Bulgogi – get this right and you’ll be smiling for weeks!

The first Korean dish I learned to make was 불고기(bulgogi) – that flexible treatment of top quality meat, a marinade similar to what my mother would make. I believe she gave me an eye for adding just the right amount, covering the meat – perhaps a little too generously – certainly enough to give it a good flavour.


  • 1 kg of scotch fillet,sliced thinly into pieces 1cm x 5cm and 1 cm thick
  • ½ cup of chopped pear
  • ½ cup onion diced
  • crushed flesh of a couple of kiwi fruits
  • 8 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 3 chopped green onions
  • 3-4 tbs soy sauce (Korean, if you can get)
  • 4 tbs granulated sugar
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tbs sesame oil (Korean, if you can get)
  • A dozen perilla leaves

The proportions above are more of a guide. This is the “art and love” of Korean cooking – my style greatly influenced by Heather Jeong at Korean Cultural Office – links to cooking class.

Add the sugar, then add some more, to cover the meat.

Use plenty of soy, let the meat absorb the sauce, then add “a little too much”.

Pepper is a good friend of marinade. Remember – you’re throwing the meat on a BBQ or in a hot pan. So be bold!


Leave the marinade to marinate overnight. This could be the single most important thing you do as part of this recipe.

Fire up the barbie, wok up over a very hot heat, or get the frying pan out.

Heat is what you want – and plenty of it.

Use generous amounts of sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Wait until the oil is hot enough to make a bit of onion bubble.

Cook the bulgogi rapidly – pretend like you have the manual dexterity of a chef – or something.

The meat cooks pretty quickly, and because its top quality beef tastes good slightly raw.

Burn the sugar a little, wait till the juices disappear – 5 minutes or so.

Present the bulgogi wrapped in perilla leaf – YUM!

Tastes good with a bottle or two of CASS.  (describing CASS as Korean beer might be something like describing Fosters as Aussie beer?)



The Beauty Of Hangul

“Because the speech of this country is different from that of China, it [the spoken language] does not match the [Chinese] letters. Therefore, even if the ignorant want to communicate, many of them in the end cannot state their concerns. Saddened by this, I have [had] 28 letters newly made. It is my wish that all the people may easily learn these letters and that [they] be convenient for daily use.”
These are the words of King Sejong the Great – a visionary beyond his years. He was responsible for the introduction of a simplified yet elegant alphabet for every day use by all his subjects. From a lowly peasant worker to an educated noble, a farmer or a doctor.  The letters of Hangul 한굴- or symbols – demonstrate a certain austerity and balance not as readily detectable in other world languages, and certainly simplify the problems presented by the complexities of Cantonese or a similar language.  As a student of Hangul – the author keenly appreciates the symmetry of these symbols – and the ease with which it can be applied to any other language. Unlike Latin, or Arabic or even English – Hangul is a truly adaptable language.

For more information on Korean culture in Sydney visit +KoreanCulturoo on G plus

Sunshine Love 썬샤인 러브

Movie Review @Koreanculturoo May 8th, 2014

“Are you asleep?”
She asks her boyfriend. 
Gil Ho has his eyes closed, and is not moving – so is probably asleep. Probably. 
“Yes” he replies, eyes remaining closed. 
“How can you respond?”
Jeong Seok asks. 
In that endearing way lovers do. 
It’s this whimsical, earnest love affair that makes Sunshine Love such a successful story. 
Jeong Seok at the start is shown to be ugly – she wears big glasses, dresses plainly – but the intended revulsion must be her neediness. There’s a telling scene toward the beginning – when Gil Ho is so self absorbed and convinced of his inability to gain love.
Jeong Seok follows him about the University, perhaps all day. It’s late afternoon, and Gil Ho is heading home. She is there of course, he mistakes her devotion for an act of stalking. 
“Please go away? he asks, at polite distance. And not for the first time. 
“But don’t you love me?” 
Jeong Seok asks earnestly. 
He yells at her, unexpectedly – not the behavior of a well mannered civil servant. 
“F#ck off!” He screams. 
Is a tough moment in their relationship. 
The couple moves in together – and survive various challenges.

Jeong Seoks mother and her humorous, domineering ways – his not working full time – in a society where men are generally always the breadwinners. They argue, they break up. 
But Jeong Seok clearly pines for him, Gil Ho for her.



