Korean in the Kitchen – Tofu & Kimchi Fried Rice

Last weekend, I was incredibly lucky to have a guest chef in my kitchen. My lovely friend from South Korea, Ji-hyeon, came to visit and cooked for us! In the mere hour I was watching her prepare and cook the meal, I not only learned two new authentic recipes, but I observed the way she worked with the food, and it was a truly fascinating and educational experience.

You can read all the recipe books in the world, but watching a Korean native cook Korean food in front of your eyes is on a completely different level. I can’t wait to start incorporate her style into my own cooking.

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I was her assistant frying the tofu

The tofu was drained and pressed, and then seasoned with salt and pepper. The salt also helped dehydrate the tofu, so it was firm enough to not fall apart in the frying pan.

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We then stir-fried the tofu with mixed vegetables and Korean spices and sauces

The ingredients for the stir-fry sauce was quite simple, but included branded Korean ingredients that are, for the most part, quite difficult to get in the UK. She used her own high quality Korean soy sauce, red wine, bottled gochujang and premium sesame oil, with my rice wine vinegar, Korean hot pepper flakes, sesame seeds and garlic.

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The finished result

A top tip I learned from watching her stir-fry: she added oil, spring onions, garlic and soy sauce to the wok, and leaned it over on the high flame, pressing and infusing the ingredients into oil as it released the flavours and aromas. Something I’d never seen but it definitely made the food taste amazing.

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Kimchi fried with sushi rice

The kimchi was cut into chunks with scissors, and fried off with spices before mixing with the Japanese sushi rice. Salt, pepper, sesame oil and soy sauce were added to taste.

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A fried egg on top to mix with the rice

And this is the finished result. I’ve never eaten such perfectly cooked rice in my life. I always make egg fried rice, but adding it to the top like this and then mixing the yolk into the food gives it another element of flavour and texture – a must try!

Authentic Korean food is outstanding, and heavily underrated in comparison with other East Asian cuisines. The flavour is so rich and powerful – any person who loves spice and sesame oil would be in their element eating such fantastically flavoursome food. I can’t wait to share more recipes with you soon.

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