All my cooking seems to be either incredibly difficult or ridiculously easy. I suppose I am either in the mood to do it up really well (which means its time intensive and hard!) or I’ve no time at all and try to get away with doing as little as possible!
Lucky for me, food does not have to be complex to be good. Quality ingredients, big flavor, and simple rendering can be serious people pleasers, so, of course easy wins most days than not!
The following are some of my go-to yummy Korean recipes—hope you find them as easy to accomplish and delicious to eat!
Scallion and Imitation Crab Legs Banchan
Close cousin to matsal jeon, but modified to be gluten free. I got this recipe from my aunt who said this was one of the only ways she could get my younger cousin to eat a green vegetable!
30 minute prep/cook time
Imitation crab legs, 1 cup chopped
Scallions, 1 cup chopped
Eggs, 3 beaten
Fresh ground pepper
Sesame oil or preferred cooking fat
Beat eggs in a small mixing bowl, add salt and pepper to taste, and set aside
Chop scallions and imitation crab legs (also known as “matsal” in Korean). *you may need to slice imitation crab legs lengthwise first if the pieces are very thick. The aim is to chop tiny pieces, similar to diced onion
Stir into egg mixture until fully incorporated.
Heat pan over medium heat and coat with sesame oil *sometimes I use a large electric griddle on about 275 degrees to knock these out faster
Use a slotted spoon or fork to drop small portions (about 1.5 inch diameter) of mixture onto pan.
Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Watch the heat and adjust if cooking too quickly.
Yields approximately 12 bite size omelets!
Korean Braised Pork Ribs and Kimchi
Braise in Korean is “jjim.” Another aunt made this dish for me in a pressure cooker a few summers ago, and it was so good, I returned home and immediately purchased my own pressure cooker to make it again! The meat itself is not very spicy at all. My children can eat it and the tofu very easily, but can only eat tiny bites of the kimchi.
5 minute prep, 1 hour cook time,
Country style pork ribs, 3 lbs
Kimchi, napa cabbage, 10 oz or more and liquid in packaging
Fresh ground pepper
*Optional: Firm Tofu, one package, sliced into mid sized cubes
Scallions to garnish
Prep meat: pat dry with paper towels and rub salt and pepper onto each side. Allow some time for them to warm up on the counter if coming straight out of the fridge.
Heat pressure cooker on medium high heat, and sear each side until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side *or you can use a skillet.
Remove from heat and arrange meat evenly across the bottom of the pressure cooker, then heap kimchi on top of the meat, and pour over “kimchi juice,” about 1 cup, and add water until you have about one inch of liquid (sometimes there is not much liquid in the kimchi packaging, in which case, you can use just water).
I find it’s easier and less messy to use uncut or “pogi kimchi” for this recipe, but if all you have is a jar of kimchi that has already been cut, thats fine, too.
Lock on the lid of the pressure cooker and add the top (I use a manual pressure cooker. See below for tips on digital pressure cookers), Turn the heat on high.
Once you reach high pressure (rapidly rocking top), bring the temperature down until the top is only gently rocking, and cook for 30-45 more minutes (30 min if adding tofu, 45 minutes if not).
*Optional: if you want to add tofu, manually release the pressure by using an oven mitt to swiftly pull off the small top *warning, very high pitched whistle! For a little less noise, use a wooden handled utensil to tilt the top and allow the pressure to dissipate.
Once the pressure is released, the cooker will unlock, and you can safely open the lid. Add the sliced tofu over the kimchi, spoon some of the liquid over the tofu, and reapply the lid and top.
Bring the pressure back up to high (rapid rocking top), and then remove the pot from heat, allowing it to gradually release pressure until the lid unlocks.
I layered kimchi, then tofu on one platter with scallion garnish on top, and the ribs on a separate platter lined with red leaf lettuce, but you can arrange it all on one plate without the leaves if preferred!
*Tips on using a digital pressure cooker
Lock the lid and put the pot over high heat. Bring the pressure up to 15 psi. Cook for 45 min, or if adding tofu, cook for 30 minutes then manually release pressure by pushing down on the pressure regulator with a wooden handled utensil (to avoid being burned from the steam), once lid unlocks, add tofu, and then relock lid and bring the pressure back up to 15 psi over high heat. Once reached, remove from heat and allow the pressure to dissipate naturally, then serve.
If you want another excuse to plunge into the wonderful world of pressure cookers and Korean cooking, check out one of my favorite celebrity chefs, Sang Yoon in this video demonstration of Galbi Jjim, or Braised Korean Short Ribs