'Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring' Korean Recipes & Photos

by Celeste Heiter, May 30, 2006 | Destinations: Korea, N / Pyongyang


This Korean menu features a tasty assortment of traditional condiments as well as two styles of dumplings, a spicy soup, a fresh presentation of Korean Mixed Grill, and a rich dessert.


Sweet & Salty Pickles


3 tablespoons coarse salt
2 carrots
1 cucumber
1 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp Asian fish sauce
1/4 cup granulated sugar


Wash and trim carrots and cucumber. Halve cucumber lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut vegetables into 1/4" slices and place in a colander over a shallow bowl. Sprinkle with salt and allow to stand for about 1 hour, until tender.


Rinse away all salt, drain thoroughly and place in a container with tight-fitting lid. Add rice vinegar, fish sauce and sugar. Shake to coat and blend. Allow vegetables to marinate overnight, shaking the container occasionally to ensure that all vegetables are uniformly marinated. When ready to serve, strain off the liquid and place in an attractive serving dish. Serves 4.


Quick and Easy Kimchi


1 head Napa cabbage
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons hot chili paste
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 scallions, finely sliced


Remove outer leaves from cabbage. Cut cabbage in quarters lengthwise and trim away the tough ends. Cut each quarter into 1 inch slices. Put into a colander and toss with salt. Cover and place over a bowl to drain for 2 hours, until wilted.


In a large bowl disolve the sugar in the vinegar. Add the chili paste, ginger, garlic, and scallions. Rinse the salt from the cabbage, drain well and add to the vinegar mixture. Pack tightly in a glass jar, and if needed, add enough water to cover. Close the jar and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.


Spicy Kimchi Tofu Soup


6 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup kimchi, coarsely chopped
1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ginger root, finely grated
4 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes


Place chicken stock and soy sauce in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add kimchi, mushrooms, scallions and ginger. Simmer for 20 minutes. Divide tofu cubes into four equal portions and place in the bottom of soup bowls. Ladle the soup over tofu and serve immediately. Serves 4.


Mandu Dumplings




4 ounces firm tofu, finely chopped
½ cup kimchi, finely chopped
1 cup mung bean sprouts, coarsely chopped
½ pound lean ground beef
3 scallions, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons sesame oil


50 round wonton wrappers


Vegetable oil for frying


Heat the sesame oil in a wok and lightly stir-fry garlic, scallions. Add ground beef and stir-fry until just done. Add bean sprouts, tofu and kimchi and stir-fry until just tender. Set aside to cool.


To prepare dumplings, rub the edges of each wonton wrapper with water, place about a teaspoon of filling in the center, fold in half and pinch the edges to seal.


In wok or a large skillet, heat about 2" of vegetable oil to sizzling temperature. Carefully slip three or four dumplings into the oil one at a time. Do not overfill the wok. Fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Remove dumplings from the oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining dumplings. Serve with dipping sauce. Makes about 50 dumplings.


Dipping Sauce for Mandu Dumplings & Vegetable Pancakes


1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 scallion, thinly sliced


Mix all ingredients together and let stand for at least one hour before serving.


Vegetable Pancakes


1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 carrot, cut into short, thin strips
1 zucchini, cut into short, thin strips
2 scallions, finely sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 eggs
1 cup flour
3/4 cup water
Canola oil or non-stick cooking spray


Wash and prepare the vegetables. Mix together the eggs, flour and water. Lightly stir fry the julienne vegetables in sesame oil until just tender. Set aside to cool.


Place a small mound of the chopped vegetables in a hot skillet coated with canola oil or non-stick cooking spray. Pour a small amount of the batter evenly over the vegetables to form a pancake and cook until brown on one side. Turn the pancake over and brown on the other side. Remove from the pan and repeat the process with the remaining vegetables and batter. Serve with dipping sauce.


Korean Mixed Grill Lettuce Wraps


Marinade #1 (mild)


1 cup soy sauce
1 cup sake or sweet white wine
1 cup water
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, finely grated
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped


Marinade #2 (spicy)


2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce
3 tablespoon sesame oil
3 scallions, sliced thin




1 pound beef tenderloin steaks, butterfly cut to 1/2" thick
1 pound boneless pork chops, butterfly cut to 1/2" thick
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 head red leaf lettuce


Divide each of the meats into two portions. Marinate half in the spicy marinade, and the other half in the mild marinade, for at least 1 hour. For convenience, meats may also be marinated overnight.


Using an outdoor grill, electric grill or a stovetop grill pan coated with non-stick cooking spray, grill on both sides, making sure that all meats, especially chicken and pork, are thoroughly done in the center, about 5 minutes per side. When the meat is done, remove from the grill and slice into 1/2" strips. Serve with a platter of red leaf lettuce. To eat, wrap the strips of meat in a lettuce leaf and dip in mild or spicy dipping sauces. Serves 4.


Dipping Sauces




1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger root, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, finely minced


Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously to blend.


Sweet & Spicy:


1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce


Combine all ingredients in a deep bowl. Blend with a fork or wire whisk.


Chocolate Coconut Bars


1/2 stick (2 ounces) Butter, melted for 40 seconds in the microwave
1 ½ cup cookie crumbs (Shortbread Cookies or Graham Crackers)
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1 ¼ cup shredded Coconut
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk


Pour the melted butter into the bottom of a 9" baking dish. Sprinkle the cookie crumbs evenly over the butter and press firmly to form a crust. Sprinkle nuts evenly over the cookie crumbs. Scatter chocolate chips evenly over the nuts. Sprinkle the coconut evenly over the chocolate chips. Pour the condensed milk evenly over the coconut.


Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned. Allow to cool for 1 hour before serving.