6 mins

Winter warmers: 3 South Korean comfort food recipes

From the national favourite bibimbap to savoury rice porridge, transport your taste buds to another country and sample these easy-to-make South Korean dishes from the comfort of your home...

Bibimbop (2018 Zach and Buj)

Sogogi Moo Guk

Beef and radish soup (Shutterstock)

Beef and radish soup (Shutterstock)

So very simple and so very good on chilly grey days. My grandmother used to use beef scraps in this peasant dish, but I like brisket – and we made it really luxurious by using a pound of meat!

Serves 2–8 


1 pound (455 g) beef brisket, chuck, sirloin, or eye round

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon grapeseed or olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic Kosher salt

1½ pounds (680 g) moo radish, peeled, quartered, and cut into ¼-inch (6 mm) half-moon slices

4 scallions, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces

1½ teaspoons fish sauce

Freshly ground black pepper


1: Trim off as much fat as you can from the beef (this keeps the soup from becoming too oily) and cut the meat into 2 pieces.

2: In a large saucepan or stockpot, heat the sesame and grapeseed oils over medium-high heat. Sear the brisket until both sides are slightly browned, about 3 or 4 minutes per side.

3: Add the garlic, 12 cups (2.8 L) water, and 1 teaspoon salt, then increase the heat to medium-high and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for 20 minutes.

4: Add the radish and simmer for another 30 minutes.

5: Remove the meat to a cutting board and let it rest until it is cool enough to handle.

6: Meanwhile, add the scallions, 11/2 teaspoons salt, and the fish sauce to the broth.

7: Slice the beef as thin as you can and return it to the pot, then serve immediately, sprinkled with a little black pepper.


Bibimbap (2018 Zach and Buji)

Bibimbap (2018 Zach and Buji)

Traditionally you would just mix up last night’s leftover vegetables or banchan with cooked rice and a spoonful of gochujang sauce, and that’s the original bibimbap.

Note: To sauté the onions and mushrooms, cook them in two tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium heat until they are soft.

Serves 6


For the sauce

¼ cup (60 ml) gochujang

2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 to 2 teaspoons gochugaru

6 cups (600 g) steamed short-grain (sushi) rice, kept warm

1 bunch kale or Swiss chard, leaves chopped into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces and, sautéed

2 large carrots, shredded or cut into 2-inch by ¼-inch (5 cm by 6 mm) matchstick strips

½ pound (225 g) green beans, blanched and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces

2 medium white onions, thinly sliced and sautéed

½ pound (225 g) fresh cremini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced and sautéed

6 large eggs, fried sunny-side up

Sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds, for garnish


1: Make the sauce: In a small bowl or jar, combine the gochujang, brown sugar, olive oil, sesame oil, vinegar, and gochugaru, adjusting the vinegar and gochugaru to taste. Set aside.

2: Make the bibimbap: In each of 6 bowls, place a mound of rice and top it with the 5 to 7 different vegetables. Dollop the sauce around the bowl and top with an egg and some scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with extra sauce and encourage each diner to mix up their own bowl.


A bowl of juk or congee (Shutterstock)

A bowl of juk or congee (Shutterstock)

This dish, essentially a savoury rice porridge, is so very comforting. If you don’t have any stock on hand, you can also easily make it with water and it’ll still be wonderful.

Serves 2 to 4  


2 cups (410 g) short-grain (sushi) rice

5 to 6 cups (1.2 to 1.4 L) Master Anchovy Stock

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 thick slices fresh ginger

1 teaspoon soy sauce, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions

2 to 4 Soy-Marinated Seven-Minute Eggs, poached eggs, or soft-boiled eggs (step 3; optional)


1: In a large saucepan, bring the rice and 5 cups (1.2 L) of the stock to a boil with the salt, black pepper, ginger, and soy sauce. Cover the pot and reduce the heat so that the congee cooks at a simmer for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2: Uncover the pot, remove and discard the ginger slices, and add 1 more cup (240 ml) of the stock. Let cook for another 10 minutes, or until it is thick and the rice is soft and tender.

3: Serve the congee in bowls sprinkled with a little soy sauce and the scallions, topping each bowl with an egg, if desired.

Korean Home cooking (Abrams Books, by Sohui Kim with Rachel Wharton is out now)

Korean Home cooking (Abrams Books, by Sohui Kim with Rachel Wharton is out now)

In Korean Home Cooking, Sohui Kim shares the authentic Korean flavors found in the dishes at her restaurant and the recipes from her family. Sohui is well-regarded for her sense of 'sohnmat', a Korean phrase that roughly translates to “taste of the hand,” or an ease and agility with making food taste delicious.

With 100 recipes, Korean Home Cooking is a comprehensive look at Korean cuisine, and includes recipes for kimchi, crisp mung bean pancakes, seaweed soup, spicy chicken stew, and japchae noodles and more traditional fare of soondae (blood sausage) and yuk hwe (beef tartare).

Click here for more information

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