The Korean Dinner Party was a two-part adventure. The first party was held at Seoul Barbeque in April.
The thought of making the food for an actual Korean party was a little overwhelming. We thought we would partake in one of the best Korean restaurants in Denver first.
Look at all the little side dishes that go with the sliced beef!!!
While we munched on all the delicious food, I showed this article from Bon Appétit about hosting a Korean dinner party. After a short discussion we decided that we could put this party together! Barb volunteered to host.
Fast forward five months….
All adventures must start with shopping. M Mart is a Korean/Japanese Grocery Store. We let Barb take the lead with shopping she had more experience. She and her husband adopted their son from Korea. Barb has visited Korea twice and raised her son by exposing him to his native land. M Mart has a great choice of meat and authentic Korean ingredients. The meat for bulgolgi is thinly sliced rib eye steak on the cross grain.
stacks of rice
After filling our baskets we ventured over to the H Mart which is a large Asian grocery market. It was huge. The produce and kitchen wares were overwhelming. What fun it was!
Really long green beans
Now, lets get down to cooking. First with the rice. This is a Korean rice cooker – the Cuckoo. Three minutes before the rice was cooked, the top shot off steam. Then it spoke in Korean that the rice was done (I’m guessing) and it tweeted “Cuckoo!” So cute!
This is when it is good to have a lot of people in the kitchen… chopping and shredding and mixing ingredients.
Doenjang Jjigae soup
Rice starch water: rinse rice once with water and drain. Add a 1/2 cup of water again, toss and swirl around the rice for 30 seconds. You will see the water turning milk-like. Add 2 cups o water and swirl to collect all the starch from the rice. Drain to save the starch water in a bowl (it doesn’t say how much rice to start with – we used a couple of cups of dry).
2 cups rice starch water (see above)
6-7 dried anchovies (cute little silver fish)
1 piece (3″) dried sea kelp
2 generous TBSP Doenjang (soybean paste)
1/2 package (4 oz) firm tofu, cut into 1″ cubes
1/2 onion diced
1/2 zucchini diced
1 tsp Korean chili flakes
1 garlic clove chopped
1 green or red chili sliced (I didn’t use this)
1/2 package enoki mushrooms or one handful of any mushrooms sliced
1/2 Asian leek or 1 green onion sliced
1. Bring small 1 quart stone or heavy bottom pot over medium high heat. Toast the anchovies for 1 minute and pour the rice starch water into the pot. Add the sea kelp and bring to boil; simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the anchovies and sea kelp and discard them.
2. Using a course mesh strainer, mash the Doenjang paste into the pot so it incorporates into the stock. Add onion, zucchini, chili flakes and let them boil. Add tofu, garlic, chili and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Lastly add enoki mushrooms and green onion. Remove the pot from heat and serve hot with rice.
1. The key to a good Bulgolgi is how the meat is cut. Barb said that she once purchased a ribeye at a local market and tried to get the butcher to cut it thinly on the cross grain. It didn’t turn out that well. This is where an authentic Korean market shines.
2. The bibimbap bowl is made of granite. It is heavy-duty so it can be heated on the stove top. It has a specific handle that looks like a clamp, to transfer it to a serving plate. The hot bowl crisps the cooked rice, then each ingredient is added and topped with a fried egg. Prior to eating, all the ingredients are cooked when mixed together.
3. The Doenjang Jjigae reminded me of Miso Soup (which is Japanese). The difference is that all the ingredients are Korean based. The fish broth was easier than I thought. The dried anchovies were cute. Anchovies and kelp were added to the rice water but removed/strained before combining the ingredients.
4. Barb said that everywhere they went in Korea, they were served watermelon for dessert. Our dessert was watermelon, Asian pear and a matcha tea roll cake. They were nice and light sweets after a full meal.
5. The key to our successful party was gathering together to prepare it. We all brought our own knives and cutting boards to keep up with all the chopping. All week I thought about how much fun the party was; it brought a smile to my face 🙂