By the end they meet on a train platform – the film makers metaphor for departures and arrivals, and the choosing of direction.

The audience loves Jeong Seok – no longer the ugly duckling Uni student -she has blossomed into a fine young woman. Quite the catch. And though at first Gil Ho looks away – we – as the audience – hope he makes the right decision….

Sunshine Love was released in Korea in 2013.

Photo courtesy HanCinema.net

Korean Cooking Competition in Sydney – July, 2013

So after an appropriate gestation – yes, it’s been 9 months – here are the finalists.

This contest was open to non-Korean background Australians.

Sixteen cooks and would be cooks, chefs and would be chefs came together for a chance to chop, fry, bake and stir their way to the land that PSY (almost) forgot – Korea.

The contest revolved around the distinctive Korean ingredient Kimchi and featured a table laid out with some of the various versions of this pickled delight (and yes – you may have thought – like I once did – there was only a single type of Kimchi).

Alas, there are many – “Fresh”, “Aged”, “Ponytail” (which contains no cabbage whatsoever) – the list goes on – Korean cuisine really is endlessly surprising!

Belated congratulations to all the contestants – it was my first time in one of these reality TV cooking contests (Korean TV was there) and was such an intense buzz.

Met some genuinely lovely people that day! :-} Gave me a new appreciation for fellow newbie folk trying their hand in shows such as #MyKitchenRules and #MasterChef. (hash tag appropriate)

The brief was simple – cook a “signature” dish – with Kimchi as the feature ingredient. This produced some fascinating and (at least of the ones I sampled) delicious dishes. Here are the entries – alphabetised by first name.

  1. Chik Foo – Sambal sotong Seoul style
  2. Craig Burbery – KBLT (Kimchi Bulgogi Lettuce Tomato)
  3. David Ralph – Cabbage kimchi consomme with tofu and kimchi stuffed squid with minari salsa
  4. Deborah Morgan –Kimchi and Capsicum Quiche
  5. Jason To Kimchi Chinese Egg Rolls
  6. Jeff Brady – Caramelised Kimchi and Apple Sesame Crumble
  7. Kyria Morgan – Kimchi and Mushroom Potato Bake
  8. Marion Heathcote – Kimchi Chou Farci
  9. Martine Shelton – Chicken and Kimchi Puff Pastry with Kimchi Tomato Relish
  10. Michael Sik – pulled pork and kimchi-slaw slider
  11. Nicole Storey – Pork and Kimchi Pies
  12. Ryan Benson – Korean tasting Plate, Korean Cocktail
  13. Steve Grant – Kimchi Sarma
  14. Teerada Jung – Kimchi Tom Yum Soup and Gochujang marinade prawn skewers
  15. Wee Lynn Teo – Double Kimchicken Peanut Butter Pie
  16. William Hird – Kimchi shakshuka

Unfortunately I was unable to obtain photos of all the entries. If your signature kimchi dish is missing – please email me steve@stjamespharmacy.com.au or tweet @steveskorean or plus me up on Google http://goo.gl/9dwGe7

If you would like to forward a brief description of your dish (140 characters) I’ll post that, too! 

1st David Ralph 2nd Marion Heathcote 3rd Michael Sik 4th Martine Shelton

1st David Ralph
2nd Marion Heathcote
3rd Michael Sik
4th Martine Shelton

Making a fuss about dipping sauce since ’03.

Get it right and the flavour is transcendent.
Works like a passionate romance, like a well kempt marriage (such a thing exists!)
Right there – the magic happens – it’s in the snap of the vinegar. It’s in the umami (pleasant savory taste) of just enough soy. It’s in the sting of the chili – just a touch of the super hot – stimulates the mind. Sugar – of course. Salt is the devil in the detail. Rings of chopped spring onion. And the nut flavoured fumes of sesame oil. 

Steve’s Korean Dipping Sauce ’03
1 tbs Korean sesame oil
4 tbs Soya sauce
3 tbs Vinegar
1 tbs Mild Chili Powder
1 tsp Hot Chili Powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar 
Spring Onion, chopped

Combine ingredients in a bowl.

Pick a dipping thing – my preference is fresh Vietnamese spring rolls. (Luke Nguyen’s recipe is here). Or salted crisps.


불고기 김치 고즐래매 – Bulgogi Kimchi Gozleme

This recipe combines three crowd favourites into tasty, bite sized morsels.

OK – several bite bite-size, but delicious pieces, nonetheless.

