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A Korean Winter Menu Plan


This Korean winter meal plan has a lot of elements, but you don't have to make them all. Buy or make all the kimchi that you want to add and swap out sides as you wish, but do try to keep the oyster rice and the spicy spare ribs on the menu. Just those two dishes will make this a comforting Korean meal to remember.

1. Oyster Rice

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Follow this easy rice-cooker recipe for Korean oyster rice (gul bap), which makes the most of the sweet, meaty, ocean-y flavor of good oysters. (Oyster season is usually during the winter, or traditionally months with the letter "R" in them). Served with a spicy soy dipping sauce, this Korean rice dish is tasty and comforting.

2. Sweet and Spicy Pork Spareribs

Although Koreans are most famous for their love of shortribs, you'll never have leftovers with these delicious spareribs. They are tender and a little bit sweet, sticky and spicy.

3. Cucumber Kimchi (Oi Sobaegi)

US Army Photo, Debbie Hong
It's hard to keep this stuffed cucumber kimchi (or kimchee) on the table or in the fridge, because it's so popular with Koreans of all ages. Full of snap, crackle, and layers of flavor, oi sobaegi can also be eaten the day you make it.

4. Fried Zucchini (Hobak Jun)

Hobak Jun
Naomi Imatome
A delicious and healthy Korean side dish, Hobak Jun (or Jeon) is easy to prepare and goes well with almost every Korean meal. The zucchini is coated in a thin batter of flour and egg, sauteed on both sides, and served with soy sauce for dipping.

5. Rice Cake Soup (Duk Gook) Recipe

Korean Rice Cake Soup
Naomi Imatome
Korean Duk Gook, a soup filled with soft Korean rice cakes (Dduk), is always eaten on New Year's Day. Soothing and simple, it takes less than 30 minutes if you use pre-made or store-bought broth. It's also common to add dumplings and/or sliced beef to the soup for a heartier dish.

6. Seasoned Radish Strips (Moo Saeng Chae)

Korean Radish Strip Salad (Moo Saengchae)
Naomi Imatome
Moo Saeng Chae is a fresh Korean radish salad that goes well with savory stews and well-seasoned sauteed dishes.

7. Sauteed Broccoli Rabe Recipe

One of my favorite bitter greens, broccoli rabe (or rapini), is delicious and easy to prepare with just a few staple Korean ingredients. Unfortunately, it is somewhat expensive on the East Coast of the United States where I live. I've noticed that broccoli rabe (rapini) is generally cheaper out on the West Coast; I hope it's not too expensive where you live.

8. Roasted Rice Tea

A popular Korean grain "tea", Sungyung is just well-roasted rice steeped in hot water. It has a nutty, smoky flavor. This recipe makes a large batch of roasted rice so that you can have a cup of sungyung whenever you feel like it. If you just want to make a few cups of tea, you can also just fry some rice in a dry (no oil) pan.

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