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Mama Koo is an excellent cook!  Having been born and raised in Korea, I am very critical when it comes to Korean food.  It has to be a certain way.  It has to be Mama Koo’s way!  Yes, she is a home cook, but her skills are top-notch, folks!  You haven’t had Korean food until you’ve tried hers!  Sure, I may be slightly biased, but everyone who’s tried her cooking will agree with me on this one.

Thanks to my mama, I remember my lunchbox being the center of my classmates’ attention during my elementary years.  In all the lunch boxes, the components were the same.  There was rice (can’t imagine a meal without rice!), meat of some sort (sausage or egg was most popular amongst us young’uns), and a vegetable side dish called “banchan.”  Mine was no exception.  However, lunch from Mama Koo’s Kitchen was somehow more special.

Here’s me (I believe I was in the third grade) stuffing my face with “gim bap.”  I was prolly trying to eat it as quickly as possible before other kids got to it.

So it’s only natural that I try to obtain all her recipes.  However, to my disappointment, it hasn’t been very easy to recreate her masterpieces.  First, she doesn’t have recipes!  She just adds a spoonful of this, a pinch of that, and eyeballs everything else.  However, I have watched her long enough to get a feel for and an approximation of how much of the ingredients she’s adding.  Success!  OK I can do this!  But quickly I faced a second challenge.  It doesn’t taste the same!  Close but not quite =(

I say all this to let you guys know that my Korean recipes that I will be sharing with you are not perfect.  Mama Koo’s is perfect.  However, I will be trying my best to continue to work on her recipes so that I can share them with you all!  I am also constantly tweaking them and creating healthier alternatives (i.e. less sodium and sugar).  So be on the lookout for them!!

In the meanwhile, here’s the list of the basic ingredients you will need to make any kind of Korean dish.

Asian Pantry:

– Low-sodium soy sauce

– Brown sugar

– Corn syrup (can substitute with honey)

– Sesame oil

– Korean chili pepper paste

– Korean soybean paste

I know you guys can’t read Korean, but I took these pictures so that you can see the specific products that I am referring to (just try to look for something that looks similar to these containers).

– Korean chili pepper powder

– Scallions

– Ginger

– Hoisin sauce

– Fish sauce

– Sriracha (optional but highly recommended)

– Mirin

– Rice wine vinegar

– R0asted sesame seeds

– Brown rice

-Garlic- lots of garlic in Korean recipes, folks! It adds so much flavor to the dishes so don’t be stingy with it!  Just remember to brush your teeth afterwards =)

As a time saver, once a week I like to peel all my garlic, put it in the mini food processor,  chop them until I achieve a paste-like consistency, and finally store them in a tupperware.  This way I don’t have to spend time peeling and mincing every single time!

So there you have it! Korean pantry 101!

The husband and I are planning to make some homemade dumplings and Korean marinated beef a.k.a “bulgogi” this weekend.  So stay tuned!


-Have you had Korean food before? If so, what is your favorite? 

Is there any specific Korean dish you want to know how to make? 

About Min

Thank you so much for stopping by! I am Min, a Registered Dietitian, a Christ follower, a wife, and a mom to our two miracle babies! Currently, I’m having a ton of fun feeding their tummies and sharing our baby led weaning journey! Follow me on Instagram if interested in seeing daily menu as well as tips and tricks.

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  1. Oh how cool to process your garlic all at once like this! I’m SO gonna give this a go today! Thanks for the tip 😉

  2. Hey Min! I can’t wait to try the recipes your post. I love food and dishes from other cultures! Also, I cracked up at that hand lurking over your lunch box from your third grade picture. Too funny.

    1. Hi Alisha! I’m glad you enjoyed your mini trip and got back safely! And yes that picture makes me laugh every time I look at it =)

  3. Thanks for sharing this, I am always super interested in other cuisines. I love me some garlic so you got me on that!

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever had Korean food – I need to try it!
    I love that you prepare all of your garlic one a week. I hate getting my hands smelly every time I cook, so I need to get a food processor and start doing this!

    By the way, welcome to the blogging world! I love yours!

    1. Aww thanks Michelle! I love yours too!! so berrylicious!!
      I know! Isn’t garlic prep the worst?!?! That’s why I’d rather do it once and get it over with. I don’t have a fancy food processor yet. Just a mini prep one, and it’s perfect! Ooh and I do hope you will try some of the recipes that I shall post soon =)