As part of the Korean Festival 2011, the Korean Embassy, Todai and the Korea Agro-Fisheries Trade Corporation came together and organised the Korean Cooking Master Class that was held at Todai, MBS over 3 days from 31st October to 2nd November. During these 3 days, 4 main representative dishes were taught by the chefs at Todai, Singapore. They were:
2) Kimchi Haemul Pajeon
4) Cucumber Kimchi
Obviously, I wasn’t about to become a Michelin star cook overnight but I did pick up some valuable tips and had fun learing to ‘make’ kimchi (though I would take ‘make’ with a large pinch of salt) and finally getting to taste some great Korean food.
The cooking was led by Mr Nam of Todai, who is the General Manager of the restaurant as well as the General Kitchen Manager and Mr Jun, the Kitchen Manager @ Todai.
Japchae is the food with boiled starch vemicelli and stir-fried vegetables. Japchae is one of the most popular dishes eaten on Korean traditional holidays. It was initially a mixture of cooked vegetables thats was served in Korean holidays court. But now, it has starch vermicelli as it’s main ingredients. A servant named Lee-chung invented this food for the king.
I think most Chinese would not be unfamiliar with vermicelli. But the Korean version is a little thicker. I love the sesame oil and sesame seeds that are an important part of the dish. This ‘simple’ dish is not as simple as it looks. I tried making it once but it came out too soggy. Good japchae should be springy and fragrant.
Kimchi Haemul Pajeon
Taking into consideration the taste of Americans, kimchi and seafood was used to make the pajeon and cheese added to give a soft and nutty flavour. The kimchi should not be too fermented for a fresh taste. Cheese toppings are optional as well.
I love pajeon, it’s a cross between ‘chai tow kuey or carrot cake’ and omelette. I’m not too sure about cheese on pajeon though but thern again I’m not one for fusion food. Instant pajeon flour is sold in Korean supermarkets and even local supermarkets like NTUC. Mr Nam mentioned that it is almost fail-safe as long as you follow the instructions. The main trick is to control the fire. Make sure that you use medium fire only.
Bulgogi is a dish of beef and vegetables, marinated in a special sauce and it’s cooked on a hot iron plate.
Apparently, bulgogi is the most popular dish amongst the Koreans and the tourists. The suace is sweet and fragrant (like the Chinese, Koreans use lots of sesame oil) and I love the mushrooms that balance off the meatiness. Some tips:
Tip 1: Use sirloin or tenderloin
Tip 2: Marinate the beef and the vegetables and wrap them up together tightly for about an hour in the fridge
Tip 3: Fry the beef quickly
Tip 4: Don’t cook the mushrooms
And just to make you hungry…
This is a fermented cucumber dish stuffed with specially seasoned Korean leek. Cucumber kimchi is eaten alot in summer, as cucumber is in season. Cucumber is a alkalinity vegetable which has 19 calaries per 100g. Cucumber filters unnecessary mineral from our body.
Kimchi is probably the most well known dish amongst Korean food. It is said to have healthy benefits and kills germs. There are over 100 of variety of kimchi as Koreans use seasonal vegetables to make their kimchi but of course the most common one is the cabbage kimchi. This crunchy dish uses stuffings like apple, carrot, onion and the Korean leek. Yummy.
Tip: Put the cucumber in cold water after parboiling it. This keeps the colour as well as the crunchiness.
Making cucumber kimchi
What’s the fun of having cooking classes without a little hands-on right? ^^
And away we, I mean he goes..
This is where we got our hands ‘dirty’ by stuffing the cucumbers with the stuffings. Hehe!
We all got to taste the four dishes that were taught and more- including one of Todai’s signature- ginseng tempura dipped in honey. Mmmm! 맛잇어요!
Burp! Want to try the dishes? Then head down to Todai for it’s buffet.
Todai started it’s operations in Santa Monica, 1985 and the Singapore branch opened in 2009. It is well known for it’s high-end buffet range. They’ve already started their Christmas promotion with new Christmas dishes. Currently, they have a promotion with UOB card. Free parking above $20 (except public holidays). This is useful if you drive and have lunch during the weekdays. Parking at MBS is a cool $6 for the 1st hour and $1 per very 30 minutes. Of course, it’s totally useless if you don’t drive. hehe! Check out the other promotions on their site here.
And…. it seems there will be a chance to win tickets to Girls’ Generation concert. Look for details on their FB and website.
Ohhh…curious to know how my cucmber kimchi looks like?
It was out-of-this-world. ^^