Tag Archives: Korean

Shortrib Kimchi Jjigae

Shortrib Kimchi Jjigae

There’s nothing better on a snow day than staying indoors and digging into a hot and hearty comfort meal. This Shortrib Kimchi Jjigae is just that. Meaty, mouthwatering, fork-tender beef shortribs braised in a kimchi broth with caramelized onions and chewy tteok. Add some fresh steamy rice and prepare for a meal that will make you wish every day could be a snow day.

You will need:

  • 2 lbs yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 – 3 lbs beef short ribs (4 ribs)
  • 2 cups kimchi
  • 700 ml anchovy stock (or Japanese dashi)
  • 2 cups tteok (Korean ricecakes)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to season
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • fresh bean sprouts
  • julienned carrot
  • green onion
  • white and black sesame seeds

In a large pan on high, heat the canola oil and butter. Add the onions, turn the heat down to medium, and slowly cook until the onion get caramelized and brown. When the onions are done, put them in the bottom of a pressure cooker or dutch oven and set aside.

Season the shortribs with salt and sear in the pan on high heat with more oil til they are browned. When they’re brown, place them on the onions.

Deglaze the pan you just seared the ribs in with the 2 cups of kimchi. Stir the kimchi around until all the fond comes free from the bottom of the pan. Place the kimchi over the ribs.

Finally, add the anchovy stock to the pot with the other ingredients. Cover and pressure cook for one hour, or bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 2 – 2.5 hrs or until the shortribs are tender.

Near the end of the cooking time, heat a pan with the sesame oil and saute the minced garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the tteok and continue cooking until they are lightly browned. Add the tteok to the pot of jjigae and let simmer for about 5 minutes until the tteok is done.

Taste the jjigae and season with salt if you need it. Add the mirin, give a final stir and get ready to serve.

Ladle the jjigae into individual serving vessels with one rib per serving. Place under a broiler for 5 minutes to give the meat a little colour. Garnish the servings with fresh bean sprouts, carrot, green onion, and sesame seeds. Serve with steamed rice and enjoy!

What is your favourite winter meal?

Jjajangmyeon – Korean Noodles with Black Bean Sauce

Jjajangmyeon by The Aimless Cook

Today we’re making my version of Jjajangmyeon. It’s a Korean wheat noodle bowl with a pork and black bean sauce that’s derived from a Chinese dish called zhajiangmian. There’s an instant version of this dish called “Chapaghetti” that’s quite popular in the grocery store, but to me it tastes awful. The real thing is very tasty and relatively inexpensive to prepare and perfect for weekday cooking. Let’s cook Jjajangmyeon!

You will need:

  • 8 oz pork shoulder, diced (or ground)
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 swizzle shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1 ½ tablespoons black bean sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch (with a little water)
  • ½ English cucumber, julienned
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Heat up a couple tablespoons of oil in a wok on high heat then add the onion and garlic. Cook for a couple minutes before adding the diced carrot. Since the carrot is small, it shouldn’t need a long time to cook. Just stir-fry for a minute or so to give it a head start then let’s move on.

Next, open up a space in the bottom of the wok by pushing the veg aside and add the pork. I used diced pork shoulder because I like the texture, but if you’re in a hurry, you can use ground pork instead. Add a swizzle of shaoxing cooking wine. What a swizzle? Pour a little of the wine once ‘around the block’, or in this case, around the wok. This will add a little fragrance and aroma to the dish. When you’re done, cook the mixture until the pork is no longer pink.

Now that the pork is just cooked, add the black bean sauce. It’s available in a lot of grocery stores these days in the Asian section. It’s quite salty, so be sure not to add too much. Mix it all together thoroughly before adding the chicken stock. Mix again to combine and let simmer for another 2 or 3 minutes til the pork is done. Finally, the corn starch mixed with a little warm water to the wok and let thicken.

Give the sauce a final taste. Counter with a little brown sugar to balance out the saltiness of the black bean. When it tastes just right, you’re done!

Fresh noodles are best, and a lot of grocery stores carry chow mein noodles these days. Simply boil them in salted water for about 2 – 3 minutes then strain. If you have instant ramen, those work as well.

To assemble, start by putting the noodles in a large bowl (you need room to mix them when you serve). Top with a generous amount of the pork and black bean sauce on one side. Finish the other side with some fresh julienned cucumber then serve.

To enjoy, simply mix the whole thing together and that’s all there is to it!

What’s your favourite brand of instant noodles?

