is to cook in Korea if you just “try”. Well, I’m not 100% sure why I’m using the quotation marks, because I have recently discovered that I can cook food at home and no, it doesn’t have to result in popcorn popping evilly at me, melting my makeshift plastic pot-cover (genius) and ending up all around my apartment (this is a shamefully true story).

So, recently I decided that my diet of Starbucks and McDonald’s, however nutritious, needs to be expanded. To include vegetables. I am a funny creature, in that I swing pretty heavily from being all-natural, dairy-free, high-protein, low-carb to EVERYTHING I CAN GET MY PAWS ON – AND HOW. Seriously, that’s about the subtlety of my dietary changes. It’s a bit hard for me to keep consistency (which explains why you often see my Monday Vlogs on a Tuesday, badum tish!), but I’m really trying. For the longest time (1.5 years) I thought that cooking in Korea was a pain in the butt and not worth my time, but it turns out that only one of those is true.

Without further ado, here are some things I’ve whipped up in the past few days!

My take on braised chicken… MmmMmMm
My take on braised chicken… MmmMmMm

Delicacy #1: Braised chicken with a braised chicken sauce (that’s what it says on the jar) and capsicums and broccoli

I’ve decided that I need to eat more protein, because my legs worryingly display the same consistency as marshmallows. Or perhaps jello. There is NO muscle tone whatsoever, and when I do exercise, it takes a LOT for me to get there. Like, heaps. The one time I did happen to really tone my *ahem* lower half was when I went skiing last year and literally COULD NOT STOP because I would TUMBLE DOWN A MOUNTAIN. Except that actually did happen, at a bizarrely, incredibly fast speed that is usually reserved for coyotes and 747s. Nonetheless, I happened to fly down this mountain at the speed of light and it didn’t end well. However, I happen to know my parents read this and so I’m going to gloss over that little aside and EVERYTHING IS FINE.

Moving onto the chicken!

I bought a packet of chicken fillets for 3,490won and a spicy marinade for approx. 3000 won. You only use a little each time so this could last you for about 3-4 meals for two people each time (8 peeps in total, math n00bs). Not bad ey? I then just added one clove of garlic – well, actually, I did that first but you know, I’m not big on chronology) and after I had browned the chicken and sauce, and then chucked in one yellow pepper and some broccoli. I do believe that I paid approx 3,000 won for 4 bell peppers (although I could be making that up at this point) and the broccoli was 1000 for two heads because they were a bit of a dud bunch. Winning!

This dish also lasted me for two nights, so total cost (approx. – always): 3370 won.

Deliciousness: 5 slightly browning broccoli heads out of 5

Delicacy #2: Kimchi fried rice (bokkumbab) with an egg and seaweed (aka Dosirak)

This one I made on a whim on Sunday night because my tummy was a-demandin’ some CARBS. Yummy yummy carbs. All I did this time was cook some brown rice (I happened to have some left to me when I arrived here – should probably check the expiry date – but then does rice ever go off? Can we just pretend it doesn’t?) and while this took me a while, I got there in the end, crunchy rice and all. Then, I threw it onto a pan and chucked in some kimchi, cutting it with scissors as I went (Korean style). Then when it was all red and burnt and scrumptious, I removed it onto a plate, fried an egg in the excess and also cut some dried seaweed (“gim” in Korean) onto the pile of rice. The egg topped it off and, voila! A cheap bastardisation of a Korean classic!

Total cost of this meal? According to my non-existent math brain (it seems that I am, in fact, the real math n00b), the kimchi cost 5,000 won for a huge serve that will last me about 4 meals. The eggs were a gift and the seaweed was approx. 2,000won for 8 mini packets. So, total is about 1500 won. That is a quarter of a Starbucks drink. Considering my current love of Starbucks, I don’t know how I should feel about that.

… And this, friends, is where my cooking shenanigans end. No, I am no Jamie Oliver (except that I actually DO cook naked, har har har) but I’m giving it a try. It’s not only the paltry (poultry?) cost of eating at home that I’m quite enjoying, but more importantly, it’s the convenience. I’m just so damn lazy, and this is only amplified in winter time. I don’t want to have to go to a restaurant after work and have to WEAR PANTS for a second longer than is necessary. I just want to go home and be a vegetable and maybe actually eat some vegetables. That’s the dream, man. #takedownwaistbands

Deliciousness: 5 unevenly

cut pieces of seaweed out of 5

So these are two of my easy dishes I’ve made over here in my Korean life. More to come! I’m thinking a little something with tofu and then another summin’ summin’ with quail eggs (which should be the world’s national dish because they are AMAZINGOMG). Stay tuned, I know you’re excited, don’t worry I am too.

Until next time,

Steph x