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!


Gaerun Toast (Korean Egg Toast)

(recipe by The Venerable Heather Jeong)


4 slices white bread

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp olive oil

3 eggs, beaten

3 tbsp, finely chopped

1 tbsp carrots, finely diced

salt, pinch

black ground pepper, pinch

2 slices ham

2 slices tasty cheese

1 tbsp Korean ketchup

2 tsp mayonnaise, optional

½ tsp raw sugar, optional


  1. In a heated frying pan add 1 tbsp butter and ½ tbsp oil, taking care not to burn the butter. Add 2 slices of bread and gently toast both sides of the bread over medium heat.  Remove from heat and repeat with the rest of the bread slices, 1 tbsp butter and ½ tbsp oil. Set aside 4 slices of toast. Wipe off oil from frying pan.
  2. Combine eggs with carrots, onion, 1 tbsp cabbage, salt and pepper in a bowl. Heat the same frying pan to medium heat and add 1 tbsp oil. Pour egg mixture into the pan and spread the mixture out into a round shape. Turn the heat to low and gently cook the eggs into omelette consistency, tucking the ends in to make a square shape omelette. Flip the omelette over to cook the other side. (Making egg omelette should take about 2-3 minutes over a gentle heat). Set aside omelette. Divide omelette into two portions.
  3. Return 2 slices of toasted bread to the same heated pan, and over a low heat add 1 slices(sic) of cheese, 1 slice of ham, 1 portion omelette, 1 tbsp cabbage, ½ tbsp tomato ketchup, 1 tsp mayonnaise, ¼ tsp sugar to each slice of bread. Top the toast with the remaining bread and flip over to gently heat the other side. (filling the sandwich over a gentle heat should take about 1 minute). Remove toasted egg sandwiches from the pan and cut toasts in half diagonally.

I tried this recipe over the weekend, although I used chicken loaf instead of ham, and cauliflower instead of cabbage. The sandwiches still proved a hit with my 7 year old, and probably would have with my 3 year old but he was too excited with seeing his cousin.

A particularly indulgent version of Gaerun toast might involve crispy bacon, instead of ham, Gruyere cheese instead of plastic sliced cheese, and for the ultimate indulgence – blue cheese sauce as well as the tomato sauce and the mayonnaise.


Korean Corned Beef (with Sesame Sauce)

(Thank you to my wife Sandra for helping me create Steve’s Korean Kitchen.)

This recipe is based on a recipe I learnt from my mother, which she learnt from her mother. Corned beef is a wonderful taste memory from my childhood. The meat tastes better and better as it ages – although it rarely lasts very long!

Traditionally, corn beef is served with a white sauce based on flour, butter, milk and pepper. Adds a bit of zing to the corned beef.

Here I’ve created a bright and deep orange colored sauce – not at all traditional. But a sauce that captures the warm nutty delicious flavor of 참기름 with a combination of sweetness from  막걸리 and saltiness that is typical of Korean cuisine. Combine this with the two mainstays of Korean food – 고추장 & 고추가루 – and you have a taste that goes nicely with corned beef.

 Steve’s Sesame Sauce

50mL Garlic sesame oil (make this by placing 6 cloves of garlic in 50mL sesame oil and allow it to stand for 4-5 days on a window sill for sunlight)

150mL  anchovy stock

3 tbsp 고추장

1/2 tsp 고추가루

3 tbsp 막걸리  (more to taste)

Generous splash orange juice.

2 Cloves marinated garlic

2 tsp potato starch (to thicken)

Salt to taste

1. Combine the garlic sesame oil, anchovy stock, 거추강, 거추가루,

2. Using a blender create a sesame oil sauce of bright orange (color is breathtaking!)

3. Add salt to taste.

4. Put in gravy train, put to side.

Corned Beef

12 clove buds

6 cloves of sesame oil garlic

500mL anchovy stock

2 tbsp brown sugar

3 celery stalks with heads (this matters a whole bunch!)

4 peeled carrots

1kg silverside (what my mum always called corned beef)


1. Combine all ingredients in the pot.

2. Cook for just over an hour.

3. Warm the sauce, slice the meat

4. Serve with carrots, chopped celery.

5. Drizzle plenty ‘o’ sauce on the meat.

Makes for a pretty picture. olive green, burnt orange, deepest pink and china white.

Enjoy with a beer, or a glass of wine.


스티브의 지글지글 소시지

Steve’s Korean Sausage Sizzle

Grab a beer, fire up the barbecue.
You need:
-6 Pork sausages
-4 large white onions, chopped into rings
-350 g kimchi,
-2 bottles beer (little creatures)
-tsp 고추기름 (Korean Chilli Powder)
-6 hotdog buns
-6 tbsp sesame oil
It’s a lovely, sunny Sydney day, plenty wide open blue sky.
Here’s what you do.
Drain the kimchi, slice the kimchi
Eat some kimchi, cause you know you want to.
Keep the marinade juice!
(Do not discard the marinade)
Cook the sausages in the marinade and sesame oil.
Caramelize the onions with sesame oil- till they’re soft and translucent.

Add sliced, drained kimchi cook towards the end. Cook the kimchi “aldente”
Serve cooked sausage, cooked onion and kimchi on hot dog rolls

Add Sauce – if you like sauce –
Looks like this- equal parts tomato sauce, 고추장 Korean chilli paste –

teaspoon honey – yum!

Enjoy the taste!
Kick a footy!
Vote liberal-national!


ImageYou will need:  – whole chicken (asked my Korean friend Lee “Will organic chicken be OK?” He looked at me with that Korean look ‘As long as it’s [chicken] you still get soup at the end, so OK’

– 12 cloves garlic – more is good

– 12 dates (seeds in, seeds out – again see that “Korean look” above)

– good handful sweet rice, soaked in water one to three and a half parts, two hours.

Lee: “It must be this “special” type of rice – points to screen – looks at me in that “We are talking about rice and I am ASIAN – therefore you need to get this right” kind of way.

Me: “It’s just rice, isn’t it?”

Lee: [shakes head]

– 3 whole ginseng roots

– 3 dong quai roots

– white onion, spring onion (chopped – only chance!)

Note: this soup works best when you use whole ingredients – so no chopping, excepting above!

Fill the chicken with half the garlic, half the dates (eat the rest), sticky rice, ALL of the ginseng.

Does the order matter? Rule 2: No, it’s just CHICKEN SOUP – hearty, robust, heart warming.

Place chicken in a ceramic bowl – add enough water to cover the bird – plus the rest of the garlic, and any indiscretionary dates or ginseng – as well as the dong quai and the onion combination.

Q:How long do you cook it for?

A: Until it’s cooked! (See Rule 2 above)

samgyetang is a Korean summer soup – although it would work well in winter, too.

Believed to prevent illness – “…runny nose? feeling miserable? Try some delicious ginseng chicken soup. 감사함니다 !”

Click here for a link to a “proper” recipe – as created by the venerable Heather Jeong.