Vegan-bap – Easy Korean Cooking

Vegan-bap by The Aimless Cook

This week, I made a vegan version of one of my favourite Korean dishes – Bibimbap, or in this case, Vegan-bap! Bibimbap takes a lot of prep, but you can make extra ahead of time and have enough for whenever you get a craving.

The elements:

The Shiitake:

Take about 10 – 12 dried shiitakes and reconstitute them in a bowl with boiling water to cover. When they’re done, drain and squeeze out the excess moisture with kitchen paper then slice them, discarding the woody stems.

Put the slices into a small saucepan with about 2 tablespoons each of soy sauce, shaoxing cooking wine and brown sugar. Add a splash of hot water and stir it up to get things going on medium heat and simmer til the liquid is absorbed. When that’s done, take off the heat and set aside.

The Spinach:

Take a bunch of fresh spinach, washed and rinsed and blanch in boiling salted water for about 30 seconds. Shock in cold water, drain and squeeze out the excess moisture. Put into a large mixing bowl and season with soy sauce and sesame oil. Add a pinch of salt to taste, garnish with sesame seeds then set aside.

Gochujang sauce:

In a mixing bowl, combine a teaspoon of sesame oil with a tablespoon of gochujang and a teaspoon of soy sauce. To that, add a teaspoon and a half of honey and a splash of hot water. Whisk together to combine and give it a taste. It should be spicy at this point, but will balance out when combined with all the other ingredients. Add some sesame seeds, mix well and then set aside.

Cilantro Garlic sauce:

In a food processor or blender, add a half a bunch of fresh cilantro and a tablespoon of roasted garlic puree (you can check out how I made this by clicking on the link in the annotation). To that, put in the juice of 1 lime and blend to a nice paste. When you have your paste, keep blending on low speed and slowly drizzle in ¼ cup of canola oil til you have yourself a nice emulsion. Season with a pinch of salt and then set aside.

Carrots and sprouts:

Lightly stirfry some julienned carrots and fresh sprouts separately in a little bit of sesame oil. You only need to cook them for about 30 seconds. Set aside.

The Protein:

You can easily make this with either ground beef or pork, but today we’re using some smoked tofu. Simply dice and stirfry briefly to heat through.


For a little texture contrast and added goodness, I added some julienned English cucumber and some sliced avocado. So good!

Start with a nice big bowl. You will need room to mix everything together when you serve. Put in a couple scoops of steamed rice, then drizzle the gochujang sauce and cilantro garlic sauce on each side. After that, assemble the vegetables on top, arranging neatly like a clock. Keep an eye on your colours to keep everything vibrant. Lastly, put the tofu in the center and top with more gochujang sauce and sesame seeds.

To enjoy, simply mix everything together well. Like I said before, bibimbap is one of my all-time favourite Korean dishes. Bibimbap literally means “mixed rice” in Korean. What is your favourite vegetarian dish? Let me know in the comments below and see you next time!

Budae Jjigae “Army Camp Stew”

J's Budae Jjigae

Often, there are dishes that are born from necessity ingeniously created with whatever ingredients can be found and put together. Budae Jjigae is one of those dishes enjoyed today that exemplifies this type of cooking and is probably one of the earliest examples of fusion cuisine.

After the Korean War, South Korea was crippled by poverty and food was hard to come by. It was said that US troops in the area would help out the locals by giving them ingredients from their own rations which included tins of Vienna sausages and Spam. They would be put into a pot of boiling water or simple stock with a bit of kimchi, red pepper flakes or gochujang. To that, any available vegetables were added to the pot and budae jjigae was born.

Today, this dish is still popular and is served in many restaurants in South Korea. In addition to Spam and hot dogs, ingredients like baked beans and processed cheese are also very popular additions. You can watch and learn more about Budae Jjigae by watching Qiranger’s video.

This dish is a perfect recipe for students and anyone that wants a great meal for very little money. You can cook budae jjigae at the table or cook it on the stove in a saucepan or large pot.

You will need:

  • a handful of kimchi (1 cup)
  • 1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 hot dogs, scored and cut into thirds
  • *tofu, cut into ½ inch slices
  • ½ can SPAM, sliced into ½ inch pieces and halved again into triangles
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped into 3 inch lengths
  • 3 ½ oz package of shiitake, stemmed and sliced (you can also use crimini)
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into thick matchsticks
  • 1-2 tablespoons gochujang* (Korean chili paste)
  • 1-2 cups of frozen tteok* (Korean ricecakes)
  • 1 portion of instant ramen noodles

Start by arranging your ingredients in the pot with the kimchi in the center and top it with the gochujang. If you’re cooking at the table, arrange the ingredients so that you have an interesting variety of colour. Place on the burner and set on high heat. Immediately add the stock and let come to a boil. Once it starts to boil, use a whisk to blend the gochujang into the broth, turn down to medium and let simmer with the cover on for 3-5 minutes.

