Baegopa (배고파)- I'm hungry - indeed. In fact, I'm always hungry, which is why I was so excited when I got the opportunity to attend a Korean Cooking Class at the Korean Cultural Office!
I attended two of the 8 scheduled classes for the Jul/Aug term, and I must say that I didn't hold that high an expectation for it - most cooking classes that I've been to, save for Cheeky, are demonstration based, and you're not allowed to do very much. This one, however, was FANTASTIC!
First of all, the teacher, Heather Jeong, is so lovely and helpful.
She was ready to answer any questions relating to Korean food and culture, whether they related to the dish we were meant to prepare that day or not.
Speaking of dishes to prepare, we had BBQ Galbi as the main attraction on the first class.
Apparently Australia have really good quality short ribs, and this meat, which is usually braised for maximum tenderness, is nicely marbled and imparts plenty of flavour.
The Koreans have come up with a very ingenious method of cutting the meat so that it cooks quickly and isn't tough to eat!
The short ribs are carefully butterflied so that it folds out into one long strip of meat. This is done by very carefully using a sharp knife to cut in a spiral inwards. This is to ensure that the meat is in as thin a strip as possible, which then shortens the cooking time dramatically.
Then the meat goes off for a soak and marinade!
Apparently the meat tastes better after it's been frozen!! Which works by me, since I am a staunch believer of weekend marinading - doing the grunt work of cooking on the weekend so that yummy meals on a weekday is easy peasy.
And what's a Korean meal without sides!
I've always loved Korean sides, like the spring onion salad, but have never been able to get them quite right. This class not only gives you the chance to sample all these sides, but also allows you to ask the teacher for the recipe!
And as if that wasn't enough of a feast, we also had short ribs on their own, and
some pork belly as well.
As with most tabletop BBQs (great for parties!), we had veggies and such that lighten up each meaty, flavourful mouthful! I really like the Korean style of wrapping meats and condiments in fresh salad leaves that allow you to feel like you're eating a salad without actually eating a salad!
Now you don't think we stopped there did you? All that was one lesson's worth of food, and I chose to pay to attend another one.
This time we made KFC - Korean Fried Chicken! It is so simple, and yet marvellously delicious. You see, maybe the world's got it all wrong. We keep trying to flavour the batter and season the flour...maybe it is as simple as putting a glaze on it!
We made a soy glaze and a chilli sauce for it, and I must say, I'm pretty happy with the results!
Every bite was tasty, crispy, and full of flavour. The coating is super easy too - just some potato starch and plain flour. You can use a mixture of rice flour and corn flour in there too, but personally I just like the starch and plain flour mixture.
Remember the feasting thing? Well, we also made Spicy Pork Tacos!
Using daeji bulgogi, which is Spicy Marinated Pork, we had some rockin' wraps that I could eat all day long.
And the best part is? The dishes that I've learnt from those lessons are not the kind of dishes that I will only make once. Since those classes (it's been about 2 weeks?) I've already got packs of short ribs and pork belly marinading away in the fridge. I've had the adoration of my friends for my awesome chicken wings, and the undying devotion of Sean for the short ribs wrapped in salad leaves. Not that I didn't have it already, but you know, a way to a man's heart and all that.
The lessons cost $70 each, or $50 each if you are a member. It costs $25 to become a member, but if you are going to become a member just for the cooking classes, I would suggest that you check the availability, as the classes are already booked up for the next couple of months. I think Heather, our lovely instructor, is a one-woman Korean-home-cooking invasion! If you think about it, it's like a buffet dinner with recipes AND leftovers to take home!
Awesome isn't it?
And if that wasn't enough to convince you that this cooking class is well worth the time and money, let me leave you with a picture of the BEST LUNCHBOX EVER!
Tammi of Insatiable Munchies attended this Korean cooking class courtesy of the Korean Cultural Office. For more information, please contact the Korean Cultural Office at +61-2-8267-3400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.