Korean Tuna Pancakes (Chamchijeon)

– johanna | April 27th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Appetizer, RECIPES - Main Dish, RECIPES - Snacks

Lately we have been learning all we can about South Korean customs. Such as it is bad luck to pour your own drink and always take your shoes off before entering ones home. Respect is of utmost importance in South Korea. The formality of Confucianism dictates so. It is a belief in a code of honor that is viewed as old fashioned by newer generations.

Generally most Koreans are warm and giving. They live by the age old traditions that when an elder enters a room you stand up. On the bus you offer them your seat. If someone is in need you help them. When accepting a gift use both hands to take it. And always be sure to say, “gamsa hapnida.” (Thank you)

The relationship between people of seniority is just as important. In fact, when adults speak to one another they use a formal form of speech; unlike when talking to a child or how youth of the same age converse. When addressing a person they always use the surname first. To call an acquaintance by their name would be considered informal and is frowned upon. For example, the name Eun Sun (first name) Park (surname) would be spoken Park Eun Sun. When familiar or given permission you can drop the surname. Interestingly enough even a slight inflection in the pronunciation of a name (similar to a nickname) is seen as informal.

When addressing a person of status always use their title or position first: including president, director, professor, doctor, Sunbea (senior at school). With permission a younger girl might use the term ‘Uhn-nee’ (meaning older sister) to address a female a few years older than she. A young male could call a female he is comfortable with ‘Noona’ (meaning sister). A female would call an older young male with whom she is close to ‘Oppa’.

Now on to the food! Maangchi’s tuna pancakes are amazing. My kids gobbled them all up. Do not let the word pancake confuse you. Jeon means pancake in Korean but it is basically a tuna cake. Like a crab cake. The onion and sesame oil are what what gives these little cakes flavor. I do not recommend omitting these ingredients as it would drastically change the taste.

Source: Maangchi
(Makes 6 small pancakes)
1 (5 oz) can of tuna
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons canola oil

Strain out the liquid from a can of tuna and place it in a bowl.

Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, egg, sesame oil, and flour to the tuna and mix it well.

Heat oil in up a pan until hot.

Scoop a spoonful of the tuna mixture with a spoon and place it on the heated pan. Press slightly and round the edges with the spoon.

When the bottom is cooked golden brown, turn it over and cook until both sides of the pancakes are golden brown. About 3-5 minutes total.
Transfer the cooked pancakes to a serving plate and serve with rice.

Sauce: Mix the following ingredients
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon vinegar
left over onions

** Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat in the microwave or panfry.

Variations:
– Egg allergies: Egg can be omitted. No substitute needed.
– Gluten free: replace flour with corn flour.

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Korean Panfried tofu with spicy sauce (Dubu buchim yangnyumjang)

– johanna | April 20th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Main Dish

Lately I have been obsessing over South Korean cuisine. My interest began with the Korean series “Protect the Boss” by Boseureul Jikyeora. It is a quirky film about girl who wants to achieve her dream job in a corporate office. Problem is she is lacking the secretarial skills and a degree from a prestigious college.

What captivated my interested the most was a dinner scene at the Chairman’s house. The family members were picking up bits of food, with their chopsticks, from various bowls in the center of the table, and placing it on each others plates. The conversation was somewhat comical as they each loaded one another’s bowl with morsels they “just had to try”. There was so much excitement over the food with the belief that if they ate well they would have a happy healthy disposition. Moreover, it was the wisdom of the Grandmother who had insisted that the two feuding sides of the family join her for dinner once a week until they learned to tolerate one another. She counseled them saying, (English translation) “our friendships are built by this type of dinner.”

In that moment I was reminded that despite all the whining and frustration trying to make dinner and get everyone to the dinner table, there is a purpose. Thus, my interest was peaked to discover more about this far away place and the people who live there. I was curious what the dynamics of the family is like in South Korea.

The kids and I have enjoyed learning the language and the various customs of South Korean culture. They graciously accepted the Korean cuisine, thrilled to try anything placed in front of them, as long as they could use chop sticks.

I have not had fried tofu before; I mostly use tofu in soup. Yet, Korean tofu with spicy sauce is one of my favorite dishes by far. The sauce is very similar to a wasabi sauce in both flavor and heat. I reduce the red pepper to 1/2 teaspoon and it is still pretty spicy. For children you can eliminate the red pepper or greatly reduce the amount. I have even served the tofu with a small bowl of soy sauce for dipping.

