Korean Inspired Recipes

I was introduced to Korean food when my dad visited Korea and brought home goodies from there. I remembered eating thick noodles in spicy gochujang broth and munching on kimchi, Korean pickled vegetables. And I recalled wolfing down a bowl of hot spicy soup before taking my college exam- the idea was the hot spicy soup would wake me up and make my tummy churn every delicious morsel thus allowing me to last through the test. People laud Korean dishes as healthy food. Like most Asian countries, food is plucked out of the sea or land and cooked almost immediately via boiled, fried, steamed, pickled and many more. How can you not NOT like it? So please, do enjoy my Korean-inspired recipes below!


- Spicy chicken soup with veg and noodles

- Pork bulgogi

- Spicy squid (Ojinguh Bokkeum)

- Oven baked chicken drumsticks


- Spicy red radish kimchi

- Spicy cucumber kimchi (vegan)

Spicy Chicken Soup with Vegetables and Noodles

Ingredients (Yields 4 servings):

5 cups water, 2 tbs gochujang (hot pepper paste), 1 small onion, 4 garlic cloves, 1 tsp pepper flakes, 2 chicken breasts, 2 tomatoes, 1 small daikon, 5 scallions, 4 shiitake mushrooms, 2 tbs olive oil, 2 tsps sesame oil, 1 tsp sugar, 1 egg, 1 bag of plain noodles, salt and ground black pepper to taste

Optional ingredients: 1 cube of anchovy bouillon (add in step 3), 2 pieces dried kelp- rehydrated (add in step 3), 1 potato (slice and add in step 2), tofu (cut and add in step 6 making sure tofu is heated through) and/or 10 clams ( add in step 3 but remove the clams when the clams open)


1. Slice onion to strips and chop garlic. Cut tomatoes to eights lengthwise. Slice daikon thinly

2. In a medium size pot, add 1 tbs olive oil and fry onion until softened. Add garlic, pepper flakes and gochujang. Fry until mixture is well incorporated (~3 mins)

3. Add water and bring it to a boil. Lower to medium heat and add tomatoes, daikon and mushrooms. Boil for 15 mins

4. Slice chicken to bite size pieces. Cut scallions and separate the green and white parts of the scallions. Add black pepper, chicken and the white parts of the scallions into the pot and cover. Let the soup boil for another 20 min while stirring occasionally

5. In a separate pot, bring some water to a boil. Add plain noodles and cook for 4 to 5 mins until tender. Drain and mix with 1 tbs olive oil to avoid noodles sticking to each other

6. Season soup with sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Crack an egg in to the soup, allowing it to cook for another min before adding sesame oil and green parts of the scallions. Stir and remove from heat

7. Serve by placing noodles in a bowl and ladling the broth over the noodles. Enjoy!

Spicy Red Radish Kimchi

I love kimchi and decided to make this non-traditional kimchi since I got tons of fresh red radishes from my coworker.


3 cups red radishes, 2 Serrano peppers, 2 scallion stalks, 2 tbs Korean or red chili powder, 2 tsp fresh ginger root, 2 tsp fresh garlic, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp salt, and 2 tsps sugar


1. Cut red radishes, Serrano peppers, and scallions to 0.25 inch slices

2. Crush ginger root and garlic

3. Mix all the ingredients together

4. In a clean jar, press the radish mixture and cover with a lid. Let it sit for a day at room temperature

5. The kimchi is ready to be eaten! Save the rest in the fridge for up to a week

Note: You can substitute noodles with steamed rice. You can replace chicken with sliced beef or seafood or simply keep it vegetarian.

Spicy Cucumber Kimchi

When summer comes around, I enjoy making spicy cucumber kimchi. The abundance of this gourd coupled with its high content of water and crunchiness draws a refreshing taste and mellows out the hot summer days! I tweaked this recipe to make it vegan friendly.


