Korean Vegetarian Dishes

Korean BBQ Tofu


Yield: 1 servings


  • 1-1 1/2 lbs firm tofu
  • 1/2 c Soy sauce
  • 5 6 T sugar or sweetener
  • 2 t Dry mustard
  • 4 Cloves garlic or 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 2 t Onion powder
  • a little water


Cut tofu in strips 1/2 inch thick and marinate for at least 2 hours, then fry and garnish with vegetables of your choice. I like to cut tofu in squares and throw in a vegetable stir-fry. Enjoy! –

Korean Bean Sprouts

Yield: 5 servings


  • 1/2 lb Bean sprouts
  • 1 ts Salt; or to taste
  • 2 tb Sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 ts Garlic powder -Karen says: use REAL garlic
  • 1 pn Cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1/4 c Finely chopped green onions


Clean the bean sprouts. Drop into boiling water and boil 5 minutes. Drain well. Return to the pan. Stir in the salt, sesame seeds, sesame oil, garlic powder, cayenne, and green onions. Simmer 2 minute. Serve hot or cold.

Spinach Soup
(Korean Malgun Sigumchi Kuk)

Serving Size : 4


  • 1/2 lb Fresh spinach
  • 1 Scallion
  • 1 Clove garlic
  • 4 c Water
  • 1/2 lb Ground beef
  • 1 t Soy sauce
  • 1 tb Salt
  • Dash pepper


1. Wash the spinach thoroughly and trim off the thick stems. Chop the scallion. Mince the garlic.

2. Bring the water to a boil. Add the meat and bring to a second boil. Skim off the froth. Add the spinach, scallion, garlic, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Lower the flame and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

From: The Korean Cookbook, By Judy Hyun.

Korean-Style Cucumber Salad

Yield: 6 servings


  • 3 lb Pickling cucumbers; peeled
  • 1 md Onion; peeled
  • 1 tb Kosher salt; plus…
  • 1 ts Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 tb Lemon juice
  • 1/4 ts Cayenne pepper (or more)
  • 2 tb Crushed roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 tb Sesame oil


Cut the cucumbers and onion into very fine slices (a food processor may be used for this). Sprinkle with salt, mix well, and set aside in a bowl for an hour.

Drain all the accumulated liquid and discard. Add the lemon juice, cayenne pepper (Koreans like this dish very hot), sesame seeds, and sesame oil. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Hot Cucumbers Phreelee

Serving Size : 1


  • 3 Cucumbers
  • 5 Chopped green onions
  • 4 large Cloves of garlic
  • Sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup Soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup White vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Korean chile powder — (Mexican won’t do, get from Asian food shop)


Slice ends off the cucumbers and rub against the ends to get the bitterness out. (A white frothy paste will form). Peel cucumbers and slice in about 1/8th inch slices. Add finely chopped garlic and green onions.

Add approximately 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup white vinegar with 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Add 1/4 teaspoons chile powder at a time and add more for taste. Marinate, chill and serve. Recipe can be doubled easily.

Scallion Pancakes

(Yield: 8 pancakes)


  • 2 tb Glutinous rice
  • 1 c Whole mung beans
  • 1 c Mung-bean sprouts
  • 2 Scallions; thinly sliced
  • 1/3 c Green pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 c Finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 ts Baking soda
  • 2 ts Sesame oil
  • 1 tb Sesame seeds — toasted & lightly crushed
  • 2 ts Japanese soy sauce
  • 1 ts Salt
  • 3/4 c Vegetable oil (about) ———–DIPPING SAUCE—————————-
  • 4 tb Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 tb Rice vinegar
  • 1 ts Sugar
  • 1 tb Minced scallion
  • 1 Garlic clove — peeled and mashed


Wash and drain rice. Pick over mung beans; wash and drain. Place rice and beans in a bowl and cover wtih 5 cups of water. Let soak for 10 hours. Remove skins from beans by rubbing between your hands. Drain off floating skins now and then, replacing water with fresh water, until most all of the skins are removed and drained away. Drain off remaining water and blend rice and beans in a food processor until it becomes a thick paste. With machine running, gradually add 3/4 cup water to mixture; blend in thoroughly.

Blanch bean sprouts in boiling water for 2 minutes; drain. Squeeze out as much moisture as possible, then stir sprouts into the batter along with the scallions, green pepper, onion, baking soda, sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce and salt. Mix well.

Have all cooking paraphernalia ready and at hand. You will need to have near your skillet: 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a cup or bowl with a small spoon, a larger spoon to spread the batter, the bowl of batter with a 1/3-cup measuring scoop/cup, a metal spatula for turning the pancakes, and a plate on which to place the finished dosas after they are cooked.

