Mussels in Korea are ridiculously cheap, at least from my perspective. I can get 2-3 servings for less than 3,000 won when in season. Awesome! This super easy to make dish is a nice way to enjoy fresh mussels.
-spicy pepper (optional)
Step 1: wash and de-beard mussels.
Step 2: place washed mussels into a pot.
Step 3: slice green onion and pepper, add to pot.
Step 4: fill pot about 1/4 full with water.
Step 5: place lid on pot, simmer about 5-6 minutes or until mussels open. Enjoy hot. You can also reheat leftovers and use the broth in another dish.
-if mussels are cracked or open prior to cooking, discard them.
-if mussels do not open during cooking, throw them out. Do not eat them.
This cold salad is great for the spring and summer.
-Shrimp (I used five, use more or less to taste)
-Sweet potato noodles (1-2 servings)
-1/4 cup diced carrot
-1/2 diced capsicum/bell pepper (Koreans call it paprika [파프리카])
-1/2 green onion, sliced
-Honey mustard sauce (about 2 tablespoons)
-Black pepper and salt, to taste
-Spicy pepper (optional), to taste
Step 1: Boil a pot of water on high heat. Add noodles.
Step 2: When noodles are almost softened, add shrimp. Cook shrimp until the curl, about 2-3 minutes. Remove shrimp.
Step 3: Add the bell pepper and carrot to the boiling pot of water, cook until noodles are cooked through.
Step 4: Remove pot from heat and carefully drain water. Rinse with cold water. Repeat until noodles/bell pepper/carrots are cold and drained completely.
Step 5: Peel shrimp. If you don’t know how, click here for a short video. Chop shrimp and set aside.
Step 6: Wash the lemon and zest it (use a knife or vegetable peeler to remove the yellow skin of the lemon, being careful not to include the white part). Dice lemon zest.
Step 7: Place lemon zest and shrimp brains into a small bowl. Add the juice of half of the lemon. Add the honey mustard and combine well. Salt and pepper to taste, add in the juice of the other half of the lemon if you like. If using spicy peppers, dice small and mix in now.
Step 8: Combine the cooked noodles, diced carrots, diced bell pepper, sliced green onion, chopped shrimp and sauce. Mix well and serve cold.
It’s the time of year when pine fills the air. Why not make a drink?
Lee Lemon’s Coniferous Cocktail
-2 parts gin
-2 parts pine bud drink or pine needle tea*
-1 part cranberry juice
Mix well and serve chilled or over ice. Try adding cold pomegranate seeds instead of ice for texture and flavor.
* Pine needle tea can be made by boiling hot water and pine needles…just like you would any other tea.
Watch the video version of this on YouTube where I have fun swearing and eyeballing this drink. Just click here.
Many of you have probably eaten this and it’s ridiculously simple to make. The nice thing about jeon is that you can use up odds and ends in your refrigerator/cupboard, including those mushrooms you bought on sale and promised yourself you’d use but forgot about them and they’re close to turning.
-jeon mix (you can find this at any store in Korea)
-some kind of filling, sliced (you can just use a single ingredient or mix stuff together. In the picture I have mushrooms, gochu, squash, garlic, and topped it with some sesame seeds)
Step 1: place jeon mix in a bowl and add water. You can measure this according to the directions, or you can wing it. You’re going for a somewhat thin batter. Not milk consistency, but you definitely don’t want a dough. If you fuck it up, it’s okay, just add more water/mix. As long as you cook it enough, you’ll be okay. In the picture, it was actually a little too thick but it was cooked through and tasty.
Step 2: add in your filling and mix well. You want to coat this nicely. Remember that you’re not trying to make a pancake with bits and pieces of vegetables/meat/seafood, but rather that you’re trying to basically adhere the filling into a pancake-shaped mass and using the jeon batter to hold it all together.
Step 3: in a pan on medium heat, add cooking oil or butter (enough to just coat the bottom of the pan) and pour your concoction in the pan. You don’t want this to be thick, but rather a single layer of ingredients. You aren’t making a cake.
Step 4: when cooked on one side, carefully flip to cook on the other. Some people do this with chopsticks or, if you cook stuff like this frequently you should probably have a spatula. If you want to be part of the cool kids’ club, just flip it by holding the pan and doing a little flick of the wrist. I don’t recommend this if you aren’t confident in doing this kind of flipping…you are apt to end up with a pile of goop in or outside of the pan.
Step 5: cook on this other side, then slide onto a plate or onto a cutting board if you wish to pre-cut this before eating.
Step 6: serve with a sauce made from soy sauce, sesame oil and a little vinegar.
-if you don’t have jeon mix and want to use up whatever flour or mix you have on-hand, go for it.
I honestly thought I posted this before but apparently not. This is something super easy and tasty to make. You can add a bunch of spices and shit if you want to, but otherwise there are just three ingredients.
-sausages of your choice
-1 bell pepper (capsicum), chopped
-1 medium onion, chopped
-sesame seeds (optional, but nutritious)
-salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, hot sauce (any of these are fine, to taste)
Step 1: In a pan on medium heat, add a little cooking oil or butter. Place the sausage, bell pepper and onion in the pan and cook until bell pepper and onions have softened (about 5-10 minutes).