1 large cucumber, 1 scallion, 1 tbs Korean chili powder (gochugaru), 0.5 tbs chili pepper flakes, 0.5 tbs garlic powder, 0.5 tbs ginger powder, 2 tbs rice vinegar, brown sugar to taste, a couple dashes of vegan soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds, and 1 tbs salt


1. Wash cucumber. Cut ends and rub both ends with the removed slice to remove the white foamy substance. It removes the natural bitterness that comes with the cucumber- a trick my mus taught us. Thinly cut strips of the skin off- totally optional. Then, cut cucumber to halves, and 1/8 inch thick slices

2. Place cucumber slices in a bowl. Sprinkle salt and toss slices to ensure each piece is covered with salt. Set aside for 15 to 30 minutes. This will draw the liquid out and enhances the natural sweetness of the cucumber

3. In a smaller bowl, mix all the rest of the ingredients

4. Drain the cucumber slices from the brine. Quickly rinse them. Taste one to ensure most of the salt is gone

5. Toss the cucumber slices with spicy mixture. Adjust sweetness and umami flavor by adding brown sugar and soy sauce to your liking

6. Cut scallion thinly. Toss in with cucumber kimchi. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Note: I left the seeds on to add fiber in my diet :) Feel free to add your fav kimchi ingredients like sliced carrots, sweet onion, fresh chili peppers and garlic chives. You can substitute the garlic and ginger powders with fresh garlic cloves and ginger root

Pork Bulgogi

Bulgogi is a Korean grilled meat dish. Sometimes you can find it served on cast iron skillet in Korean restaurants. I opted to give a slight Chinese stir fry twist.

Ingredients (Yields 4 servings):

1 lb thinly sliced pork loin, 3 tbs sesame oil, 1 tbs soy sauce, 1 tbs sugar, 2 garlic cloves- crushed, 1 green bell pepper, 1 tbs toasted sesame seeds, 1 generous splash of Chinese rice wine and ground black pepper to taste


1. In a ceramic bowl, mix all the ingredients except Chinese rice wine. Let it marinate overnight

2. Heat skillet to medium. Add some oil. Stir in pork mixture

3. Cook until the meat is 3/4 cooked through. Add rice wine and cook until the wine is evaporated and pork cooked through

4. Serve with a steaming bowl of rice and a side of kimchi (Korean spicy pickles)

Spicy Squid (Ojinguh Bokkeum)

Possible one of my spot-on recipe. One can substitute squid with other meats or keep it vegetarian.

Ingredients (Yields 4 servings):

1 lb squid- sliced and drained, 1 tbs gochujang (hot pepper paste), 1 large onion, 4 garlic cloves, 1 tbs vegetable oil, 1 tbs sesame oil, 1 tbs soy sauce, 0.5 to 1 tbs brown sugar, pepper to taste and 4 dried chilies or crush pepper flakes (optional)


1. Slice onion to half moon shapes. Crush and roughly chop garlic

2. Heat vegetable and sesame oil in wok over medium heat. Stir in garlic an onion until translucent. Stir in gochujang and dried chilies for 1 to 2 minutes

3. Add sliced squid and soy sauce and blend well. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until squid turns semi- white. Add brown sugar and continue to cook until sauce thickens up

4. Season with pepper to taste

5. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions. Serve with rice or noodles

Oven Baked Spicy Chicken Drumsticks

I recently purchased 3kg gochujang, a Korean spicy paste for 50% off. I decided to marinate some chicken drumsticks overnight and see how they went. They turned out pretty tasty and easy to cook! I did not add sugar or salt to the marinade due to existing sugar content in the paste. You can tell there is high sugar content with the charred skin on the drumsticks in the picture


7 chicken drumsticks, 1 to 1.5 tbs gochujang and 1 tbs garlic powder

(Optional) 1 tsp chili flakes, 1 small onion, black pepper and salt to taste


1. Trim excess fat from drumsticks

2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together, ensuring the drumsticks are well coated

3. Cover with plastic wrap and let them sit in the fridge overnight

4. Preheat oven to 400 degF. Place large cast iron skillet so it heats up as the oven preheats. Take the drumsticks out from the fridge so they come to room temperature

5. Take the skillet out from the oven. Lightly coat the skillet with some oil. Place chicken on the skillet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes

6. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degF. Take the skillet out. Flip the drumsticks and continue to bake them for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degF

7. Serve with rice and your favorite side dishes