Pour 1 teaspoon of oil into the skillet and tilt to distribute evenly. Heat the skillet over medium-low until oil is hot. Pour 1/3 cup of the mixture onto the center of the hot skillet. Use the large spoon to spread the batter in a spiral motion, until the pancake is about 6-7 inches in diameter. Turn pancake after 2-3 minutes and cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Remove pancake to plate and repeat with remaining batter, adding only enough additional oil to the skillet as needed to keep surface evenly greased. I found that about 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon for each pancake was plenty, but your mileage may vary. DIPPING SAUCE:
Mix together all ingredients and serve with hot Bindaetuk.

Adapted by Karen Mintzias, from a recipe in: Madhur Jaffrey’s “World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking”

Seasoned Potatoes

Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 md Potatoes
  • 2 tb Soy sauce
  • 2 ts Sugar
  • 1 ts Minced garlic
  • 2 ts Sesame seeds
  • 1 To 2 ts sesame oil
  • 4 tb Minced scallion


Peel potatoes and slice into match stick pieces, placing in cold water to prevent browning. Drain and place in saucepan with just enough water to barely cover potatoes. Bring to boil and cook just until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, in bowl, combine soy sauce, sugar, garlic, sesame seeds, sesame oil and scallion. Drain cooked potatoes well and add to soy sauce mixture, tossing well.

Serves 4.

Seasoned Spinach

Yield: 2 servings


  • 10 Oz fresh small flat-leaf -spinach
  • 2 tb Soy sauce
  • 1 ts Sugar
  • 1 1/2 ts Crushed sesame seeds
  • 1 tb Sesame oil
  • 1 tb Minced scallion
  • 1 ts Vinegar (optional)
  • Salt
  • Red pepper threads -(optional)


Both hot and cold vegetables are important in the Korean diet. Here are several recipes adapted from “Traditional Korean Cooking” by Han Chung Hea, head of a prestigious cooking institute in Seoul.

Remove roots from spinach, if desired.

In bowl, combine soy sauce, sugar, sesame seeds, sesame oil, scallion and vinegar.

Bring large pot lightly salted water to boil. Add spinach, root ends first, and immerse only until leaves turn bright green. Drain and rinse immediately in cold water. Drain and squeeze out as much water as possible. Place spinach in bowl with soy sauce mixture and toss well.

Serve at once, topped with few red pepper threads, if desired. Serves 2.

(Korean Sigumchi Namul)

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 lb Fresh spinach
  • 3 tb Soy sauce
  • 2 tb Sesame oil
  • 1 tb Sesame seeds
  • 1 ea Clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tb Sugar
  • 1 tb White vinegar
  • Dash pepper


1. Wash the spinach. Steam until just tender and still green. Strain and squeeze out as much water as possible. Cut spinach very coarsely.

2. Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, garlic, sugar, vinegar and pepper. Mix into the spinach.

Variation: Season the spinach with Chang (meat sauce for vegetables).

Source: The Korean Cookbook, by Judy Hyun.

Cucumber Salad
(Korean Ol Namul)

Yield: 4 servings


  • 3 ea Cucumbers
  • 1 tb Salt
  • 1 ea Clove garlic
  • 1/4 ts Salt
  • 1 ts Sesame seeds
  • 1 ts Sesame oil
  • 1/4 ts Cayenne pepper
  • 1 ts Sugar


This simple cucumber salad is a pleasant accompaniment to a hot summer night. Small cucumbers are suggested; they are not quite as watery as the large ones nor do they require peeling.

1. Slice the cucumbers in circles. Sprinkle salt over the cucumber slices, mix well and let them stand for 30 minutes. Place the cucumbers in a damp cloth and gently but firmly squeeze out as much water as possible. The less watery the cucumbers, the better tasting the dish.

2. Crush the garlic, then combine it with the cucumbers, salt, sesame seeds, sesame oil, pepper and sugar in a bowl. Mix well.

Source: The Korean Cookbook, by Judy Hyun.

Korean Bean Thread Sesame Noodles With Vegetables

Serving Size : 4


  • 1 oz Chinese dried mushrooms
  • 1/2 oz Chinese dried cloud ears
  • 1/4 lb Bean thread noodles
  • 2 oz Carrot
  • 1 Green pepper
  • 1 sm Onion
  • 2 tb Peanut oil
  • 1/2 c Water —–SAUCE—–
  • 2 tb Light soy sauce
  • 2 tb Dark soy sauce
  • 3 tb Sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tb Sesame seeds
  • 1 tb Finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tb Sugar
  • 1 t Freshly ground black pepper


Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes until soft. Squeeze the excess liquid from the mushrooms and remove and discard the stalks. Cut the caps into shreds. Soak the cloud ears in warm water for about 20 minutes or until soft. Rince them well in cold water and drain them thoroughly in a colander.

