Jules Does

Jules Does K-Pop Academy: Week 2!

Posted on: September 30, 2014

Excited for Korean cooking!


This week, we did FOOD! And I took PICTURES! (some pictures are also from the KCCUK’s FB page, and I am very grateful)

So some of us met up at Old Street to make our way to Central Street Cookery School for our Korean food tutorial.

Our chef Lee Hye Young.

We learned how to prepare a delicious dish called darlkgalbi (닭갈비), which literally means ‘chicken ribs’, but we made it with boned (de-boned?) chicken thighs and it was delicious. I’ve put the recipe below this blogpost! Chef Lee demonstrated how to cook the dish and also how to eat it by putting little bits of the darlkalbi, along with some rice and kimchi, into a sesame leaf or lettuce leaf and eating the whole thing. It was delicious and so easy to do! This method of using a leaf as a sort of wrap is called ssam (쌈).

Our kind chefs had prepared the marinade for us, so all we really had to do was chop the vegetables and cook everything together. We split into teams – I was in 2NE1 again because 2NE1 are the best, so shush.

Melissa and her cheerleaders.

Perhaps because I cook literally every day, I had forgotten that cooking would be a rather novel experience for some of the people on the course, but it was really excellent to be around people for whom cooking was still kind of unfamiliar – it reminded me of how alien and fun (and yes, daunting) it could be to be presented with a big knife and some veg and told to get to it. Luckily our chefs were on hand to help us out with trickier moments, like how to peel a sweet potato with only a giant blade.

The actual cooking was really straightforward! I sometimes find cooking non-Western food a bit daunting – all those ingredients that I don’t have! what’s the difference between Thai basil and European basil?? – but seriously, this was so easy. It takes some preparation, yes, and a few esoteric ingredients, but it is simple and tasty and excellent for you.

Our team with our lotus full of darlkalbi.

A rather less formal team portrait.

We arranged our food in the centre of several cabbage leaves so that the weight of it would hold the leaves like an open lotus. Ooooo, so fancy.

The judges came round and tasted everyone’s version of the dish and judged us on our cooking, presentation and how well we had cleaned up. Team BTS won and got a big tub of chujang, a delicious pepper paste.  Well done, BTS!

After the judging we got to eat (or in our case, absolutely demolish) the food we had prepared, and the chefs brought out some beautiful purple rice and beans, as well as some delicious kimchi. While we ate we also got to experience some important Korean etiquette – juniors serve drinks seniors, and no one can pour their own drink. This makes dining a really co-operative experience, especially if you’re dining in a group of friends who care about each other and take care to check that everyone has enough to drink. We also learned that if no one will serve the youngest then then just go without! This way, dinner becomes about mutual service – everyone helps everyone else to eat and drink their fill. Plus, eating all together helped us all get to know each other much better, I feel.

After the delicious meal we walked back to the station together. Some went on to the Japan expo in Trafalgar Square but I went back to Cambridge (very very slowly, thanks to various irritating rail replacements).

The assignment I’ve chosen for this week is (of course) to cook a Korean dish, so I’ll be posting about that very soon. Until then, try making your own darlkalbi!

Darlkalbi Recipe (serves 4, cooking time approx. 30 minutes, not including marinating time)

For the marinade:

2 dessert spoons chujang

1 1/2 dessert spoons chilli powder

3 dessert spoons soy sauce

1/2 dessert spoon chopped garlic

1 dessert spoon sugar

1/2 dessert spoon sesame oil

1/2 dessert spoon chopped ginger

For the dish:

350g chicken thighs, skinless and boneless

5 large cabbage leaves

10 pieces of rice cake (떡 – NB- these are long, round rice cakes that resemble gluesticks, NOT the dry rice disks you might think of when you hear the word ‘rice cake’)

1 large carrot

1/2 of a sweet potato

3 spring onions

One small onion (or half of a large one – we used red onion but white would do as well)

Large slice of cheddar (trust me on this one)

Korean sesame leaves for garnish


1. Chop the chicken into bitesize pieces.

2. Peel the ginger and garlic and dice finely, as small as you can get them, really.

3. Mix the chicken, ginger and garlic with the remaining marinade ingredients, then cover and refrigerate for one hour or, ideally, overnight.

4. Slice the vegetables into strips and put to one side. Thin strips are best because they cook faster.

5. Heat a wok on a high heat.

6. When the wok is hot, add some oil and the chicken mix – don’t just pick out the chicken bits, put the whole thing in – and stir fry.

7. When the chicken is halfway cooked, add the veg and continue to stir fry.

8. When the vegetables are about two-thirds cooked, add the rice cake.

9. When everything is cooked, crumble the cheese into the pan and stir.

10. Remove from the pan and serve with the sesame leaves – if you like, these can be chopped up finely for garnish or you can use them as little wraps. Or, you know, serve them in an awesome lotus made of cabbage leaves.


잘 먹겠습니다!


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