Building the a love for fresh herbs.


Every summer tapas meal needs a salad, and since it's summer in Korea we decided on one that included all the local favorites: watermelon, cucumber and tomatoes.  


If you have ever been to both Korea or Spain you know that both places can't get enough watermelon, cucumber or tomato so they are perfect choice for a fusion salad to highlight the similarities.  The biggest issue was how to make it all fusion-y.  We only made a few small changes.  Of course, the taste was just perfection.  You can't go wrong with fresh fruit and herbs.


1/4 large watermelon cubed (or any other melon you have on hand)
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
1 medium cucumber or 1/2 one large cucumber cubed
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh basil
3 tablespoons pine nut oil or olive oil
a pinch of salt
a pinch of korean red pepper (optional)

We don't need to make this too complicated.  This salad is very simple.  Cube everything up in smallish cubes and toss together with oil, herbs and salt.

Cooking Note: This recipe is great for kids.  It's easy to make, healthy and they will love to eat it all.  It's also a wonderful recipe to help them develop a passion for the taste of fresh herbs.


Spanish Korean Table 
May 25th, 2013
The Han River
Seoul, South Korea

Our first community meal went over famously, despite a few bumps in the road caused by Seoul traffic.  

We ate fresh Spanish Korean Tapas and drank amazing home-brew with fantastic company on the edge of the Han River until 12:30am.  It was a pleasure to cook for people that love food so much and aren't afraid of a little cultural mix-and-match.  We can't thank everyone enough for their conversation that made the evening complete.  

We especially can't thank Rowan Chadwick enough for his hand-brewed beers that completely pulled the meal together.  He even sent a few bottles home with us that we are looking forward to savoring this week.  

We are very much looking forward to gathering around the next Expat Table soon.


Roasted Peppers in Olive Oil with Garlic
Roasted Egg Plant
Simple Boiled Quail Eggs


Squid Tacos w/ Goat Cheese & Roasted Red Peppers

We know.  This sounds really, really weird - which it is.  However, it's also spectacularly delicious.  For this version of our Korean Tacos, we used fresh squid sautéed in sea salt and lemon, leftover Spanish Korean Rice, goat cheese, roasted red peppers in olive oil and garlic, and topped with fresh pico de gallo.  For a little extra kick add the hot sauce or kimchi.


So how did we come up with this?  We had some fresh squid burning a whole in our pocket and a tiny amount of leftovers for our Spanish Table dinner on the Han River.  Seemed like a great time to try something wild and crazy.  This post is not so much about building exactly the same type of tacos, but inspiring you to "think outside the taco shell" when you are looking in your fridge.  You don't have to do what everyone else does with your food.  Nothing is set in stone.  Think about the flavors you love and bring them together in new was.


Sautéed Squid
2 medium sized squid cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil or pine nut oil or Vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
pinch of sea salt

In a saute pan heat olive oil. Toss in the squid, lemon juice and pinch of salt.  Move regular in the pan until cooked.  Takes 3-5 minutes.
First it looks like this.
Then it looks like this
Now layer into a soft or crunch taco shell:
Spanish Korean Rice
Sautéed Squid
Pico De Gallo
Goat Cheese
Roasted Red Peppers
Dash of Hot Sauce

The flavor is very light but the meal is hearty.  There is substance and kick without the heaviness many associate with Mexican cooking.  It's very Baja, if you will.


    Spicy Kimchi Spanish Tortilla

    As you have realized, we are huge fans of Spanish food, especially tapas.  One of the most popular tapas out there is the tortilla and it's delightful, however, after living in Korea it is also a little bland. So we decided to fancy it up a bit.  We also went all local all the time on this one.


    Of course, "all local" means we needed a tasty solution for olive oil.  We found what we needed in a Gangwon-do focused outdoor market in Seoul - locally produced Pine Nut Oil.  It's a fantastic substitute for olive oil because it has a delicious full-bodied flavor that doesn't over power everything else.


    1 medium onion

    1 - 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons Korean pine nut oil or olive oil or reduced pork fat
  • 6 large eggs

    1/4 - 1/3 cup thinly cut kimchi (not packed)

    1 spicy pepper
  • salt and black pepper and Korea red pepper to taste

    First, prepare your ingredients. Cut onions into thin "half moon slices.  Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Cut up the kimchi into medium strips.

    Second, heat an 8-10 inch frying pan and add a tablespoon of oil.  Add onions, garlic and kimchi together in the pan and toss for a few minutes, then add potatoes and cook on low to medium heat for about 20minutes.  Add salt, black pepper and Korean red pepper to taste. Watch them carefully so that they cook evenly and don't brown heavily.

    Third, prepare the eggs.  In a bowl beat together six eggs, when potatoes are finished cooking add to the eggs in the bowl.

    Fourth, add oil to pan(s).  (We use two small caste iron skillets for ours, but you can also use one 10inch skillet if you would rather.)   Keep the heat on low.  Add your eggs and potatoes back into the pan and let them slow cook for about 20minutes. Make sure they don't get too brown.  When they are nearly fully cooked, you need to CAREFULLY flip them over in the pan and cook the other side.  This is the hard part.  You might need two spatulas, or you can use a lid to flip it onto and then slide it back into the pan.

