Kimchi (김치) is a 2,000-year-old side-dish that is still served at every Korean table. Fermented foods (pickles, yoghurt, sauerkraut, etc.) are a major food trend this year, glorified for being good for the gut. Kimchi has high nutritional value and fiber content, and is low calories. It’s little surprise then that this time-honoured recipe of fermented cabbage in pepper, garlic, ginger and scallion, is going down well with health food enthusiasts. An online search reveals a host of celebrities and journalists who claim ‘not to be able to live without it.’ We think that’s a little far-fetched, but it’s certainly a delicious addition to dinners. Koreans serve kimchi with any and every meal. To make it easy to incorporate, you can add it to scrambled or baked eggs, put it in halal beef tacos or quesadillas, or stir it into fried rice. You can even make kimchi spaghetti, served with minced halal beef, or used diced halal beef to slow-cook it in a stew. (Korean cuisine uses a lot of beef!) We like Jamie Oliver’s kimchi recipe, as it keeps in the fridge for up to three months.
Bowls of bibimbap (비빔밥) are bright fusions of neatly arranged ingredients, ready to be mixed together with wild abandon and Hoovered up. Strips of beef, mangetout, beansprouts, courgettes, spinach, kimchi, shitake mushrooms, a mound of rice, a dusting of sesame seeds, and at least one golden runny egg. Crunchy and velvety. Raw and cooked. Sweet, pungent, salty and sour. Bibimbap is on everyone’s lips. It’s one of the best-loved dishes among Koreans, with dishes varying by region. You’ll find many recipes for bibimbap online, which you can tailor to your taste, adding your favourite vegetables. Add your homemade kimchi and halal beef, and you’ll have discovered a new, nutritious, versatile and very tasty one-dish dinner!
Bulgogi (불고기) is pretty old too, but still around 1000 years younger than kimchi. A succulent savory dish of marinated beef, it’s one of the best loved and most exported Korean meat dishes in the world. McDonald’s in Seoul serves its version of a bulgogi burger, and fusion restaurants add bulgogi to wraps, paninis and tacos. Some recipes include grated pear as well as sugar, onion, garlic and soy to flavour the meat, which is then wok-fried with the marinade. Try swapping bulgogi in place of your usual halal beef or steak, creating your own fusion. You can use a more traditional recipe for thinly sliced beef using our halal sirloin. Or, check out the many online recipes for turning the flavoursome meat into a burger, for which our ground halal beef is ideal.
There are many other Korean staples and popular dishes you can try at home, such as the noodle-based japchae; the sweet, winter street-food pancakes, hoeddeok; or the Korean chicken soup, samgyetang. For Korean ingredients to accompany your halal meat we recommend London’s japancentre.com, although more and more supermarkets are starting to stock a few key products.