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My first Korean recipe. And yes, I kinda feel like a two-year-old for saying that.

Well, I’ve had a little over two months to unpack and organise, figure out where the Metro stations are located, and learn basic “restaurant Korean”. So now it’s time to get back on the blogging wagon.

With my fourth country move now, I’ve learned that there is always a cooking/shopping learning curve.  This fact used to make me uneasy every time I touched down on a new continent. But this time, I was ready for it. I’ve been cooking, exploring, and making the most of the differences. When I moved to Hong Kong, I first moaned about losing fresh cream and the ability to make lamb burgers, but then I gained access to wet markets stocked with day-glo tropical fruits, spiny creatures knocking around in tanks, and old school butchers who could provide any part of a pig I desired. Now, I’ve once again spun the foodie roulette wheel, and where I’ve landed is quite different from where I left, but what’s out there is even more exciting.


In Seoul, what I’ve fallen in love with has been quite a surprise to me -the chicken, the barley, Korean grapes. Those ingredients will get their turn, but for now it’s all about the Korean staple -kimchi. I’m up to my eyeballs in it. This time of year, it’s common practice for families to hunker down with loads of cabbage, radish, spices, and fermented seafood products and lovingly albeit painstakingly assemble kilograms of the stuff. I’ve seen friends pictured next to giant plastic bags of what looks to be filled with biohazards. But no, it’s freshly made kimchi,  ready to ripen.

Why do they make so much? Because kimchi is 24-7. They aren’t kidding when they say it is the national dish. It comes with pretty much every meal. And now I have about 4 kg of homemade kimchi sitting in my fridge. Amazing gifts from people eager to show us how things are done here in Seoul.

basicsOver these past months, I’ve been pairing kimchi with my scrambled eggs and also mashed sweet potatoes. Now I’m addicted. But it also led me to think up this simple kimchi and sweet potato hash made with ingredients just lying around in my fridge. The first of my Korean recipe adventures. Don’t be surprised if you see more kimchi inspired dishes. I have a lot to go through.

kimchi 2

Kimchi and Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Egg

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 10-15 mushrooms
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 100-200 g of kimchi
  • 2 strips of pork belly or samgyeopsal or bacon
  • salt and pepper
  • brown sugar
  • hickory salt
  • nutmeg
  • grape seed or olive oil
  • fresh eggs
Peel and dice the sweet potatoes.
sweet potatoBoil them for 4 minutes, drain, and then spread out on a metal sheet to cool. You want the cubes to hold their shape, so this step ensures that they won’t continue cooking, turn mushy, and stick together – leaving you with mash.

cooked sweet potatoesFinely dice the onion, mushrooms, and garlic.

preppedDice your kimchi.

chopped kimchiDice the pork belly.

samgyeopsalI don’t have easy access to regular, cured bacon here. What I can buy is called samgyeopsal. It’s basically pork belly, traditionally barbecued and then wrapped in a leaf with loads of other goodies.

The samgyeopsal you buy in the store isn’t cured. So when I want a bacon or sausage like flavour, I end up seasoning it with a mix of salt, pepper, nutmeg, brown sugar, and hickory salt.  I’m sure Koreans would be horrified by this, but hey, whatever works, right? If you are using bacon, skip this step.

seasoned porkHeat a non-stick skillet on medium high and fry the pork belly until brown.

fry the porkAdd the sweet potato cubes. It’s important to not stir too much so they’ll brown and crisp up nicely.

browingAdd the onions, garlic, and mushrooms, and continue to saute. Add the kimchi. When I made this, I actually diced a second batch in addition to what you see below, turned off the heat, and added more. What can I say, I like my kimchi.

add the kimchiFry up an egg

fried eggLoad up a bowl with the hash, lay your egg on top and voila!

kimchi hash 2


  1. Drew

    Which of the Korean chickens do you like? There are quite a few kinds at the shops, all intended for different (Korean food) purposes, even the Chinese black chickens here and there. The small samgyetang chickens you find most places are a nice stand-in for poussin, but don’t have much fat. Getting a good-sized roasting chicken is fairly difficult though, supermarkets only carry fryers, and not roasters.

  2. Brilliant!
    There is a great Korean store down the road, so I will be trying this out.

  3. lilmisspoutiner

    I thought you might like Aeris Kitchen (http://bit.ly/un8btq). Her YouTube video guided me through my first TteokBokkI. Assembling the proper ingredients was only moderately easy in Montreal QC. After nearly 5 minutes of trying to explain an anchovy packet to the grocer, his face finally registered understanding and he said ‘of course! anchovy teabag!’ I hadn’t thought to describe it as an anchovy teabag.

  4. Sounds delicious and easy – will definitely try it at home! 🙂

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