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Category: Sides

Korean Stir Fried Potatoes

Korean Stir Fried Potatoes

In my recent travels through Seoul, I rekindled my love with all the little side dishes, known as banchan, that accompany a meal. These sides often end up stealing the show from the main dish. Kimchi, spicy beansprouts, steamed eggplant, cucumber salad…the variety is dizzying. read more

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

If you’re looking for a quick and delicious way to enjoy broccoli, this simple broccoli salad might just become your new favorite. Inspired by my recent trip to Seoul and reminiscent of banchan, the dizzying array of small side dishes that accompany a Korean BBQ read more

Corn Cheese

Corn Cheese

You don’t see a lot of cheese in most Asian cuisines. But boy does that change in South Korea! Dating back to the war when American army bases would hand out some of their rations like Spam, canned corn, corn meal, and sliced cheese, Koreans started finding all kinds of innovative uses for them. This Corn Cheese is one of the most beloved fusion creations, coming out of their very vibrant street food scene. Combining the sweetness of corn with the richness of cheese (wait until you see the cheese pull!) this dish is a perfect side to warm weather foods like grilled chicken or fish. If ever there were a kid friendly veggie dish, this is it!

Conversely, it also makes a divine snack served as a dip with chips; Corn Cheese belongs to a uniquely Korean class of snacks known as anju which are foods that are served when drinking alcohol. Make some of my Watermelon Soju and you will have an instant party! You are going to love the ooey, gooey, cheesy, bubbly, sweet and salty corn-filled goodness of it all, so let’s get into it.

ingredients corn cheese

When I visited Seoul this past winter, Corn Cheese was everywhere, often as an accompaniment to Korean Bbq. This is such a simple recipe, and relies on basic, inexpensive pantry staples. You could probably make it now without having to make a grocery run. And while you could make corn cheese with fresh or frozen corn, an authentic Korean Corn Cheese relies on canned corn, which is available year round. Both the consistency and texture of canned corn insures this comes out perfectly every time, with sweet and tender kernels. Make sure you drain it well before using.

This recipe is the most familiar version of Corn Cheese but you can put your own spin on it. Try adding a sprinkle of gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) for some heat, some diced sautéed red bell peppers for color, or maybe some finely diced green beans/ snap peas if you want to sneak some other veggies in (too much of a mom suggestion?).

draining corn

As always, I recommend having your ingredients prepped before beginning because it all comes together so quickly and you don’t want to forget anything once you start cooking.

butter onions for corn cheese

add corn

 

Since the corn is already cooked, just stir it into the onion mixture and then move the pan off the heat. If you heat up the corn too much, you’ll need to cool it off a bit before adding the mayonnaise, which will split if added to piping hot corn. Plus, the corn will continue heating in the oven under the broiler. I used low fat mayonnaise because that’s all I have in the house but feel free to use regular or even vegan mayo.

Corn cheese typically straddles the savory/sweet line but I’ve tasted some versions that are just too sweet for me. I scaled back the sugar in the recipe to my taste. It’s just a touch sweet but not cloying. If you prefer a sweeter dish, add more sugar to your liking.

Now it’s time to add the cheese and put it under the broiler for that magic melty browned goodness. If your skillet isn’t oven-safe, transfer the corn and then add the cheese. Mozzarella is king in Korea for all things cheesey, probably because it’s so mild and also because of the melt factor. But you can use other cheeses too. Anything that is mild and melts well will be fine.

mozzarella corn cheese

Remember to keep a close eye when it’s under the broiler so it doesn’t go from perfectly melty and bronzed to burnt. Garnish with the green onions and the Corn Cheese is ready to serve.

Look at that cheese pull! This is perfect served alongside Mom’s Chicken or Teriyaki Meatballs for kid pleasing meals, or with a Kimchi Pancake and your favorite adult beverages for a grownup’s pleasing meal. Let me know how you serve it by dropping a comment below, and don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!

recipe pic corn cheese

 

 

 

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recipe pic corn cheese

Corn Cheese

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: serves 3-4 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 can corn, drained well
  • ¼ large onion, chopped fine
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • A couple dashes salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese 

For garnish:

1 scallion, trimmed and minced


Instructions

  1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat for several minutes. Add the butter, onions, and a dash of salt.
  2. Saute for 5-6 minutes until the onion softens and turns translucent. Add the garlic and stir for 10 seconds. Then add the corn and stir to combine. Take the pan off the heat and set aside.
  3. Turn on the broiler and move the oven shelf to the upper middle shelf (if your oven only has 3 shelves, put the rack at the top).
  4. Add the mayonnaise and sugar to the corn and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. If your skillet is not oven safe, transfer the corn to an oven safe dish or skillet. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the top of the corn.
  6. Place the skillet in the oven and broil for several minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Sprinkle with the green onions.
  7. Serve Corn Cheese immediately.

Notes

*If you’re vegan, substitute the mayo, cheese, and butter for vegan products.

*Any leftovers store well in the fridge for several days. Heat in the microwave for a couple minutes before serving.