Take off the cover, clear a space in the middle of the mixture with a spoon and add the ramen noodles. Cover again and cook for another 3 minutes. When the ramen is done, uncover and serve.

If you don’t like Spam or hot dogs, use sausage, leftover steak or pork chops, chicken or even fish. There’s no rules here, only good food.

*Gochujang, kimchi and tteok are available at your local Korean/Asian grocery.


Special Thanks to:

Taro aka RunnyRunny999
Miki of MikisPantry
Angie from TheSquishyMonster

and Steve aka Qiranger

Grilled Kimcheese Sandwich


This is a great grilled kimcheese sandwich recipe. That’s right, I said kimcheese. I’m going to show you a quick and surprisingly delicious version of grilled cheese using one of my favourite Korean go-to ingredients. I’m in a hotel room again, so I’m using Chef John’s infamous technique for making grilled cheese with the clothes iron. So let’s cook!

Grilled Kimcheese

check out the browning you can get with a clothes iron! 

Start by buttering 2 slices of bread. Make sure that the slices aren’t too thick because we are gonna be using the clothes iron to grill our sandwiches today. In this case, I’m using my favourite sourdough, but you can use whatever sliced bread you got. Place the first slice, butter side down on the shiny side of a sheet of foil. Follow that by a slice of cheese. Use a nice melting cheese like fontina, provolone or gruyere. I’m using a fairly mild tasting cheese because I will be adding some finely chopped kimchi. Simply put the kimchi on the cheese in a nice uniform layer, then add another slice of cheese on top. Finish by adding the other slice of bread, butter side out and then lay another sheet of foil over top. Shiny side on the bread.

Now let’s grill a sandwich! Grab the clothes iron and turn it all the way up to full wack. Make sure that if it has a steam setting that you shut that off. When the iron is nice and hot, place it on the foil to cover the sandwich completely. Press lightly on the bread til you can leave the iron in place and just wait. Compared to the stove, the iron won’t have as much heat, but will do the job if you’re patient. Just wait a couple minutes, remove the iron and lift the foil to check on the bread. If it’s not dark enough, simply put back the iron and continue cooking. When the one side is done, flip the whole thing over and repeat on the other side.

Grilled Kimcheese

When you’re done, you will have yourself a beautifully crispy and golden grilled kimcheese sandwich. Congratulations. 

If you’re lucky enough to have a microwave in your hotel room, heat up a nice mug of tomato soup and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

The Aimless Blog – Korean food, shout outs and Adobo class


We haven’t talked in a while, just you and me. I hope you’re having a great week so far. It’s Friday and it looks like it’s gonna be a great weekend. If not, re-adjust your thinking and make it good. You’re the only one steering the ship. 

The Japchae episode:

As you know, the Japchae episode is now live and the comments have been great. Just in case you’re wondering, yes, I do read each and every comment on the videos and I try to answer everyone that has questions. I live for this engagement and love the conversations, ideas and recommendations. Keep sending me your food porn as well as I will be sharing a lot of it on the show in future episodes. 

jap chae

One thing that did come up after the Japchae vid went up was the fact that the recipe is time consuming. Normally, when I shoot an episode of The Aimless Cook, I have to set up the shots, prep the ingredients for easy retrieval, adjust the lighting, etc. It takes probably twice as long to cook a dish versus if I was just making dinner. 

I will admit though, that shoot seemed to take forever. Cooking each ingredient and seasoning separately takes a long time. At the end of the whole thing, I dirtied enough dishes to fill the dishwasher…twice. I think that the japchae purists believe that you should do this because the dish is intended to be served at room temperature. In that case, the reasoning would make sense since each ingredient would have a separate flavour profile to be savoured as you eat it. That’s my guess.

If you are truly pressed for time though, I would see no problem in prepping the vegetables together. The seasonings for the different elements are so similar, I see no issue. The only thing I do see is preserving the colour and texture of the softer elements like the spinach. Cook it last. Problem solved. 

