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Korean food gets a bad rep. Some of the food is odd to American tastes, but a great deal of it uses ingredients we eat regularly. A typical Korean meal often consists of rice, soup, kimchi or other fermented vegetable, a main course and several side dishes. As part of this month’s Food of the World challenge, we’re going to explore a couple South Korean recipes that can be made at home.
The first recipe is a Korean style spinach. It’s extremely simple. In fact, you’ve probably prepared spinach in a similar manner. The recipe comes from the book Mashitta! A Collection of Simple South Korean Recipes(affiliate link) which is loaded with a nice variety of recipes. It was a helpful source of information.
- One bunch of spinach, washed and trimmed (bagged spinach is fine)
- 1 - 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced fine
- 1 small onion, sliced into petals (about ½ cup) OR a couple green onions cut into bite sized pieces
- pinch red pepper flake (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- generous splash sesame oil
- sesame seeds for garnish
- Saute the onion in olive oil optionally seasoned with red pepper flake. Add the garlic when the onion has started to change color. Take care not to burn the garlic.
- Reduce the heat and add a large handful of spinach. Add more as the first bunch wilts.
- Continue until all the spinach had been cooked.
- Season with salt, soy sauce and sesame oil
- Garnish with sesame seeds before serving.
The next side dish was one of my favorite things I’ve made this month. It’s called Korean Cheese Corn and it is very similar to the corn puddings I had growing up, but with cheese. Really, there’s much to like here. The original recipe called for almost a quarter cup of sugar which I omitted as I used sweet corn. (It does remind me of eating field corn as a child. It would be cooked in sugar water and slathered with butter…I don’t remember complaining).
We had it for dinner and I ate the leftovers on crackers. You’ll find the original recipe here on Zen Kimchi and my version below.
- 2 cups corn kernels (I cut mine from the cob. Frozen or canned will work, too)
- ¼ cup mayonnaise (you can be generous)
- ½ cup shredded cheese (I used a pizza blend...add more if you want it really cheesy)
- salt, pepper and fresh herbs to taste (I used dried thyme...cayenne or hot paprika would give a nice kick)
- Preheat oven to 350 and prep a 1 quart casserole with cooking spray or olive oil
- Mix everything together in a mixing bowl.
- Add more mayo if it seems dry.
- Transfer to a small casserole and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until bubbly (alternately, you could cook this in a skillet on top of the stove until warmed through and the cheese is melted)
As mentioned, I didn’t add any sugar to my Cheesy Corn Dip and it was plenty sweet. For that reason, Rick didn’t like it. My feelings weren’t hurt at all because it meant more for me!
We skipped the rice and soup for this meal. Some pickles would have been nice, and while neither one of us are kimchi fans, we do appreciate the pickled carrots, radishes and other veggies often served in Asian restaurants. For the meat, I pan fried chicken nuggets and tossed them in this Korean style barbecue sauce.
I chose these two recipes because I already had the ingredients in my fridge or in the pantry. There are a couple other recipes I’d like to try in this cookbook, including one for a spicy potato and another for a steamed egg dish. Perhaps you’ll find them at the Food of the World Link Party. Jump over to Simple Living and Eating to find more Korean recipes.
If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read this and many other books for free! For those unaware of the program, the short story is that for $9.99 a month you can read until your eyes fall out. I love to read and have a cookbook fetish (not to mention my new found obsession with knitting) so I can easily spend much more than the monthly subscription. You don’t even have to own a Kindle as there are reading apps available for your favorite devices.