Saturday 30 May 2015

South Korea - cooking

I love food - especially Asian food. So while I was in South Korea I decided to do a cooking class.

I found a great class and signed up to learn to make kimchi, heal pajeon and dasik. You might ask what on earth these are...well, listen and learn!

We started with kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional korean side dish - spicy fermented vegetables.

You start by soaking the (huge!) cabbage in salt water for about 12 hours...fortunately the kitchen staff had done this for us - and also rinsed it afterwards.

We then had to make the red filling sauce using radish, red chilli powder, green onion, anchovy fish sauce, kelp broth, dried fish broth, fresh pear juice, minced garlic, minced onion, minced ginger, sugar and salted minced shrimp.

We gloved up for then massaging the sauce into each of the cabbage layers to coat each of the leaves in the filling.

When they were all covered we then wrapped the outer layer of the cabbage around itself to make a little kimchi bundle. Which the staff then vacuum-packed for us to take home as you leave it for approximately one week until its ready for eating.

It's messy work - my work station looked like there had been a massacre! 

There are over 180 different varieties of kimchi - there's even a museum just for this national dish! It's also a healthy food - rich in vitamins (A, B1, B2, C iron, calcium) and good for digestion with high fibre levels but also low in calories.

Next up was the Haemul Pajeon - seafood and green onion pancake. Pajeon is a pancake-like Korea dish which can have a variety of main ingredients, such as beef, pork, kimchi, shellfish or other seafood. I was making a seafood one which is often eaten by Koreans with dongdongju (traditional rice liquor) on rainy days.

We prepared the ingredients...

before mixing with our pancake mixture.

Then we got our skillets ready - with lots of oil.

And then piled in our pancake mixture.

I cooked on a medium heat until the bottom turned golden brown

and then flipped it...


The masterpiece:

We sat down to tuck into a delicious Korean feast, starring our culinary work.

Other 'cooks' had made Yukgaejang - a spicy, soup-like shredded beef dish which is simmered with onions and other ingredients for a long time.

The whole meal was very tasty...but, of course, especially my seafood pancake!

Then it was time for me to make my final course - dessert.

I was making 'dasik' - a traditional Korean pressed cookie.

The shape comes from dasik molds that have carvings of birds, flowers or Chinese characters. It's name comes from the words 'tea' and 'food' because it is usually served with tea.

The prettier, older more plastic ones are used.
I made three different types of dasik, using green bean flour, soya bean flour and sweet potato.

You then mix the flour powder with a sugar syrup into a dough.

Then press this dough into the molds.

Even doing multi-coloured cookies.

Before 'artfully' arranging the cookies on a plate.


The take-home fruits of my labour.

As well as a certificate to recognise my new cooking abilities.

I'd definitely recommend doing a cooking class here - Ellie (the teacher / chef) is lovely and they have a good variety of dishes that you can make.

They've also met Martha Stewart!

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