Keywords: kon-chijeu, corn cheese, Korean, snacks, veggie sides, street food

Soy Glazed Potatoes

Soy Glazed Potatoes

Whenever I tell people that I don’t love potatoes, they gasp as if I just said I hate kittens. But it’s true, they aren’t my fave veggie by a long shot. I usually find them kind of bland and boring. Generally when I want a read more

Okonomiyaki Style Cabbage

Okonomiyaki Style Cabbage

A while back I posted my take on Okonomiyaki, Japan’s famous savory cabbage pancake. It’s filled to the brim with yummy delights like shrimp and bacon, and remains a family fave. But sometimes I’m craving this deconstructed version, where I cook just the cabbage, drizzled read more

Simmered Kabocha

Simmered Kabocha

If you love winter squashes but have never tried kabocha, you’re in a for a treat. Sometimes called Japanese pumpkin, Kabocha is sweeter than pumpkin and even than butternut squash. When gently simmered, it becomes incredibly tender and makes a perfect side for nearly any main dish. I love to make this Simmered Kabocha all winter long, it’s especially welcome at any holiday gathering. Kabocha’s natural sweetness makes this an ideal vegetable for even the pickiest of eaters and of course its gorgeous hue is just perfect for this time of year.

I’m going to be real. My daughter Emi and her girlfriend, who are graduating college seniors, use my website to deepen their culinary repertoire. And they often give me feedback, which is incredibly welcome, because I want to do my best for you guys and know that the recipe works as well for you as it does for me. One thing they mentioned this weekend is that my prep times are not accurate, since most people are not chopping at the same speed. So I will be working on that and trying to give you more accurate preparation times.

Which is all just a segue to the not so good news…pumpkins take some work to peel and cut. You want to work carefully and slowly because pumpkins are large, dense, roll around, and are not easy to cut. So some basic precautions: take your time and don’t rush the process, use a sharp knife, and put the pumpkin on the floor if you need more leverage to cut it open.

However, you can avoid this whole scenario if you wish, by leaving the pumpkin unpeeled. Japanese people peel all their produce. It enhances the look, giving that extra visual appeal, and makes your veggies shine. Moreover, since Japanese food focuses heavily on seasonality and aesthetics, it’s just part of normal food preparation. But you can absolutely eat the rind and it’s not necessary to remove it. I know you’re not daunted, so let’s get to it.

ingredients simmered kabocha

This is such a simple recipe, with just a few ingredients to really let the sweet, almost chestnut like flavors, of the kabocha shine. I start by cutting the squash in half. First, I put down a damp kitchen towel so the kabocha isn’t rolling all around while I’m trying to cut through it. (Since we’re only using half the squash, save the other half and make my Kabocha Soup!)

If the kabocha is particularly dense, it may be difficult for you to cut through the pumpkin. In that case, put it on the floor so you can put your weight behind the knife. Don’t attempt to cut through the kabocha in one shot. Cut into it from one side through the center and then flip the kabocha around and cut into it from the other side. You may need to do this a couple of times until you can cut down through the middle and split the pumpkin in half. Take your time.

seeds

If you’re a proud member of the Reduce Food Waste Club, you can save the seeds and roast them just like you would pumpkin seeds.

peel kabocha

Try to make fairly consistent cuts so it all cooks through at the same time. Once the kabocha is prepped, it’s time to cook. I add a few flavor boosters to the simmering liquid like dashi powder and mirin which add a subtle bit of umami and sweetness.

dashi

Let it gently simmer for 15-20 minutes. Check every so often that there’s still a little liquid left in the pan.  Once it’s done there will be very little left, but we don’t want it drying out and sticking to the pan before the Simmered Kabocha is completely cooked through and tender. When it’s done the squash will be easily pierced with a fork.

I love to serve Simmered Kabocha with holiday roasts or as side with Braised Short Ribs, Teriyaki Meatballs, or Pork Shogayaki. They are also lovely as part of a meatless meal.

beauty kabocha shot

I hope this becomes part of your regular winter meal rotation. Let me know what you think; you can rate the recipe and comment. And of course tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!

 

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recipe simmered kabocha

Simmered Kabocha

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds kabocha pumpkin (about half a large one)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Mirin
  • ½ teaspoon dashi powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Put the kabocha on a stable surface, either a cutting board with a damp towel under it to keep the board from moving, or just a damp towel, which is what I prefer. Use a sharp paring knife or any small knife and cut around the stem to remove it. 
  2. Put your knife in the middle of the kabocha where you just removed the stem and cut down into the kabocha. (You can put the pumpkin on the floor and do it this way if you’re having trouble. You will have better leverage this way).
  3. Flip the kabocha around and cut into it the same way. Repeat this as needed until you can cut the kabocha in half. Save the other half for another recipe.
  4. Scoop out the seeds and discard (or roast them on a baking sheet with a little oil) .
  5. Carefully put the cut side down and peel off the green skin, using small shallow cuts with a sharp knife. (You can also skip this step if you prefer to leave your pumpkin unpeeled).
  6. Slice the kabocha into thick slices and then cut across the cut to yield 1 ½ inch chunks.
  7. Place the kabocha into a medium pot and add the water, sugar, mirin, dashi powder, and salt.
  8. Bring the kabocha to a simmer over medium high heat. Stir to mix the cooking liquid and distribute the kabocha evenly in the pot. Cover with a lid and lower the heat to medium.
  9. Cook for 15-20 minutes, checking occasionally that the liquid has not all cooked off. Add a little more water as needed to keep the pot from being dry.
  10. The kabocha should be very tender and easily pierced with a fork and there should be very little liquid remaining in the pot.
  11. Serve Simmered Kabocha immediately. 

Notes

*This recipe still tastes good if you don’t have the mirin or dashi powder. Add a little more salt or sugar to taste as needed.

*You can of course use homemade dashi as well. Substitute 1/3 cup of homemade dashi for the water and continue with the recipe. I would not recommend using regular chicken or vegetable stock as it has too many other flavors. Use only water and adjust the seasonings instead.

*This kabocha tastes great hot, room temperature, or cold. Store any leftovers in the fridge and eat within several days.

Keywords: kabocha, pumpkin, japanese, quick,