Soak the noodles in a large bowl of very hot water for 15 minutes. When soft, drain well. Cut the noodles into 3-inch lengths, using scissors or a knife.

Peel and finely shred the carrot. Finely shred the pepper and onion.

Heat a wok or large frying pan and add the oil. When moderately hot, add the mushrooms, cloud ears, carrot, onion, green pepper, and water and stir-fry for 5 minutes or until the carrots are cooked.

Combine the sauce ingredients and add them to the vegetables. Give the mixture a good stir, then add the noodles. Stir-fry the mixture for 2 minutes until well heated through. Serve at once or at room temperature. Source: Asian Vegetarian Feast – by Ken Hom William Morrow and Company, Inc. – New York ISBN: 0-688-07753-6

Mom’s Kim Chee
(Made With Nappa Cabbage)

Kim Chee is a pickled salad/condiment type food served at virtually every Korean meal. It is often compared to saurkraut. It can be made not only with nappa cabbage, but with types of raddishes, greens, or cucumbers. It is salty, (spicy) hot, temperately cold, garlicy and tangy.

Here is a short cut version. My mom usually makes a bushel at a time. If you are new to kim chee, I doubt you would want to deal with that much on the first try. It is a short cut version for a second reason which has to do with how the pepper paste/sauce is added to the cabbage. In the long version, not given, the pepper mixture is layered between whole leaves of quarted cabbage pieces. In this version the mixture is tossed like a salad instead. The seasonings are the same. THERE ARE THREE MAJOR STEPS TO MAKING KIM CHEE: 1. Salting the cabbage 2. Making the pepper paste/sauce. 3. Combining the pepper with the cabbage and putting it into jars. YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1/2-1 c pickling salt
  • 1 ea Head Nappa Cabbage
  • 1 ea daikon raddish (one third to one half the size of the cabbage)
  • 1 ea head of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Tb ginger, minced
  • 2-8 Tb Korean red pepper flakes, or fresh hot red pepper to taste, or a combination.
  • 2 ea green onions, julienned
  • 1 tb sugar
  • X A new pair of latex gloves are handy for handling hot pepper mixture.
  • X A large bowl for soaking the cabbage in brine solution.
  • X Large glass containers to put the finished kim chee into.
  • X Especially handy for large batches is a food processor and/or a contraption for shredding vegetables into julienne strips.


First, the cabbage must be salted in brine solution. Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise. Then cut a second time lengthwise to form quarter cabbage chunks.

Mix the salt with enough water to cover all the cabbage in a large bowl.

Soak the cabbage in the brine solution, making sure that all parts are submerged. If they are not, you can restack the cabbage half way through the soaking process, moving bottom chunks to the top, and vice versa.

Leave the cabbage for 2-4 hours. At the end of this time, the cabbage should be wilted, supple, limp and salty in taste. (optional: A trick from my grandmother is to lightly salt each stalk of each leaf which is much thicker than the leafy part in order that the leafy part and stalk are evenly seasoned. So to do this you must rub pickling salt sparsely on each of the stalks. This is done midway through the soaking when the leaves are manageable wilted. )

Reserve some of the brine solution. Rinse the cabbage and then cut into bite size pieces about an inch and a half long and drain the cabbage. Discard the centre core.

In the mean time, prepare the daikon raddish and the pepper sauce/paste.

The daikon must either be shredded into julienne strips. Add to the daikon: red pepper flakes, red pepper, minced garlic, minced ginger, julienned green onion, salt to taste (1 Tbsp) and sugar, then toss. If you are using your hands, beware of the the hot pepper. This is where gloves come in handy.

Finally, thoroughly mix the pepper mixture with the cabbage by tossing. Then check for salt and red pepper and seasoning in general and adjust if necessary. Then pack into glass jars. The mixture should have a liquid sauce in the jar and more will form as it sits. It is important that the mixture is in a sauce. Should you need to add more liquid, take some reserved brine and rinse the final mixing bowl and add to bottles so that all the cabbage pieces are just submerged in liquid. You can keep a bottle outside for a day to help it ripen more quickly, otherwise store in the refrigerator, tightly capped.

The taste changes as it ripens. It is initially like a salad and then ferments to taste more sour. Kim chee compliments meals served with rice. It is a Korean staple. It is also good fried with butter or sesame oil, or stir fried with pork and tofu.

From: [email protected] (June Kwak)