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Korean Vegetarian Menu

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This vegetarian menu is naturally meatless (no fake meat here!). There are so many Korean dishes that are vegetarian, despite the fact that Korean cuisine is known for barbecued beef. If you are eating in a restaurant, however, do request that they don't use beef or pork as a base for seasoning or in any soup broths.

1. Sparkling Ginger Cocktail

Ginger has a nice bite and some heat, which makes it an interesting addition to cocktails. Try this ginger cocktail, which is sparkling, refreshing and aromatic.

2. Salad with Apples, Nuts, and Frozen Grapes

Korean Salad with Fruit and Nuts
Naomi Imatome
This green salad has a Korean dressing that is tart and slightly spicy, and the apples, nuts, and frozen grapes give different flavors and textures to every bite. My aunt first made a version of this salad for me when she was visiting from Korea, except she made it with peanuts and without grapes. I've since made many versions of this salad with different fruits and nuts, but the Korean dressing always makes it irresistible.

3. Braised Tofu

This braised tofu recipe is a healthy, sweet, spicy, salty, smooth and savory dish that is good for any meal.

4. Vegetable Dumplings (Yachae Mandoo)

These vegetarian dumplings are easy to make and can be prepared in large quantities in advance and stored in the freezer for future use. The mixture of tofu, eggs, glass noodles, and vegetables in these dumplings have a savory taste that even hardcore meat-eaters love. If you don't like or have this combination of vegetables, then carrots, mushrooms, cucumbers, kimchi, and chives are also good filling choices. Versatile and delicious, yachae mandoo can be boiled, steamed, deep fried, pan-fried or added to soup.

5. Radish Cube Kimchi (Kaktugi)

Naomi Imatome
Kaktugi seasonings are almost identical to those in baechu kimchi (which is made from Napa cabbage), but the crunchiness of the radish gives it a snappy texture all its own. It's also good for children or a large family-style meal, since it's a little easier to eat. Kaktugi is not hard to prepare and the hands-on time is not long, but with most kimchi, you do have to wait at least a day for the fermentation process to work its magic.

6. Scallion Pancake (Pa Jun)

Korean Scallion Pancake (Pa Jun)
Naomi Imatome
This Korean scallion pancake recipe is easy to make and is always a big crowd-pleaser. It works as a hearty snack, an appetizer, or a side dish to a Korean or Asian meal. As with most Korean recipes and dishes, you can tweak it to your own tastes. If I have time, I like to add sliced red chili peppers and white onions to my Pa Jun. Carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, and kimchi are also popular fillings for Korean scallion pancakes. If you are going to be using the ready-made batter available at Korean and other Asian groceries, see the bottom note for directions.

7. Seaweed Soup (Miyuk gook)

Known as the “birthday soup” in Korea, seaweed soup is also given to post-partum mothers recovering from childbirth. Naturally low in calories and fat and high in calcium, iron, and protein, it is a light and healthy soup good for any meal of the day.

8. Green Tea Ice Cream

Green tea ice cream is popular all over Korea and you can also find it in Korean restaurants and grocery stores all over the world. It's an easy and addictive ice cream to make if you have natural green tea powder, which you can find in Asian grocery stores and online. The Korean label might say: “Nokcha Karu” and Japanese brands will say “Matcha”.
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