Get your game face on! You don’t need to be at athlete to be pumped about the upcoming events in Korea. If you’re hosting a party to celebrate the best figure skaters, snowboarders, and bobsledders in the world, consider the nation where it’s all happening when planning your menu.
Korea is renowned for its extraordinary cuisine, from its spicy kimchi to its banchan (the typically pickled little side dishes that arrive with your meal). Denizens of that nation also have a real way with barbecue. If you’ve never had Korean-style pork belly, short ribs, or fried chicken, well, today’s the day! These tasty recipes will keep you well-fed—all the better to cheer on your team—in the coming weeks.
The key to cooking more Korean food—or any Asian cuisine—is a well-stocked pantry. Make one trip to a good supermarket to buy the ingredients you’ll need. Tamari (a thick, dark variety of soy sauce,) sambal oelek (a chili paste), rice vinegar, sesame seeds and sesame oil are key to these gorgeous grilled short ribs. They’re gluten-free, feature the bright flavors of ginger, shallots and chile paste, and fun to eat. Kids and adults alike love to wrap the tender meat in a lettuce wrap with slaw, then chomp away.
Kimchi is one of Korea’s most popular culinary exports. This recipe showcases the spicy fermented cabbage at its best. Cooked noodles, marinated steak, and vegetables come together quickly in a wok. Then they take a bath in a sweet, spicy, garlicky sauce you’ll want to slather on everything. (And you can!) The key player in this dish is gochujang, a chile bean paste that will be fun to use in future Korean cooking experiments.
If you like your home to smell fantastic when the guests walk in, this recipe is right up your alley. Pork belly cooks low and slow in the oven for three hours, then pops on to the grill to finish. Finally, you’ll slather it in ssam jang, a sauce made with honey, gochujang, doenjang (fermented soybean paste), garlic, and scallions. Bundle each bit of luscious belly in a crisp lettuce leaf, and you’ll be fully sold on the glory of this cuisine.
Don’t let the lengthy list of ingredients in this one scare you. If you’ve got a grill, a fridge, and a decently stocked pantry, you’re fine. (Bonus if you have a mandoline for making quick work of the slaw!) Short ribs mingle with sesame oil, sugar, ginger, garlic, soy, and shredded pear in this easy short rib “taco” recipe. Top them with romaine-cabbage-radish slaw, fresh cilantro, green onions, and a Sriracha sour cream. Bundle all of it in just-warmed corn tortillas. It’s a Korean-Mexican mashup you didn’t realize you were craving.
Perhaps you didn’t realize that you can make bibimbap at home. The warm, layered rice dish can easily become part of your repertoire if you let go of “recipe” expectations. Here’s a boilerplate from chef Deuki Hong, which he says can incorporate really any leftover meat or vegetables. Just keep Asian ingredients (oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and gochujang) as you assemble your own beautiful rice bowl. Don’t have seaweed? Skip it. Do try to adhere to the sauce recipe, so you get the right sweet, spicy, sesame flavors. (We love, too, that a fried egg tops off the whole thing.)
Don’t want to sweat this whole hosting-a-party thing? No problem. Dennis Lee, chef of San Francisco restaurant Namu Gaji, sells his dreamy fried chicken mix and sauce exclusively on our site. All you need to do is buy oil and chicken and follow this recipe, and you’re 30 minutes from knockout Korean fried chicken. If you’ve never fried before, don’t sweat it: It’s like riding a bicycle. Once you’ve done it once, it’ll be part of your routine. (And once you serve your friends fried chicken, they’ll talk about it for weeks and months to come.)
Honey, salty fish sauce, sake, garlic, ginger and scallions mingle in this dream short rib recipe. Start the marinade the night prior, and you’re about half an hour from dinner. Note that these ribs actually take a spin under the broiler—a handy fix for those who don’t have a grill. Just be sure to line your baking sheet or use a broiling rack, or you’ll be scrubbing away at that (sweet, delicious and aromatic) marinade for a while afterwards. This is one of the easiest, breeziest ways to try Korean cooking at home for the first time.