If you do take the classical route, here’s a tip: make more than you need so you can store each ingredient in the fridge. You can use them to make bibimbap, a quick bowl of whatever on rice or as toppings for ramen. Fry (or even better, poach) an egg and pop it on top and you have a quick meal.

Sharing the Calgary love:

I do this all the time on Twitter and Facebook, but I want to take the time to give you a little more background on my shout outs for this month.

Gabriel Hall – www.levoyagegourmand.com, @voyagegourmand

I met Gabe at a sake tasting event a few weeks ago in the beloved community of Inglewood in Calgary Alberta. He is a proud Calgarian and a lover of food. Check out this great article on The Death of the Cooking Show

Elise Gee – www.vancouversake.com, @seishu

Elise is a certified sake educator and consultant. Her passion for sake is immense and her beautiful photos and vast knowledge on the subject are something to behold. I am very lucky to know her.

Kevin Kent – www.knifewear.com, @KnifeNerd

I met Kevin at Mount Royal University in a Japanese class. He is the owner of the coolest Japanese knife shop in the country. A former chef turned entrepreneur/father/rockstar, Kevin has a love for Japan, organ meat and all things obscenely sharp.

Teddy – www.newcontent.ca, @newcontentyyc

I also met Teddy at the sake event. He was making a short film of the evening and we got to talking about what we love: food and making great content. We are now cooking up ways to take over the world. 

Adobo class:


Just in case you haven’t heard, my first live class via chefhangout.com begins on March 15th at 6-7pm Central. To honour this special event, I will be making the classic Chicken Adobo version 2. If you have seen the show, this is the one with coconut milk. It should be a great class and I hope to see you there. Register now and don’t be late!

So that’s what’s new with me. Thanks for your continued support and will talk to you again soon. Have a great weekend!

Question of the day: What would you like to learn in a cooking class?

Korean Stirfried Noodle Recipe – Japchae

Japchae is a delicious Korean stirfried noodle dish made with tender slivers of marinated beef and an assortment of healthy colourful vegetables all mixed together with a signature chewy sweet potato noodle called dangmyun. This dish is typically served at room temperature as a side, but can also be enjoyed as a main. This recipe is perfect for potlucks… just sayin.

You will need:

  • 10 oz (300g) glass noodles (당면,dang-myun)
  • 1/3 lb lean sirloin, cut into 1/4” thick sticks
  • 1 bunch spinach, trimmed & cleaned
  • 1 medium carrot, julienned
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, julienned (just the white part)
  • ¼ lb oyster and crimini mushrooms, sliced (you can use shiitake or whatever you have)

for the beef :

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

for the mushrooms:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

for the spinach:

  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

for the noodles:

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Mix beef in the marinade then set aside for at least 30 minutes.

In a large pot of boiling water, blanch mushrooms for about 30 seconds. Take them out, rinse in cold water, squeeze out excess water and set aside.

In the same boiling water add spinach, blanch for 30 seconds til wilted. Take them out, rinse in cold water, squeeze out excess water and set aside.

Add your noodles to the pot and boil until tender. Rinse them under cold water. Drain and set aside.

Season mushrooms and spinach each with their seasoning ingredients separately.

Saute onions, carrots and leek and season with salt and sugar to taste over medium heat. Set aside.

Saute beef and cook until done. Remove the beef and deglaze the pan with a splash of sake. 

Add the noodles to the pan and gently stirfry until the juices are absorbed then set aside.

Now grab a huge mixing bowl and add the noodles. Add the noodle seasoning and toss them well. Let all the ingredients to cool down to room temperature.

Finally, toss noodles with the rest of the ingredients until combined. Season to taste and serve at room temperature. Enjoy!

jap chae

Tteokbokki Recipe – Korean Ricecakes in Savoury Miso and Gochujang Sauce

Tteokbokki is a delicious rice cake commonly served in a spicy chili sauce from street carts all over Korea. The traditional version is a Royal Court recipe that is prepared with a soy based sauce. My version is a delicious and savoury blend of shiro miso and spicy gochujang with the aromatics of sesame oil, balanced out with a little touch of honey. This has a little kick of spice, but nothing too overwhelming. Another great thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever leftover vegetables you got in the fridge. Hooray for clean fridge!

You will need:

  • 200g thinly sliced pork
  • 400g assorted chopped vegetables (cabbage, carrot, shimeji, green onion, snow peas)
  • 250g tteokbokki
  • 1 tablespoon slivered ginger
  • 1 cup dashi
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

For the sauce mixture:

  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 1 tablespoon shiro miso
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 1 tablespoon honey

In a mixing bowl, combine the sauce ingredients and whisk together until combined. Set aside.

