On the sixth day of Korea Joa project, we were honored to be able to visit Food & Culture Academy. There, we meet the most famous food director in Korea. The food director is a cultural ambassador who brings beauty, variety, and healthfulness of Korean cuisine to the public, partly through Korean films and dramas. Kim Soo Jin is the president of Food Culture & Academy and the first Food Director in Korea. Some of her works are King and the Clown, Le Grand Chef, The Royal Tailor, That Winter the Wind Blows and many more. Kim Soo Jin has big passion towards Korean food and she was kind enough to answer few questions from Korea Joa members.
Question: What is the challenge with directing food and making it delicious in a film or drama?
KSJ: Since it is a long process to shoot a drama, after I cook and time passed by, the food taste goes bad. I have more hardship because I have to constantly cook and constantly make the same dishes.
Question: What is the most memorable moment of your career?
KSJ: Its more like right now. When people come from around the world to take my class and learn how to make Korean food. That’s the most memorable for me. I am very proud whenever people are enjoying Korean food. I see the possibilities of Korean food being promoted all over the world.
Question: What is the crazy fact that would surprise people about Korean food?
KSJ: It would have to be Kimchi. There are more than 200 types of Kimchi. Kimchi is one of the 5 world super foods, that was nominated by the Washington Health Magazine. Kimchi has a lot of nutrition, it has vitamin C and minerals. It’s a healthy food. Unlike other foods, the more it is stored, it doesn’t go bad, and the nutrition goes up. The more it’s stored the healthier it is. Like we are addicted to cheese, once you get addicted to kimchi you can’t take it out. Since it is a world renowned food scientifically, I try to promote Kimchi all over the world.
Question: What makes Korean food so unique?
KSJ: As you have experienced, Korean food is not just one dish. We have rice and all the side dishes that compliment the nutrition that rice doesn’t have. That’s the unique part of Korean food. Throughout the world, Korea is the only country where we have the rice and side dishes has all the nutrition for the plate. We have over 200 types of rice and grain. For example grains, rice, also some kind of vegetable with green leaves and mix rice with that and so on. There are so many side dishes, they are almost uncountable. Side dishes include fish, meat, vegetables, and all sorts of stews that we have. Through eating all these foods the nutrition is spread through all these dishes. So we will get healthy if we eat Korean food. The attraction of Korean food is that Korean food is a well-being food which makes everyone healthy by eating it. According to Director Kim, eating Miyeokguk (Korean seaweed soup) is good for clearing and thinning the blood and is given to women after they have given birth to recover quicker.
KSJ: What was your favorite project or actor to work with?
Answer: All actors are my favorite, because they are the stars. But among them, my favourite is actress Kim Jung Eun and the actor Yeo Jingoo. Right now we are best friends! The actors usually come to Food and Culture Academy to learn about 3 months before filming. So when the actors come in to practice cooking, I was happy because I can hold the hands of the stars. When I was teaching them how to cook, hold a knife I use that opportunity to touch them and become friends with them. After all I am a girl.(laugh)
Next, we learnt how to make Bulgogi, Japchae and Haemul Pajeon on our own. You can try the recipes below. Selamat mencuba!
1) Bulgogi (Grilled Marinated Beef)
‘Bul’ means fire while ‘gogi’ means meat. Bulgogi is one of the most popular Korean dishes, made all around the world. Here are the recipes we learnt and some tips on how to cook Bulgogi.
100 grams Beef (sirloin or tenderloin)
Giant sized Green Onion
2 Shiitake mushrooms or any type of mushrooms (soak in the water for half an hour)
Marinade sauce :
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp pineapple juice or pear juice (use tinned pineapple to avoid sour pineapple)
6 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1. Slice beef thinly
2. Slice carrots, onion and mushrooms. Make sure to cut carrots very thin because they take longer to cook.
3. Slice the green onion diagonally so you will get a stronger flavor because there is more exposed area.
4. Prepare the marinade sauce by mixing the marinade ingredients altogether.
5. Add the beef into the marinade sauce and give them a gentle massage.
6. Add carrots, onions, mushrooms and green onion together and let them be for 15 minutes so the ingredients and the sauce can mix very well.
7. Fry them on the pan with medium heat until the beef turn into brownish color (about 7-10 minutes), then its ready to serve!
2) Japchae (Stir-fried Glass Noodles)
‘Jap’ means stirred and ‘chae’ means vegetables. Japchae is one of the traditional Korean cuisine and usually served on holidays or special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, etc). The glass noodles used in this recipe has springy and slightly chewy texture which is made from sweet potatoes.
60 grams Glass noodles
70 grams Beef (can be replaced with chicken, shrimp, squid, etc.)
1 Shiitake mushroom (can substitute with any mushroom)
Seasoning Sauce :
1.5 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vegetables oil
2 tsp black sugar or brown sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
100 ml water
1. Add a pinch of salt into boiling water and cook the noodles on high heat for 2 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain. Set aside.
2. Separate the yolk from the white to make egg garnish. Slice them thinly and prettily.
3. Slice cucumber, mushrooms and carrot thinly
4. Marinate the beef with 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and a pinch of black pepper
5. Stir-fry every single vegetables separately to avoid the color and the taste mixed together. Starting off with lighter color to the darker color (onion – cucumber – mushroom). Make sure you only use a little bit of oil and add a pinch of salt for every vegetables.
6. Stir-fry the beef without the oil, since we have already added the oil when marinating the beef.
7. In a pan, boil the seasoning, then add the noodles in the seasoning. Fry the noodles until all noodles absorb all the sauce, then remove from heat.
6. Add beef, vegetables, sesame oil and sesame seeds, mix, and serve!
3) Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Pancake)
Haemul Pajeon is a widely loved snack in Korea. A combination of seafood, green onions and flavorful batter creates a savory pancake to die for. It’s reasonably simple to make, and is also great for parties or gatherings. Koreans usually enjoy haemul pajeon with makgeolli (milky Korean rice wine) or soju (Korean vodka).
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups water
1 Green and Red peppers
1 bunch green onions
3 cups mixed seafood of your choice (fresh!) – such as oysters, shrimps, clams, octopus, squids
1 tsp salt
1. Wash and slice the green onions about 20cm long.
2. Dip the fresh oysters/shrimp/mussel/sliced squid 2-3 times in saltwater, then rinse in running water.
3. Slice green and red peppers slantwise.
4. Stir and sieve 2 eggs. Add the flour, salt, and water for the batter. You can use your hand to mix them together.
6. Pour the oil first into the pan and place battered green onions on the heated pan.
7. Spread the batter evenly in the pan.
8. Evenly spread floured seafood.
9. Use green and red peppers as garnish, then fry the pajeon front and back.
10. Ready to serve!
Have fun trying! Do share your pictures with us if you tried cooking these delicious meals.