Step 2: If you’re seasoning this and/or using sesame seeds, add them just before you are ready to serve.
-if you happen to have some rum, whiskey or other dark liquor, remove the pan from heat, add in 1-2 tablespoons of the liquor and then put the pan back on the stove/range (whatever you happen to call it). Cook about 5 minutes or until you can no longer smell/taste the alcohol. This adds a very rich, deep flavor.
죽 (juk…pronounced “jook”) is rice porridge. It’s incredibly easy to make and is a great way to make your rice more substantial. In this picture is some homemade abalone juk (전복죽), but all juk follows the same basic steps.
-Salt/pepper to taste
Step 1: Place cooked rice in a pot and keep adding water until it is a porridge/oatmeal consistency.
Step 2: Add diced vegetables/meat. Stir well. Cover pot and simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Step 3: Season to taste. Serve.
It is really that simple.
I love this simple soup but couldn’t seem to find it here. The name varies —either egg drop or egg flower soup — but the taste is always delicious. It is incredibly easy to make and if you’re stuck in the same soup routine this is a way to still get your soup on while changing it up with this tasty meal (or side) inspired by China. There are variations on it but here’s how I made it. It serves 2-4 people depending on serving size.
-1 whole egg + 1 egg white
-4 cups of water + buillon (powdered seasoning to make a broth) or 4 cups of broth. The standard recipe uses chicken broth but I used water and powdered bonito (a type of fish) to make the broth
-2-3 green onions, sliced
Step 1: Combine all ingredients except egg in a pot. Turn on medium high heat and wait for it to boil.
Step 2: While waiting for the mixture to boil, beat the egg and additional egg white in a bowl.
Step 3: When the mixture in the pot is boiling, gently spoon the egg mixture into the boiling pot of soup, drizzling the egg into the soup. It will cook almost instantly. Continue this until you have all the egg in the soup.
Step 4: Serve and enjoy.
This delightful, high-protein and healthy dish is super easy to make. You can serve it alongside your meal next to your kimchi, or you can have it as anju (a snack for drinking). That was actually the first time I had this, while drinking soju. I never in my life thought about tofu as a drinking snack but it’s goooood!
-Tofu of any type (this one is made from black soy so it has black flecks in it), about 5-7 good chunks but you can definitely use more or less
-Soy sauce (간장)
-Sesame oil (참기름)
-Sliced green onion
-Sliced spicy green pepper (optional)
-Sesame seeds (optional)
Thanks to E-Mart, you can make quesadillas. There isn’t an E-Mart where I live but it’s easy enough to get to in a neighboring city. I’m not sure if Home Plus also has these. The E-Mart tortillas are found in the frozen section and cost about 4,000 won for 10 or 12 large flour tortillas. Cheese of all kinds can be found in many places in Korea. I have even used the mozzarella string cheese sticks found at a Family Mart to top spaghetti.
-Two tortillas (or one to fold in half, depending on how hungry you are)
-1-2 handfuls of a cheese of your choice
-Sauteed vegetables (optional)…see notes
-Cooked tofu or chopped cooked meat (optional)…see notes
-Side of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and/or lettuce (optional)…see notes
-Cooking oil or butter
1. Remove your 2 (or 1) tortillas from the package and return pacakge to freezer. If you didn’t plan ahead, you need to soften these up by either putting them in the microwave for 5 seconds at a time or by placing them in an ungreased pan on medium heat until they heat up a bit. You are not cooking these, but instead are trying to soften them up and defrost them. Set aside.
2. Add a little oil, butter or butter and oil (totaling 1-2 tablespoons) in a pan on your stove/range. Turn on the burner to medium heat to heat oil/butter.
3. Place 1 tortilla in the pan and cover the tortilla with the cheese and meat/vegetables, spreading evenly. If using meat/vegetables, add another layer of cheese on top. Place the other tortilla on top. If using one tortilla, place the meat/cheese/vegetables on half of the tortilla and fold the uncovered half over the filling.
4. Cook until the tortilla on the bottom is golden brown. Drizzle a little oil (or smear a little butter) on the uncooked side and then flip the quesadilla. Cook until golden brown.
5. Remove from heat, cut as desired and serve with a side of fresh vegetables, hot sauce or whatever you want.
-A quesadilla does not need anything except a tortilla and cheese, which is why the meat, tofu and vegetables are optional. If you’re like me and want that stuff in there, it’s a good idea to try to find a Mexican seasoning packet at E-Mart or Home Plus to help season the food. Failing that, cook up some sliced onions, bell pepper (capsicum for Brits and 파프리카 is what you look for in Korea), tofu/meat, and black pepper. Feel free to add powdered red pepper (고추가루 [gochu garu]).
-Because it’s a pan-fried dish full of cheese, I like to add some fresh vegetables with each bite to counter all the greasiness. In the picture, the creamy pink stuff is some cream cheese mixed with hot sauce and lime juice (both came from the States).