The “Jeong” Flavors of Korea

The uniquely Korean concept of Jeong applies to food as well.

by MinJi Lee and Chef Golda Ewalt
Bibimbap (meaning “mixed rice”) is one of Korea’s comfort foods.
Bibimbap (meaning “mixed rice”) is one of Korea’s comfort foods.

There’s one word I think of when I eat Korean food: Jeong. Jeong is a word that cannot be translated in English. In Korean, it can mean attachment, familiarity, love, compassion and connection.

Bibimbap (meaning “mixed rice”) is one of Korea’s comfort foods. It is served in a bowl with white rice, topped with various namuls (seasoned edible leaves or herbs), vegetables, kimchi, gochujang (Korean pepper paste) or doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste). The best thing about this dish is that it includes lots of vegetables, and it can be customized! This recipe includes bean sprout namul and bulgogi, marinated Korean BBQ.

Bibimbap 
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rice, cooked
  • ⅛ cup kimchi, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup vegetable or namul
  • ¼ cup bulgogi (or protein of choice)
  • 1 fried egg
  • 1-2 Tbs gochujang pepper paste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp sesame seeds

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, add white rice.
  2. Build the bowl by adding kimchi, namul and bulgogi around the bowl.
  3. Add the fried egg, gochujang, sesame oil and sesame seeds on top.
  4. Enjoy the bibimbap by mixing all the ingredients before eating. 

Bean Sprout Namul
Makes 4-5 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2-3 cup bean sprouts, rinsed
  • 1-2 green/spring onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 1 ½ tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 Tbs sesame oil
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. Boil water in a large pot and add salt. Once water starts to boil, add the bean sprouts and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Drain water and run bean sprouts under cold water for 1-2 minutes. Gently squeeze bean sprouts with hands and remove excess water. 
  3. Place bean sprouts, green onions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame seeds, honey and sesame oil in a bowl and mix. Add crushed red pepper for spice if you wish. Place in the refrigerator until use. Lasts for one week.

Bulgogi
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • ½ Asian pear, grated
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled, grated
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 2 Tbs sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs freshly grated ginger
  • 1 Tbs gochujang red pepper paste
  • 1 ½ pounds round thin-cut steak
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Combine grated Asian pears, grated onion, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and gochujang. Place this mixture and meat in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Marinate for at least two hours or overnight. Turn the bag periodically.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, mushrooms and carrots and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add marinated meat and cook for 10-15 minutes or until completely cooked.
  3. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

Citron Soju Korean CocktailCitron Soju Korean Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs citron marmalade 
  • ¼ cup Korean soju rice wine
  • ½ cup club soda
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 orange slice

Directions

  1. Mix citron marmalade with soju in a Tom Collins glass.
  2. Add club soda and stir. Once the marmalade has sunk to the bottom, add ice and garnish with an orange slice. PM

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