Bulgogi – that much venerated staple of Korean eating – where the combination of soy and sugar, pear and garlic creates a sensation like you were really there – like you were a part of the Korean culture.


Imagine a street near a bridge as an etching against a pale grey sky, a travelers inn, darkened room, table near window. Rain. Bamboo wall and big leafed long stemmed bright green plant for privacy. You feel like the only one – and for a moment…

There is a recipe for bulgogi here – points to elsewhere on this same site  – hopefully the address won’t explode, or the redirection loop police arrest me!

There’s no recipe on my site for making kimchi – the next well favoured ingredient – quite yet!

But I came across a version from the much respected teacher Heather Jeong – and I’ll post that next. My version of kimchi includes one of Australia’s cultural icons – Vegemite. Kimchi and Vegemit lovers of the world – united!

The third element is gozleme – my attempted Hangul version –고즐래매– spelled like it sounds. Here is the dough – made from scratch – not a quick process!

Mixing, kneading, proofing overnight. Even added some roasted sesame seeds for a bit of extra crunch. The kids got to use the rolling pin for the first time. There’s Maddy – her sleeves rolled up, ‘kerchief in her hair, flour all over her hands. I asked how she was going. Crinkled her little nose, gave me that certain sideways look –

“Is this how you do it, daddy?”

We flattened, and flattened, I sliced the dough up into oblongs (Only daddy can use the knife) Painted on a bit of sesame oil – has a nice orange hue – right then Dylan, our ever hungry 3 year old pipes up

“Can we eat it, daddy? Can we?”


Gozleme dough recipe

2 cups unbleached plain flour
2 cups wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
lukewarm water

1 tsp yeast

100 g roasted sesame seeds

200 mL Sesame Oil

  • Sift the flours and salt, add the yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Using an electric mixer – or dough hook – or similar – mix in the water – a little at a time. The more electrical the device you use, the less work you knead to do! Ha!
  • Place in a bowl, “wrapped in plastic” – and let the dough rise. Once the dough has doubled in size it’s ready for the next step.
  • Deflate the dough by punching it– then flatten and flatten again with a rolling pin until as thin as thick cardboard. Cut in 15 cm squares. Paint one side with sesame oil.

Bulgogi-Kimchi Mixture

  • 3 parts Bulgogi Meat – cooked
  • 1 part Kimchi – chopped
  • 1 part Mozarella cheese- grated
  • Extra soya sauce, extra sugar

Combine these in a frying pan. Heat the mixture through, until the cheese isn’t quite melted. Kimchi is great – but when you combine it with – rice, calamari, meat – and heat it up – there’s salty crunch, warming chili – the experience comes alive!

Place one tbs of this bulgogi mixture on one half of one square.

Fold the gozleme in half, covering the mixture. Paint canola oil all over the outside of the bread.

In a frying pan cook the gozleme on both sides till golden brown. Be careful not to burn them. No little accidents!

Sprinkle more sesame seeds, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon and you have –

불고기 김치 고즐래매

불칠면조미트볼 (Fire Turkey Meat Balls)

Meat Balls
Turkey mince 1kg
Cheddar Cheese 300g – grated
Mozzarella 200g – grated
1 tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp 청양고추 (“The Fire”) – really hot chili powder
1 tbs 고추가루 – mild chili powder
4 tbs 고추상 – chili paste
50mL sesame oil
2 small onions – diced
6 spring onions – diced
6 cloves garlic – crushed
Half a Korean pear diced
Salt and pepper

Red Sauce
50mL sesame oil
3 cloves garlic – crushed
Korean vinegar – 100mL
Korean Soy sauce 200mL
6 tsp granulated sugar
4 tbs 고추상 – chili paste
4 tbs American ketchup
1 tsp 청양고추 (“The Fire”) – really hot chili powder

Making Fire Turkey Meat Balls
1. Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl. Cover with plastic cling wrap. Leave overnight in fridge.
2. Roll small meatballs (5cm diameter at most) using plain flour. Put in fridge for 10 minutes on baking tray.
3. Heat enough canola oil (500-750ml) to deep fry the meat balls for 4-8 minutes. Drain
4. Arrange the balls on a baking tray – put into pre heated oven 200 C for 10 minutes. Set aside.

Making the Red Sauce
1. Fry the garlic in Sesame oil, slowly adding sugar, soy and vinegar. Be careful the ingredients don’t burn.
2. Add the remaining ingredients, plus half a cup of water. Stir together.

