Gold medal Korean recipes

Make yours the true international house of pancakes!


The 2018 Winter Olympics are still going on in South Korea, along with this country’s verbal sparring with North Korea, both raising our awareness of Korean culture and Olympic sports in general. Hooked on curling yet?

Chloe Kim, the 17-year-old Korean-American bomb who won the gold medal this week in the snowboard halfpipe, is this writer’s candidate for the prized Wheaties box cover and has already scored several big commercial endorsements from Nabisco, Visa, Toyota and Samsung, according to CNN Money.

Just before her big race the teenager with long streaked blond hair tweeted, “Wish I finished my breakfast sandwich but my stubborn self-decided not to and now I’m getting hangry.” She also said on NBC that she was dying for some ice cream and eventually had some pizza and a latte and was ready.

All this is far from the traditional Korean food she grew up with in her immigrant parents’ home in Torrance.

Actually, Korean food is mostly quite complicated to prepare and takes time. Much of the Korean food I have enjoyed at our son Mack and wife Na Young Ma’s home is cooked by her mother, who takes that time. Na Young spends a lot of her kitchen time in the back of her bakery in Los Angeles.

So at Na Young’s recommendation, check out some fairly easy adaptations of the complicated processes for both Korean pancakes and kimchi or kimchee on page B5.

Korean pancakes

(From Leslie Kaufman of


For the dipping sauce

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1-½ teaspoons sugar, optional

Pinch of hot red pepper flakes

For the pancakes

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour or rice flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup very finely chopped vegetables asparagus, broccoli, green beans, scallions or chopped cooked leftover meat chicken, beef, pork or both


* For dipping sauce: In a small bowl, combine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar (if using) and red pepper flakes. Mix well and set aside.

* For pancakes: Fill a pitcher or glass with ice and 1/2 cup or more cold water; set aside. Place a small (6- to 8-inch) nonstick or well-seasoned skillet over medium-low heat. Coat bottom with vegetable oil and allow to heat.

* In a medium bowl, whisk eggs just until frothy. Add flour and salt and whisk to combine. Add vegetables or meat and stir to blend. Add 1/2 cup ice water and mix again to blend.

* Fill a 1/2-cup measuring cup with batter; pour into hot pan. Allow to sit until browned and crispy on bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip pancake and cook another 2 minutes. Place on a serving plate and keep warm (or set aside to serve at room temperature). Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with dipping sauce, tearing or cutting off pieces of pancake to dip in sauce with fingers or chopsticks.

Easy Kimchi (Kimchee)

(From Laura Arnold for


1 Napa cabbage, cut into 2-inch strips

1/4-1/2 cup kosher salt

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

2 tablespoons ginger, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons water

4 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes

1 large daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1-inch matchsticks

2 bunches green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces

* Place cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mix thoroughly using gloves, if preferred. Place a heavy pot or pan on top with weights and allow cabbage to sit for 1-2 hours until wilted and water has been released.

* Discard water after 1-2 hours. Rinse the cabbage 2-3 times in the sink until salt is removed and allow to drain in a colander for another 15-20 minutes.

* Combine cabbage with remaining ingredients (through water) and mix. Using gloves, add the Korean red pepper flakes and begin mixing and rubbing flakes into the mixture.

* Once combined, place mixture in a jar pressing down and packing tightly so that the mixture is submerged in its own liquid. Place top on jar and allow to sit at room temperature for 2-5 days. Place jar on a plate since the mixture may bubble over while fermenting.

* Each day of fermentation, remove the lid to release gases and press down on the mixture to keep it submerged. You can taste a sample each day to decide if the level of fermentation is to your liking.

* After 2-5 days of fermentation, store kimchi in refrigerator and use when you have the urge.