When I first came to Korea, I used to get lunch provided at my school and one of my favorite meals was rice, with pan-fried tofu and dried seaweed. I remembered thinking how bizarre it all was that this was my favorite meal when I would never have considered eating something like it in Canada. These days, I even cook it at home.
Here’s how to pan-fry some tofu:
1. Drain a block of firm tofu well and cut into 5cm thick slices. Salt and pepper both sides, flipping it carefully.
2. Heat up a non-stick or cast iron frying pan with some oil until hot.
3. Add tofu carefully and fry until brown on the first side. Flip only once and then cook until brown on that other side.
Here are some meal combination ideas:
1. Put it on top of a green salad.
2. Make “bibimbap” with the tofu, rice, gochu-jang and whatever veggies or side-dish stuff you have in the fridge.
3. With seaweed and rice, of course.
4. Use it in place or pork or beef in Korean BBQ, with the lettuce wraps and side-dishes.
It’s equally delicious hot or cold so it’s perfect for taking for lunch at work. Check out This Can’t Be Tofu! for even more recipe ideas.
I love omelettes! They are delicious, healthy and the perfect way to use up random veggies, meat and cheese that you might have lingering in your fridge. You can eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I learned how to make a perfect one from Jamie Oliver, although I must confess that mine are not as beautiful as his.
The article mentions that dried greens are not terrible, but fresh ones are better. I usually depend on my organic box for greens, but some weeks are a little light and I run out towards the end of the week. If it is, this is my go-to dried green powder, which I order on Iherb: Greens Plus Organic Superfood.
I’m a big believer in people eating a wide variety of food because our bodies weren’t really designed to eat the same 10 things each week. I try to do this in 3 ways:
1. When I eat out at Korean restaurants, I literally eat almost every side-dish (banchan) that comes along with the main meal. Oftentimes, it’s random mountain herbs or seaweed or some other “strange to the Westerner” type thing, but I eat then anyway.
3. My smoothie grain mix. I order lots of different stuff from the most fabulous Iherb and then I mix them up in a Ziplock bag in order to save time when I make my green smoothies in the morning. I’ll just add a couple tablespoons if I’ll be able to eat lunch at a normal time, or 4-5 if I have class during lunch and will have to eat late.
In this current mix is: oatmeal, hemp hearts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds. Healthy and delicious!
In the organic box, they often include water parsley, which I find a little bit hard to put into my usual dishes and it’s peppery so not an ideal addition to green smoothies. So, I branched out and came up with a new creation.
Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. I added a veggie stock cube. Then fry up your veggies in a bit of oil, adding the greens and spices right at the end. Mix the veggies up with the quinoa and enjoy! It’s equally good hot or cold.
In the organic CSA box, they often send water parsley. The problem is that most expats in Korea truly have no idea what to do with it. How I usually eat it up is by making a really simple salad. Here’s how you do it:
Clean and chop up the water parsley. I usually use some of the stems, but discard the really thick pieces.
Egg, lettuce, bean sprouts, eggplant, water parsley
After getting the organic box of goodness, I made up three Korean sidedishes: eggplant, bean sprout, and water parsley. I looked up a few recipes online to get an idea of the basic ingredients and then just taste-tested along the way until I liked it.
To make up the Bibimbap, I added some cooked rice, chopped up lettuce, the three vegetable side-dishes, some gochujang (red pepper-paste) and an over-easy egg. Then, I mixed it all up with my chopsticks and enjoyed! This picture is of the pre-mixed up state.