My family and I recently experienced a true Korean feast made with love by friends. The company was delightful, their hospitality went above and beyond, and the food blew us away. I learned they had cooked for hours in preparation, and they even made sure it was all gluten-free for me.
The meal began with roasted Korean sweet potatoes, served with no seasoning or sauce. I was skeptical at first, but the dish was tender, nutty, slightly sweet and quite tasty. We nibbled on that while our friends finished the main course: Kalbi (Beef Short Ribs) and Japchae (Stir Fried Noodles). The flavors were simply spectacular. They finished it off with two flavors of homemade ice cream, Backyard Mint and Double Dark Chocolate, from the book Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. And it was topped with homemade magic shell sauce. Amazing! Our friends shared their recipes for us all to enjoy below.
5 lbs Korean Style Beef Short Ribs
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup sugar
3 cups of marinade blend, recipe below
1 cup ajimirin sauce (available at Asian grocery stores)
1/2 can of 7-up
1 yellow onion
1 red apple
1 pear, preferably Asian pear
1/2 cup garlic
Blend marinade ingredients together. Mix 3 cups marinade and mix it with the 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of soy sauce.Tenderize the kalbi meat. The softer the meat, the better it tastes. Place kalbi meat and marinade into an airtight ziploc bag and refrigerate. Marinate at least 24 hours. Pan-fry or grill the kalbi meat after marinating.
1 pkg potato starch noodles (dangmyun)
1/2 to 3/4 lb marinated beef (see below)
1 bunch of spinach
1 medium size carrot
1 large size onion
1 C dried shiitake mushrooms
8 green onions
Prep to stir-fry
- Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in warm water for a few hours until they become soft. Squeeze the water out of them.
- Cut a carrot into thin matchstick-shaped pieces 5 cm long.
- Cut 7-8 green onions into 7 cm long pieces.
- Slice one onion thinly.
- Slice beef into thin strips.
- Boil noodles in a big pot for about 3 minutes. When the noodles are soft (but not too soft), drain them and put in a large bowl.
- Cut the noodles by using scissors (unless you buy the pre-cut kind) and add 1 T of soy sauce and 1 T of sesame oil. Mix it up and set aside. (I’m a little more generous with the soy sauce and sesame oil.)
- Add a bunch of spinach to boiling water and stir it gently for 1 minute. Then take it out and rinse it in cold water. Squeeze it gently to get the water out and cut into 5 cm pieces.
- Mix ½ T soy sauce and ½ T sesame oil and place in the large bowl with the noodles. Keep it covered so it doesn’t get cold.
- Sauté carrot strips in olive oil until cooked/not crunchy. Put into the large bowl.
- Sauté sliced onions in olive oil until the onion looks translucent. Put it into the large bowl.
- Sauté green onions in olive oil for 1 minute and put it into the large bowl.
- Sauté marinated beef and shiitake mushrooms together. (If you are not using marinated beef, use the following: Sauté beef strips and sliced shitake mushrooms. After it’s cooked, add 3 cloves of minced/crushed garlic, 2 T of soy sauce and 2 T sugar. Stir until mixed and then put it into the large bowl.)
- Add 2 T of soy sauce, 3 T of sugar, 2 T of sesame oil, and 1 t of ground pepper to the large bowl. Mix all ingredients (preferably with hands), then sprinkle 1 T of toasted sesame seeds on the top. (I added some more soy sauce and sesame oil to taste.)
- Serve with rice and Kimchi, or as a side dish.
Homemade Magic Shell
1.5 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup coconut oil
Combine in double boiler until chocolate is almost melted. Remove from heat and stir until all melted. Pour over ice cream and enjoy!