Kimchi-Jjigae, Kimchi Fried Rice & 7 Other Easy Korean Recipes Every Beginner Can Make

Can keep in the fridge and warm up on lazy days.

Cover image via Korean Bapsang & Maangchi

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If all that K-drama binge-watching has been making you hungry, why not try making flavourful Korean meals at home?

Yeah, I know. It sounds like a lot of work and food delivery is right there. But some Korean meals are actually not too complicated to make.

Plus, they only require a minimal amount of Korean ingredients, that are now much easier to find at local supermarkets.

We've rounded up a list of nine easy Korean recipes you can make for yourself at home:

1. Kimchi-jjigae (Kimchi stew)

Kimchi-jjigae is a popular Korean stew that is packed with flavour and is total comfort food. You can have it with steaming, white rice or even glass noodles if you're not in the mood for rice. Hot, sour-ish, and slightly spicy – perfect for any day.

Image via Korean Bapsang

- Sesame oil
- Thinly sliced beef or pork belly (or you can opt for meatless)
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
- 1 tbsp gochugaru (Korean red chilli flakes)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 (14 oz) block firm tofu, cubed
- 2 scallions, chopped

Get the full recipe here.

2. Chikin (Korean fried chicken)

Whether you want something to munch on while watching K-drama or feeding the family, there's nothing that a good plate of Korean fried chicken can't fix.

Try making your own sweet, sour, and spicy version with this drool-inducing recipe. You can even make your own pickled radish on the side if you want the whole authentic experience. 

Image via Maangchi

- 2lbs chicken wings
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ cup potato starch
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

2 tsp vegetable oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- ⅓ cup rice syrup
- ¼ cup gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- corn (or vegetable) oil for frying

Get the full recipe here.

3. Miyeokguk (Korean seaweed soup)

Miyeokguk is a comforting soup made of edible seaweed that Koreans traditionally eat on their birthdays or after giving birth. The custom began because seaweed was often offered to mothers during postnatal care to help with recovery.

Who says it can't be your birthday every day? ;) You can pair the tasty soup with white rice, noodles, or even have it on its own. Plus, it's really simple to make!

Image via Maangchi

- 16g dried miyeok (Korean seaweed), soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
- 1lb beef brisket or skirt steak, cut into thin and small pieces (or any chunks of meat will do)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp fish sauce (or salt and soy sauce to your taste)
- 2 tsp sesame oil

Get the full recipe here.

4. Kimchi bokkeumbap (Kimchi fried rice)

If you have leftover rice from the day before, whip up some tasty kimchi fried rice. Not only is it easy to make, but you can also throw in whatever leftover ingredients you have in the fridge. Top it with a fried egg and seaweed and you're good to go!

- 1 cup kimchi, cut into thumbnail size pieces
- 150g bacon, cut into thumbnail size pieces
- 1 pack enoki mushrooms (optional)
- 3 cups rice – if it is freshly cooked, leave it out for 5 to 10 mins at room temperature to cool down before cooking
- 4 eggs cooked sunny side up or per your preference
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup kimchi juice – this liquid is from the bottom of the kimchi container
- 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds to garnish
- 1/2 stalk green onion/scallion to garnish, thinly sliced (optional)
- Roasted seasoned seaweed, shredded (optional)

Get the full recipe here.

5. Bulgogi (Korean grilled beef)

Bulgogi is made of thin, sliced beef or pork stir-fried in a pan. The scallions and onions add a crunchy texture and when paired with the sauce, it becomes an easy one-dish meal to have with a steaming bowl of white rice. Or even on its own.  

- ½ onion
- 3 green onions/scallions
- Carrot
- 1 ½ lb thinly sliced beef 
- 1 tbsp sesame oil (roasted)
- ½ tbsp toasted white sesame seeds (for topping)

Bulgogi marinade
- 4 tbsp Korean soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil (roasted)
- 3 tbsp brown sugar (don't substitute with honey as it burns easily)
- 8 cloves garlic (4 tsp, minced)
- ½ Asian pear (4 tbsp, grated); Substitute Asian pear with apple, like Fuji apple, kiwi, or fresh pineapple (a canned variety deactivates an enzyme).
- Ground black pepper

Get the full recipe here.

6. Bibimbap (Korean mixed rice)

The great thing about Korean dishes is you can mix and match different ingredients and it'll still be tasty. Bibimbap is basically rice with an assortment of vegetables, meat, an egg, and kimchi thrown into a bowl. It's kind of like a Korean version of economy rice.

Once you've mixed it all up with the sauces, it becomes a healthy, flavourful, and easy meal for lunch or dinner. 

- 2 1/2 cups white rice
- 1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts
- 1 bunch watercress or spinach
- 1 large carrot
- 2 cloves garlic
- Salt
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1lb ground beef (Or you can have it meatless or with any other protein)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (dark soy sauce, if you have it)
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup napa cabbage kimchi
- 2 tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
- 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Get the full recipe here.

7. Kimchijeon (Kimchi pancake)

Craving a midnight snack? Kimchi pancakes make a great side dish or a snack to fix those late-night cravings. It's also one of the easiest and quickest recipes to whip up with simple ingredients in the kitchen.

Image via Maangchi

- Kimchi 
- Onion
- Salt
- Sugar
- Flour
- Vegetable oil

Get the full recipe here.

8. Oi muchim (Spicy Korean cucumber pickle)

This spicy cucumber pickle is a Korean bachan (small side dishes usually served with rice) and is easy to make if you're needing a quick, healthy snack or vegetable side.

The best part is if you can't finish it, just pop it into the fridge and have it cold the next day – super yummy!

Image via The Spruce Eats

- Kirby cucumbers, or hothouse or English cucumbers
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 clove minced garlic, optional
- 1 tbsp gochugaru (Korean chile flakes), or red chilli flakes
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 to 3 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds, optional

Get the full recipe here.

9. Japchae (Korean glass noodle stir-fry)

If you're always on the go, japchae is a savoury, popular Korean dish that's pretty simple to make. Its main ingredients are Korean sweet potato starch noodles or glass noodles, meat, vegetables, and onions. All you need to do is stir-fry everything in a pan and you'll have an easy all-in-one meal ready to eat! 

You can also opt for a vegetarian option by substituting the meat for tofu or removing it altogether. 

Image via Korean Bapsang

- Korean potato starch noodles (dangmyeon) or glass noodles
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 medium onion, preferably sweet variety
- 2 scallions
- 4 oz lean beef (sirloin or rib-eye) or pork loin
- 3 to 4 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms (or 4 to 5 dried shiitake, soaked until plump). Or oyster mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, or button mushrooms.
- 6 oz fresh spinach (preferably a bunch of spinach)
- Cooking oil for stir-frying
- Salt

3.5 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp sugar (or brown sugar) You can use a little less if you want.
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
- Black pepper to taste

Get the full recipe here.

Although there are now plenty of Korean ingredients at many local supermarkets, here are Korean grocery and convenience stores in Klang Valley to check out for more varieties:

When all else fails, there's always ramyeon:

Now you can cosy up and enjoy your meal with your fave oppa:

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