As usual for us, many of our experiences during our visit to Seoul involve food. I like Korean food, but a lot of it is still unfamiliar to me, so I figured a Korean home cooking class would be a fun way to learn more about Korean cuisine and ingredients.
OME Cooking Lab in Seoul offers a Korean home cooking class, so I signed up, hoping to learn enough to make a couple of the most popular dishes myself.
Our class of six first toured the Gyeongdong market in the Dongdaemun District. Gyeongdong (or Kyungdong) is the largest wholesale food market in Seoul, and you can find every meat or produce imaginable, as well as herbal medicines and ginseng.
Shredded peppers were one of the ingredients we would be using in our tofu stew.
The quality of the produce and other foods looked very high, and we also saw small manufacturers producing staples such as sesame oil and Korea’s famous red pepper flakes (gochugaru).
Time to cook!
After the market we went to cook and then eat together in a traditional style Korean house.
Our menu of traditional Korean foods consisted of mushroom soft-tofu stew, beef bulgogi, jeon (Korean pancake) and acorn jelly salad.
The first task was making the delicious sauce for the bulgogi, which includes soy sauce, garlic, green onion, sesame oil, sugar, and pepper. Thin sliced beef is first marinated in the sauce, then we pan-fried it with onions scallions, mushrooms and carrots.
Our chef/teacher Minseon explained that a well-planned Korean meal should include five colours (or close variations): green, white, red, black and yellow—representing the five basic elements wood, metal, fire, water and earth. As you can see we did so with the ingredients for the beef bulgogi.
Mushroom Soft-Tofu Stew
The soup is a flavourful and spicy combination of green onion, garlic, soft tofu, mushrooms, clams, and Korean red pepper. I was given the job of shredding mushrooms for the soup. I usually chop mushrooms with a knife but shredding them worked really well.
Pajeon (Korean Green Onion Pancake)
Jeon or Korean pancakes are a very popular food item. Making jeon is quite simple – mix the batter, then add the vegetable or seafood, and fry until crispy on each side. We made green onion jeon or pajeon, and also cute little zucchini jeon, but you can also make kimchi jeon, or seafood jeon. Jeon is often enjoyed together with Makgeolli, a milky, refreshing, rice wine.
Tip: Using ice-cold water in the batter helps make the pancake more crispy.
Acorn Jelly Salad
Lastly was the acorn jelly salad. The acorn jelly was already made, so we only had to make the salad dressing, then arrange the jelly on the plate first, topped with the salad. Since having it at the class I’ve noticed it is a fairly popular banchan item (Korean side dish), at least this time of year.
Dinner is served!
Time to eat our Korean feast, (left to right): soft-tofu stew with clams, beef bulgogi, acorn jelly salad, and Korean pancake (jeon).
The meal was delicious, and I’ll try making these dishes myself at home.
If you are interested in a fun, Korean cooking lesson, I would recommend OME Cooking Lab. Our chef/teacher Minseon was friendly and knowledgable, with lots of tips and information about the ingredients. She has even traveled to over 20 countries to experience and understand different cultures and foods.
You can find more information about the OME Cooking Lab at 5-tastes.com.
Have you tried eating or cooking Korean food?
(Note: we did not receive any compensation from OME Cooking Lab, and opinions are our own.)