Pour the sauce over the Turkey meatballs.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds for effect.

메리 크리스마스 ^^

막컬리 거스터드 (Rice Wine Rice Custard)

A family favourite at Christmas, rice custard (sometimes called chunky custard) was a popular dish at the end of the day.

Here I’m cooking with – “famous in Korea” 막컬리 or rice wine .

Rice custard is sometimes flavoured with cognac (Courvoisier for example)

So I went searching for “rice wine brandy”.

I get most of my Korean stuff at Go Mart in North Strathfield. I think the assistant was quite helpful – and I think she understood my idea.

“Rice wine custard? That makes sense.”
“But is there such a thing as rice wine brandy? Rice wine liquer?”
“I think it’s Soju you want”
So I guess you could flavour the rice wine rice custard with Soju. Now that would be an interesting!

150g rice

200 mL water
200 mL 막컬리

6 Scotch Finger Biscuits
100g unsalted butter
1 tbs sugar

3 tbs custard powder
1 tbs sugar
3 cups milk
1 tbs vanilla sugar
300g Sultanas

First, cook the rice.
I cheated and used a rice cooker.
If cooking rice the conventional way drain any
excess fluid.

Second, grease a baking tray.
Crush the biscuits in the tray, combine with melted butter and sugar.
Set aside in fridge.

Third, add custard powder, sugar, milk, vanilla sugar, sultanas

to the rice.

Stir and bring to the boil.Pour over the biscuit base in the baking tray.

Leave to set in fridge overnight.Reviews have included “If you like Makgeolli, then you’ll like this”
“Tastes like an old fashioned custard pudding type thing”


Sesame oil is the essential ingredient of Korean cooking.

Before I knew this cuisine, I had only ever used sesame oil by the teaspoon, a means of adding slight pungency to a Malaysian saté or Indian curry.

In Korea, sesame oil is used more like a soya sauce or vinegar, adding a good amount to cover the meat, more than I’ve  used before.

At our shop we have three Korean pharmacy students – much respected for their ability to understand both Korean and English. I am constantly reminded of the limitations of my Korean, and each day marvel at these students’ command of English.
So – in that spirit – I asked one of the students  용인 to translate the Hangul on the side of a 1L jerry can of Sesame Oil (pictured) – to find out exactly what makes the preferred Korean brand so unique.

Sesame oil in a 1L jerry can. Jerry was the name the British used for German soldiers in WW2. They always had these square metal cans on their persons.
Sesame oil in a 1L jerry can.
Jerry was the name the Germans used for British soldiers in WW2 – they always carried these handy square metal cans.

Beksul – since 1953

1. It tastes aromatic because we use 100% sesame oil.

2. We use the rapid freezer method which is applied by special permission– so the aromatic taste is fresh.

3. We cleanse the sesame seeds with pure water, roast them and                 squeeze them
to create a certain aromatic taste.                                           That’s why it tastes so good.

Storage: cap the bottle and keep out of the light.

www.cj.co.kr for more information – although the site is in Korean!

멜버른 컵

The results for the Inaugural Lunchtime Korean Cooking Class Melbourne Cup Sweepstakes are in for 2013.

1st Place: Fiorente drawn by Dylan Grant

2nd Place: Red Cadeaux drawn by Madeleine Grant

3rd Place: Mount Athos drawn by Athol “Ax” (Sells The Big Issue Corner of Elizabeth and Market Streets, Sydney.)

Last Place drawn by the ladies at The KCO

This year, the results favoured my family (My son and daughter came 1st and 2nd, winning $90)

Given this good fortune, my wife Sandra and I have chosen to donate the money to the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA. Click on the photo to get more information.
About Lifehouse

We picked the Lifehouse at RPA because Sandra is walking 60 km this weekend (9th-10th November, 2013)  to “change the world”.

End Cancer
Sandra Grant – owner at St James Pharmacy – is walking to end women’s cancer.

“My mother Maria was a survivor. She was one of the bravest souls I have ever met. Sadly, non hodgkins lymphoma took her life after a battle of fifteen years. She taught me about courage and tenacity, and the will to live for the sake of her family”
Please donate by clicking here.

Sandra St-JamesSandra Grant, walking “In Her Mum’s Footsteps”

This post proudly sponsored by St James Pharmacy.