Now get a wok on high heat and add the sesame oil. Toss the ginger in and cook briefly until fragrant. Follow that with the pork and continue cooking and moving around to separate. When the pork starts to change colour, throw in the vegetables and continue to cook for about a minute. Add the tteokbokki, dashi and pour in the sauce mixture. Stir until combined, cover and let simmer til the tteokbokki are tender. The cooking time will depend on how thick the tteokbokki are. They should be soft and springy, like udon.

When it’s done, give a final mix and taste. Season with salt and pepper, finish with finely chopped green onion and serve. Enjoy!


Korean Style Chicken Strips – Test Kitchen Vlog

The spicy and sweet of this chicken strip recipe is a signature element to Korean cooking. I have tried Korean style fried chicken before and love the flavors of chili, honey and sesame. They play so well together and the consistency of the sauce is perfect for strips or wings. In my early cooking days in the sports pub kitchens, hot wings were an everyday thing. I should also add that sports pub kitchens are a good place to learn a lot of bad cooking habits. I’ve seen a lot of things working in those kitchens that would horrify you. 

Anyway, back to the Aimless cooking! In this vlog, I made these stickylicious strips one night while reminiscing about the Korean styled chicken I tried at a street fair last summer. They were breaded chicken tenders with a gochujang and honey sauce with sesame oil. Very similar taste to the gochujang dressing I made for my bibim naeng myun video from a while back. 

  • 1/4 C gochujang
  • 1T sesame oil
  • 1T soy sauce
  • 1T honey
  • a pinch of salt
  • a little hot water
  • roasted sesame seeds

That’s my base. You don’t need a lot. This is enough sauce to coat 6 large strips. You can make more sauce and keep it in the fridge for larger batches. You should also taste as you go, adding more elements of spicy or sweet, depending on your taste preference. 

To make the chicken, all you need to do is cut 2 chicken breasts into strips. You should get about 3 from each breast. 


Set up a dredging station with a plate of flour, beaten egg and panko. Coat the chicken in the 3, in that order til they are all evenly coated.


All you need to do from there is preheat a skillet of canola oil to about 350F. Turn on the stove to medium high heat. Dip a chopstick in the skillet. If you see little bubbles coming up from the tip, you’re hot  enough to cook. 

Carefully place the chicken strips in the hot oil (don’t splash and burn yourself) and don’t overcrowd the skillet. If you do, the temperature of the oil will drop too much and your chicken will become sponges for the oil. Deep frying is essentially making a protective shell, then poaching the interior til it’s done. The easiest and most certain way to tell if your chicken is done is by getting yourself a thermometer. Poke it into the meat at the thickest part. When it reads 180F, you’re good to go. You can also cut it and check to see that the meat is opaque with no pink. 


The rest is simple. Just grab yourself a large mixing bowl with the sauce you just made and toss the hot chicken strips until they are evenly coated with the awesome sauce. Plate up and sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds and that’s all she wrote. Enjoy!

Andong Jjimdak (Simmered Chicken in Soy Sauce)

Andong Jjimdak

All I can say is that I am glad to be back in Calgary after a 2 week trip to Winnipeg. I had the opportunity to try some great eats and get some fresh inspiration for recipes, but it’s a wonderful feeling to be home and not living out of a hotel room. I miss my kitchen. Yesterday, I watched a great vlog from my Korean friend, Kenneth. He went to a restaurant for some Andong Jjimdak, or chicken simmered in a sweet and spicy soy mixture. His video looked so good that I had to make some for myself, and man, was it ever good. Lucky for you, I made my own video and here is the recipe!

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of chicken thighs, boneless skinless and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 3 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
  • 4 green onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 150 grams Korean sweet potato noodles (dang myun)

Soy sauce mixture, mix together:

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 dried chilies or 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons garlic
  • 2 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoons grated ginger or ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  • green onions
  • sesame seeds

Heat up a couple Tablespoons of oil in a large pot and brown the chicken. Add 2 1/2 cups of water, the soy sauce mixture and boil. When it begins to boil, add onions, carrots, potatoes and green onion. Turn down the heat to medium and simmer until the chicken is tender and the veg is almost done.

While cooking the main dish, boil the noodles until tender, strain, rinse in cold water and set aside.

When the chicken and vegetables are fully cooked, add the cabbage and cover and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Once the cabbage is done, add the noodles, mix well and you’re done!

Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds and serve with steamed rice.