Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I always adore Korean food, I love the spiciness, the aroma of sesame oil combined with some other ingredient and the simplicity of Korean cooking, it's just so delish!! 
The first time I ate kimchi was years ago (late 90's) when I am still living in Indonesia, a good friend of mine took me to a nice Korean restaurant in town. I loooooooove the bulgogi so much!! but kimchi??? to be quite honest the first impression wasn't so good, maybe I wasn't really familiar with it or kimchi is an acquired taste food. 
But I always give another try, so we went again the second time and I start to enjoy the kimchi, more and more and more. I don't know why but whenever I think of Korean food it always make me think of kimchi.

Back then when the information was nothing like nowadays! we did not have easy access to internet and I just could not find any Korean cooking book. I once tried to make some and it was a total disaster!! kimchi came out very watery and nothings like the one I ate at the restaurant *BLECH*. 
I did not know that you must soak the napa cabbage in salt water for hours! *DUH*
So I always depended on the store bought kimchi and honestly the price is pretty expensive. 

Ever since I wasn't dare to try every again until last week when I stumbled upon this blog and I encouraged myself to give another try. So I did it!!! and the result?? WOW!! I was so pleased with the taste, the texture, the spiciness and everything. Thank you to whoever own that blog, all the pictures and directions is pretty easy to follow. 
Please note that this recipe yield for a lot of kimchi, it's best to make together with some friends and share the result!
The trick is first, the cabbage needs to soaked and salted. Second, the marinade has to be prepared. Lastly, the cabbage is combined with the marinade and left to ferment for 3 weeks. Here's the recipe :

Tong Baechu Kimchi (Whole Napa Cabbage Kimchi)

For Napa cabbage
  • 2 heads Napa cabbage
  • 2 cups sea salt
  • 8 cups water
For kimchi marinade
  • 1 cup sweet rice powder
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup coarse Taeyangcho red chili pepper powder
  • 5 ounces garlic
  • 10 ounces Asian pear, peeled and quartered
  • 9 ounces onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 ounce ginger, peeled
  • 4 ounces Fresno chilies
  • 2 pounds radish, julienned
  • 4 ounces minari
  • 4 ounces red mustard greens
  • 4 ounces Korean chives
  • 4 ounces green onions
  • 1/4 cup Korean anchovy fish sauce
  • 3/4 cup Korean salted shrimp sauce
  • 4 ounces fresh shrimp, chopped
  • 4 ounces Korean salted shrimp


Prepare Napa cabbage—Trim the cabbage by removing any brown leaves on the outer layers. Slice the center of the cabbage’s stem 2 inches deep. Using your thumbs and hands, pull the cabbage into two sections through the slit. Repeat for the remaining cabbage.

Soak the cabbage sections in salted water (8 cups water to 1 cup sea salt) for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the cabbage from the salt water and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of salt between each of the cabbage leaves.
Return the cabbage to the salted water with the cut side facing up. Rotate the cabbage every two hours, bringing the cabbage on the bottom of the container to the top and vice versa.
After 5-6 hours, the texture of the cabbage will be properly rubbery. Wash the cabbage thoroughly and gently. Drain the cabbage in a colander, squeezing as much water from the leaves as possible. Set aside.
Prepare kimchi marinade—Combine the water with the sweet rice powder and whisk until smooth. Heat the water and rice powder mixture on the stove on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When bubbles start to form, reduce the heat and continue to stir. Once the mixture thickens and becomes translucent (approximately 10 minutes), take it off the heat. Cool the mixture completely.
Once the rice powder mixture has cooled completely, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the red chili pepper powder to the rice powder mixture and combine well.
Place the onions, pear, garlic, ginger, and Fresno chilies in a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Set aside.
Add the pureed chili mixture, along with the radish, minari, red mustard greens, chives, and green onions to the rice powder mixture. Combine the mixture thoroughly, making sure that the greens are incorporated completely.
Lastly, add in the anchovy fish sauce, salted shrimp sauce, and fresh and salted shrimp. Once again, combine the mixture very well. If mixing with your hands, be sure to wear rubber gloves to avoid chili burn.
Prepare the kimchi—Take the cabbage and stuff the marinade mixture between the leaves, working from outside in, starting with the largest leaf to the smallest. Do not overstuff, but make sure the marinade mixture adequately fills the leaves.
When entire cabbage is stuffed, take one of the larger leaves and wrap it tightly around the rest of the cabbage. Divide the cabbage among jars, pressing down firmly to remove any air bubbles. Only fill the jar 80 percent  full because the kimchi will expand as it ferments. Keep the jar tightly sealed and refrigerated for at least 20 days.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mocha Cake with buttercream frosting

OMG! I am spending so much time updating my BENTO blog I neglecting this one :P ... I have made several dishes that I'd love to share here, but let me start with this birthday cake!

I made this simple birthday cake for my 2nd son's 7th Birthday and it was a total hit!! I'd definitely make it again! I did not have a chance to take any picture of the sliced one, it was gone right away.

The original recipe is actually for cup cakes, I got it HERE.
I modified it a little bit by adding one more yolk and using heavy cream instead of whole milk, just because I have some in the fridge and I do not like to waste food :D


1-1/3 all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk (I used heavy cream)
½ cup strong brewed coffee
1½ teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature ( + 1 yolk)
1. Mix the espresso powder into the brewed coffee until dissolved; set aside to cool to room temperature.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners.
3. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4. Beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. In a measuring cup, combine the milk, brewed coffee mixture and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the coffee mixture, ending with the flour mixture.
5. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting cupcakes.
Buttercream Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups powdered sugar
1 Cup powdered milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it is mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about a minute or two. Add vanilla and continue to mix at medium-high until it is completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary.
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"Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure LOVE" ~ MILDRED B. VERMONT ~

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