I eat at Korean restaurants about once or maybe twice a year. I have rarely had dumplings during a Korean meal and, quite honestly, don’t particularly associate dumplings with Koran cuisine at all; Mostly, I think, because they most often appear on the menu under the name ‘pot-stickers’ or the Japanese name ‘Gyoza’. A lot of Korean restaurants will include Chinese, Japanese, or Thai items on the menu, and the dumplings I have seen in these places are generally the fried ‘Guo Tie’ or ‘Wor Tip’ variety that are commonly called pot-stickers, and it is never suggested that they are a Korean ‘thing’ at all…
At Alirang, a tiny, but excellent Korean restaurant in downtown Ottawa, they had dumplings described on the menu as ‘Mandoo’ (Korean Dumplings) … I have seen the name Mandoo in cookery books before, or in its more common variant ‘Mandu’, and the Wikipedia entry for the term suggests that the word refers to a wide variety of native Korean dumplings. In truth, I don’t think this is the case as the word clearly descends from the same root as ‘Manti’ (central Asian dumplings) and ‘Mantou’ (Chinese steamed buns) … In the inset in the above picture, I have shown the menu entry, which includes Chinese characters for the name. These solve the issue a little as they translate as ‘Korean style fried dumplings’ and suggest more a Korean twist on a standard Chinese classic rather than a purely Korean delicacy.
Anyway, whatever the origin, these were pretty decent , except that the wrapper dough was a bit thick for this type of dumpling and would be more appropriate for boiled or even steamed. The Chinese characters specify ‘jiānjiǎo’ which actually means ‘pan-fried’, but these ones were clearly deep-fried and quite oily, although I don’t mean this as a criticism as these were, as I say, pretty darned decent. The filling was ground pork and cabbage that didn’t seem to be seasoned with anything except a little salt, but the simplicity of this worked very well and the overall effect was very flavorful. They may not be truly a traditional Korean delicacy … but who cares 😊
Today, I have used the tentacle tips and other scraps from a recent Octopus Purchase to make a little Korean style Banchan, or side-dish. This style of Banchan involves cooking the main ingredient with the Korean Chili Paste known as Gochujang, and a sweetener, usually a syrup such corn, or rice syrup, or even honey. The presence of the latter allows for such dishes to keep a long time in the fridge.
There is a very similar dish to the one that I am making called Nakji bokkeum in which additional vegetable are added during stir-frying. Typically, the result is served hot, often over rice, but the simple, banchan-style type is served cold… Continue reading “Octopus Banchan”
Korean Red Pepper Powder is a very versatile food product but its primary uses are in the making of Kimchi and also in the preparation of the Korean fermented red pepper paste known as Gochujang. Most of the ground chili available to me locally is quite coarse, with the exception of Cayenne Pepper, which is pretty fiery. The typical Korean Red Pepper Powder can be quite mild, is very finely milled, and also has a very pretty bright red color that makes for a very attractive pickle… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Korean Red Pepper Powder”
If you have eaten at a Korean restaurant you will recognize ‘Banchans’ as being the small (usually free) side dishes that accompany the main meal. Cabbage Kimchi is a standard offering but there are many others and I tend to rate a restaurant on the number and variety of selections provided.
Today’s offering is not an actual Korean recipe (to the best of my knowledge) but the combination of Preserved Salted Radish along with Gochujang chilli paste makes it a pretty good fit to the basic theme… Continue reading “Salted Radish Banchan”
420 Preston Street, Ottawa
Date of Visit: July, 2017
Le Kim Chi lies in the heart of Ottawa’s Little Italy, which seems vaguely appropriate for a Korean restaurant. Actually, there are several Asian restaurants in the immediate vicinity and I can say, after a recent visit, that this is one of the better ones… Continue reading “Review: Le Kim Chi”
Recently, I posted a recipe for a Simple Kimchi, and I mentioned that, in more complex varieties, Korean often boost the umami quotient of the pickle by include things like oysters, brined shrimp, or even fish guts. Today’s recipe does just that using shrimp and scallop except that, in this case, I am using Chinese style dried shrimp and scallops (the latter known as ‘conpoy’. I am also departing from the method I used in the Simple Kimchi recipe by using the slightly more traditional method of making chilli paste from scratch rather than using the pre-made Korean ‘Gochujang’ … Continue reading “Kimchi with Shrimp and Scallop”
Today, I am using some of my homemade Simple Kimchi to make a simple, but very tasty, soup. Many people may think of Kimchi as a simply a cold side-dish, or a Banchan (when included as part of a Korean meal). However, it is often used as a cooking ingredient as well. Most notably, it can be added to fried rice, it is used as a primary ingredient in particular types of Korean stews known as Kimchi-jjigae, and is also used in a class of soups collectively called Kimchi-guk.
As with any ‘traditional’ soup, there are as many recipes as there are cooks and, today, I didn’t have in mind any particular Korean recipe, rather, I have simply created a fairly straightforward Pork and onion soup to which I add a good, healthy dollop of Kimchi to give it a sour and spicy finish… Continue reading “Kimchi Soup (Kimchi-guk)”
When most people hear ‘Kimchi’, they tend to think of the most common variety made with Napa Cabbage. In truth, though, many things are pickled to make Kimchi and, even with the cabbage variety, there are thousands of versions, from the simple to highly complex. Beyond the cabbage, and, of course, chilli, there can be other vegetables added (scallions, for example), and the umami quotient is often enhanced with some sort of sea product. This can be in the form of Korean Salted Shrimp, oysters, anchovy essence, whole dried anchovies, or even fish guts.
Today, I am preparing a very simple cabbage version using just chilli and scallion. I am departing from the most common method of adding chilli, which is usually done by making a paste from powdered chilli, water, and generally rice powder, or even, in some cases, wheat flour. Instead, I am doing what some recipes do, and using Gochujang, or Korean Chili paste, which carries its own umami punch. I will be adding this to my cabbage a bit later than is common for a couple of reasons. First, while I am fairly confident, having regard to the ingredients list, that there are no preservatives in my commercially made paste that will inhibit fermentation, I am not taking chances. Also, the paste is already fermented and the chilli and rice flour don’t need further fermentation to develop their flavors…. Continue reading “Simple Kimchi”
I really love the Korean-style ‘Flanken-cut’ beef-ribs, especially for grilling. Usually, they are cut quite thinly (at least by my butcher) but lately, I have been buying some that are a good inch or so thick. For today’s post, I marinated some using a little Miso. This is a popular Japanese grilling technique that works especially well for fish but is also terrific with beef or pork. In this case, I have also included a good shot of sesame oil in the blend for a bit of a Korean touch as well… Continue reading “Sesame Miso Beef Ribs”
1520 Queen St. Halifax, NS – (902) 420-0331 – Website
Date of Visit: July 4, 2014
On my recent trip to Halifax, I arrived to discover that I had a few hours to wait until my hotel room was ready and so I took a stroll around the nearby streets and came across this little place. It looked a promising place for lunch but, unfortunately, aside from the service, which was impeccable, the experience was not terribly impressive… Continue reading “Review: Minato Sushi, Halifax”