Cooking Korean

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  • Published: Mar 10th, 2009
  • Category: Recipe
  • Comments: 3

Soybean sprout rice [Kongnamool-Bab]

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A few days ago, I cooked this dish for the first time since I got married and was pleasantly surprised that my American husband liked it so much. I used to make this dish in Korea whenever there was nothing else to eat in the refrigerator. You can easily get this sprout at the corner grocery store of any neighborhood in Korea. All I did was put rice, water, and soybean sprouts in the rice cooker and push the button. When I came home from a 40 minute jog, my dinner was ready to be mixed with the sauce. I like adding ground beef because it gives a nice meaty texture and flavor but if you are a vegetarian, it is still tasty only with the soybean sprouts.

*Ingredients (4 portions)
White rice: 2 cups
Water: 2cups
Soybean sprout : 7oz/200g
Ground beef: 1 cup/7oz/200g

Soy sauce: 2 Tbsp
Green onion – minced: 2 Tbsp
Garlic – minced: 1 Tbsp
Sesame Oil: 2 tsp
Black pepper: 1/2 tsp

Soy sauce: 1/3 cup
Green onion – chopped: 2 Tbsp
Garlic – minced: 1 tsp
Sugar: 2 tsp
Sesame oil: 2 tsp
Sesame seed – roasted and crushed: 1/2 Tbsp
Red pepper powder: 1 tsp


1.Wash rice several times (at least 3 times) by changing water and drain. Ratio of water and rice is 1:1 but conventionally, Koreans measure the amount of water with a finger. Put your index finger right on the surface of rice and fill the water until the water reaches the first segment of your finger.
Set it aside.

2.Mix ground beef with marinade ingredients and set it aside.

3.Trim off hairy end of bean sprouts, rinse them in the water, and drain.

4.Now it’s time to put bean sprouts into the rice. Take a look at the rice. Do you see the water has been reduced?. Don’t worry. It’s because the rice soaked up the water and you must not add more water. Spread bean sprouts on the rice.

5.Spread marinated ground beef on top of the bean sprouts. Try to make as small a lump as possible.

6.If you have an electronic rice cooker, all you need to do now is cover it and press the “Cook” button. However, if you are cooking in a pot, start with high heat (lid on) and when it comes to a rolling boil, reduce heat to low to medium. After about 5 minutes, open the lid a little and check the taste of the rice. Do you see that most of the water has disappeared and the very center of the rice tastes slightly firm? If so, then it’s time to reduce the heat one more time to VERY VERY low (Again lid on)

7.Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the sauce and keep it in the refrigerator.

8.Taste the rice one more time after about 10 minutes. It’s done when rice feels fully bloomed and soft on your tongue.

9.Mix rice gently with a wooden or plastic spatula and serve in a bowl with sauce on the side.

White rice [Baek-mi]

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Have you ever seen standing comedy show of Comedian Margaret Cho?
She talked about her Korean mother who told her to glue school art project with cooked rice. Yep,this is it. the picture above is the rice her mom was talking about.
She was not just joking. I,too, used this rice many times as a glue at school or home.

When I was in culinary school, I had a chance to cook Korean rice and many of my American classmates asked me what I do to make rice so sticky. Korean rice is short grain rice like what people call “sushi rice” and it’s sticky when cooked because of the starch content. Unlike rice from Southeast Asia or North America, Korean rice is moist and sticks together rather than falling apart. Korean rice is short grain rice and has a lot more starch than long grain rice. Because it is highly glutinous,It makes it rather easy to eat with chopsticks.

Because of cold winter temperature in Korea,rice can be planted only once a year. The planting season is in May-June, and harvesting takes place in October-November. The rice is country’s most important agricultural commodity and is also the main source of carbohydrate in people’s diet. Rice is the central element of the main course in any Korean meal. Rice along with Kimchi, soup and some other vegetable side dishes is the typical meal eaten in most Korean homes.

If you want to buy this rice and don’t have Korean grocery store near you, try to find a rice with label “Sushi rice”in your local grocery store.

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