I turned 30 a few days ago, and whenever it’s my birthday, I miss my family a lot. My parents live in Korea and my brother lives in NYC, so I try to treat myself with something that reminds me of my mom’s cooking to cure my homesickness. These Korean BBQ style ribs is the oven-cooked version of my Slow Cooker Asian Beef Back Ribs, and they did an amazing job of fulfilling my craving for some delicious Korean food.
I absolutely love Korean food (it’s what I grew up on!), but it’s hard to eat gluten free with typical Korean food you find at a restaurant. Both soy sauce and chili paste (gochujang) contain wheat and they are a large part of Korean cooking. Because of this, I’ve been trying to recreate many traditional dishes at home using gluten-free substitutes.
So far, these Korean pork ribs are one of my favorite recreations, and I can honestly say they taste better than ones I’ve tried at restaurants. I love how the sauce coats and caramelizes on the ribs and they are seriously SO delicious. Hope you try this recipe and love it as much as I do!
If there’s something I miss this time of year, it’s my mom’s Korean pumpkin soup (hobakjuk, in Korean). Pumpkin soup in Korea is quite popular and there are many different variations of it, depending on whose house you go to. This comfort food is a bit sweet, quite thick, and warms your bones. It tastes like home to me, and I remember eating bowl after bowl of this delicious soup on a chilly day.
You might think that the Korean version of pumpkin soup might be much different than a regular pumpkin soup, but it’s actually quite simple. To make an authentic version, you have to use kabocha squash which is the common squash in Korea (and they are my favorite type!). However, if you can’t find it, butternut or acorn squash will suffice.
One thing that sticks out about hobakjuk is that there are these white rice balls, made with sweet rice flour, that are cooked in the soup that are sticky and chewy like mochi. While I do eat rice on occasion, I thought it would be fun to make a grain-free and paleo version of these balls, and they turned out like the real thing!
If you are unfamiliar with sticky rice cakes from Asia, you might not love these balls or it may take time to get used to. If you aren’t into it, feel free to leave them out! The soup itself is delicious on its own. You can also add in meat and other veggies if you choose to, but traditionally, Koreans eat the soup plain on its own. Hope you enjoy this flavorful and healthy soup on chilly days to come!
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Korean Pumpkin Soup with Sticky "Rice" Balls (Hobakjuk)
Cut the squash in half, then peel and seed it. Cut the squash into 2 inch pieces.
Place the squash in a saucepan with 2 cups of water.
Let the whole thing come to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
While the squash is simmering, make the "rice" balls using the instructions below.
Once the squash is cooked through and soft, use an immersion blender to blend everything together until creamy. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can transfer the contents into a regular blender to blend. Bring back to heat.
In a bowl, whisk together tapioca starch and ¼ cup of water, then stir the mixture well into the soup to thicken.
Add salt and honey, and bring back to boil.
Add rice balls and cook on boil for 5 minutes, while stirring constantly.
Remove from heat to serve. Top with pumpkin seeds and cinnamon. You can add more salt or honey, to taste, depending on your taste buds.
In a bowl combine all ingredients and stir until a dough is formed. Add more water if the dough is too dry. Make small balls with the dough, about ½ inch wide. Set aside until ready to cook.
Korean food is what I grew up on and it’s still one of my cuisines that tastes like home to me. When I found out that I have a gluten sensitivity years ago, I had to give up on one of my favorite Korean foods: savory pancakes. I can’t even describe to you the amount of bliss I felt when I ate those crispy pancakes with various fillings (kimchi and seafood were my favorites), along with Korean rice wine to wash it all down. It’s a divine combo that I still dream about.
One type of Korean pancake that I DO still eat are potato pancakes. They are delicious and doesn’t require any type of flour to hold them together. The starch in the potatoes does the job on its own, making it an excellent gluten-free choice for me when I’m dining out at a Korean restaurant.
I love how crispy and salty these are and they are perfect when I have a carb craving that needs to be satisfied in a healthy way. Plus, it reminds me of my mom’s cooking. She made some mean savory pancakes when we were growing up.
You can served them laid out flat or stacked up like breakfast pancakes. Just remember to eat them with chopsticks (for the authentic experience) and don’t forget the dipping sauce!
Place the chopped potatoes with salt in a food processor or a blender, and blend until creamy.
Pour the blended mixture over a fine mesh strainer placed over a bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.
The liquid from the mixture should drip down into the bowl. You can press down lightly with a spoon to speed up the process.
Transfer the potato mixture into a large bowl.
Take the strained liquid and slowly pour it out. The starch residue from the potato should be resting at the bottom of the bowl. Discard the liquid, but keep the starch and stir it back in with the potato mixture.
Stir in chopped scallions and mix well.
Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
Pour in a little bit of the potato and scallion batter, and spread out into 3-4 inch discs. Add as many discs as you can fit on the pan. Let them cook for 1 minute until the bottom turns gold brown and crispy, pressing down lightly with a spatula.
Turn the discs over and cook for additional 30-40 seconds. Remove from pan.
Add more coconut oil, and cook the the rest of batter the same way.
Make the dipping sauce by combining all ingredients into a small bowl.