Source: Maangchi
1 half package Tofu (about 10 oz)
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1/4 to 1 teaspoon Hot Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon honey
1 Green Onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
Roasted Sesame Seeds (optional)

Slice the tofu into bite size pieces (¼ inch thick rectangles); about 10 pieces. Towel off each piece with a paper towel.

Heat a pan with 1 to 2 tbs of vegetable oil. Add the tofu and lower the heat. Cook over low heat about 5-7 minutes.

When the bottom of the tofu looks golden brown, turn it over and cook another 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked tofu to a serving plate.

Meanwhile make the sauce:
In a small bowl mix: minced garlic, green onion, hot pepper flakes, honey, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

To serve, spoon the sauce evenly over the tofu. Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds just before serving. Serve with a side of steamed rice.

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No Bake Boiled Cookies

– johanna | April 13th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Treats

Photo: Property of Allrecipes

No Bake Cookies are a standard in practically every Grandmother’s recipe box. Rich chocolate mixed with gooey peanut butter and chewy oats.

Do not let the no bake part fool you into thinking this is a quick cookie to make. No bake means just that, no baking required. Consequently, the batter must be heated to a boil, then dropped by spoonfuls onto waxed paper to cool. It is best to wait until they have cooled a couple of hours before eating.

Source: Allrecipes
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 pinch salt
3 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan over medium heat bring sugar, cocoa, butter, milk, and salt to a rapid rolling boil. Continue to boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add oats, peanut butter, and vanilla; mix well.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper to cool.

Helpful Tips:
— Under boiling the cookies they will not set properly.
— Over boiling produces dry crumbly cookies.

Variations:
— Extra-chocolaty Cookies: Top cookies with chocolate chips.
— Easter Nests: Spoon batter into greased muffin pan. Cool. Remove from pan. Fill with shredded coconut and jelly beans.

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Spring Home Fragrance

– johanna | April 10th, 2012

Filed under: THE BOOKSHELF

Photo: Property of Morgan Moore

Spring has finally arrived. I love being able to open the windows to air out the winter. Problem is we all have allergies making airing out the house impossible. On the days the pollen and mold count is too high to open the windows this home fragrance adds a pleasant clean aroma without the congestion.

Source: Morgan Moore

Fill a small stockpot about 2/3 full with water. Add 1 lemon, sliced, and a few sprigs of rosemary, and 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla. Simmer, adding water as needed.

Discard after second day.

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Savory Whole Chicken and Wild Rice

– johanna | April 6th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Main Dish

Photo: Property of MarthaStewart.com

January and March were cold wet months here. I wanted something warm to serve the family for dinner, other than soup or stew. I love chicken paired with rice on such occasions. I think the feeling of comfort I get when I eat chicken and rice dates back to college. During the snowy cold wet months my friend Vanessa and I would head back to her apartment after a long tiresome day at work. She would always make chicken or pork with rice. It always seemed to wash the day away.

Source: Martha Stewart
1 whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds), cut into 10 pieces
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, diced medium
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, diced medium
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
3 cups broccoli florets (from 2 stalks)
6 scallions (white and light green parts only), thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lower third. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over high. Cook chicken, skin side down, until golden and crisp, 6 minutes. Flip chicken and cook until browned, 6 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.

Reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic, and celery to pot. Cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, until onion is translucent, 4 minutes. Stir in mustard, thyme, red-pepper flakes, and rice and cook 1 minute.

Add broccoli, scallions, and broth and season with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken, skin side up, on top of rice mixture. Bring to a boil, cover pot, and place in oven. Bake until chicken is cooked through and liquid is absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Variations:
– Use a whole chicken for this one-pot meal, or buy a package of precut thighs or breasts.

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April Website Review: Still Tasty

– johanna | April 3rd, 2012

Filed under: THE BOOKSHELF

Photo: From StillTasty.com website

Ever wonder if that package of ground beef is still good? How about the shelf life of oil and honey? Certainly if the product smells funny, has mold or a funny texture toss it. For all other inquires check out StillTasty.com. It is the ultimate website devoted exclusively to the proper storage and shelf life of both store bought and homemade foods.

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