    Once you have browned both sides you can eat right away, or keep in the fridge for snacks.  This is fantastic cold or hot.  We love to make these on Sundays and try to keep them around for a few days.  Although, to be honest, we often eat them right away because they are too delicious.

    If you are super into Korean food like we are, we also eat them with a little Kimchi on top.


Bibimbap Tacos

In our kitchen, we are fans of the never endless meal.  We like to make something special on Sunday that will turn into many more magical things as the week rolls out.  This week we started with Spanish Korean rice, which became Spanish Bibimbap which evolved into Bibimbap Tacos.

To be honest, these were 100% more delicious than we could have dreamed.  The first words heard at the table after the first bite was, "These are possibly the best tacos I've ever had."  And the opinion didn't change much after that.  In fact, we were craving them for the rest of the day.  They are flat out addictive and delicious.


You might want to make your own taco seasoning.  Seriously, don't import this stuff.  Just make your own and delight in the deliciousness.  Use this recipe from All Recipes to get you started.  Once you have finished that, it's time to get down to business.


2 cups leftover Spanish Babimbap
1/4 cup taco seasoned ground beef, chicken or shrimp.
Korean Salsa or Salsa of your choice
4 crunchy or soft taco shells

Optional Ingredients:
Grated Cheese
Sour cream 
Goat Yogurt
Sliced Avocado
Diced Tomatoes
Shredded Lettuce 
Fresh Cilantro

Layer in the following order:
Seasoned meat

Finish with option ingredients of your choice.  We recommend having fun with your ingredients and trying different flavor combinations in each taco. 

Cooking Notes: It's always lovely to heat up your shells before you make your tacos.  You can do so on a range, in an over or with a microwave.

The Food

Spanish Korean Rice

If you have tried Spanish rice, you know it makes everything better.  It's filled with soft warm flavors that mix with foods from all parts of the world.  In Korea, we have found ourselves often thinking, "This would be amazing with Spanish Rice!" when we are eating local specialties.

The Quandaries

The biggest question we had when we decided to make this recipe in Korea was, "What type of rice should we use for the perfect Spanish Korean dish?"  Well, since we want our fusion food to be as fusion as possible, we chose Jab Gok Bap a traditional Korean mixed rice containing dried black beans, barley, brown rice, millet and short grain white rice. 

 The Solution

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (기름)
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1.5 cups Jab Gok Bap
  • 3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth or water
  • 5 tablespoons cooked and diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried Korean red peppers
  • 1 teaspoon salt (소금)

First, finely chop (썰다) up the onions and slice up the garlic.  You don't want big chunks so make nice little cubs.

Second, heat olive oil in a pan and saute (볶다) the onion and garlic until lightly brown.

Second, in a rice cooker, combine the rest of your ingredients.

Third, mix up (뒤섞다) the ingredients well.

Fourth, add water or broth.

Fifth, cook until rice is light and lovely.
This is excellent as the start for your Spanish Bibimbap (비빔밥).



Spanish Babimbap

Of course, since we live in Korea, the first thing we had to make with our Spanish Korean Rice was Spanish Bibimbap (비빔밥).  "What's Bibimbap (비빔밥)?" you ask.  Well, it's a filling and tasty Korean meal popular with locals and visitors.  Perfect for lunch or dinner, it's loaded with veggies and healthy grains.  You can also add chicken (닭고기), beef (소고기) or seafood (생선) if you are feeling a little fancy.


Well, to be honest, the biggest issue is choosing what delicious veggies and greens to use to create the perfect fusion flavor.  For our Spanish version we mixed traditional Korean veggies with a few new favorites to create our ideal taste, however, we encourage you to have fun with this and try different combinations.


1 Fire Roasted Pepper
1 Cup Spinach
2-3 Mushrooms
1 Baby Bok Choy
1 Table Spoon Chopped Green Onions
4 Cherry Tomatoes
1 Egg
Hot Sauce
Two Dashes of Paprika
Salt to taste

Optional Ingredients: 
4 Medium Shrimp
1 Small Julianne Carrot 
1 Table Spoon Kimchi (김치)
1/2 Avocado  

First, prepare your vegetables (Pepper, Spinach, Mushrooms, Baby Bok Choy, Cherry Tomatoes).  We like to fire roast our peppers.  This brings out their sweetness and it's a very popular Spanish cooking style.

Our other vegetables are sauteed (볶다) in olive oil instead of sesame oil in order to help give them more of a Spanish flavor.  You can add a little salt and a few dashes of paprika if you like as well.

Second, create a bed of Spanish Korean Rice.

Third, carefully create a lovely spread of vegetables in sections.  Not mixed together yet.

Fourth, Fry an egg over easy and place it on top of the vegetables.  Then sprinkle with lots of your favorite hot sauce and some chopped green onions and a few dashes of paprika.

Cooking Note: You also want to make sure your egg has a very runny yoke so that when you break it it runs into the rice and makes a sauce.

Finally, it's time to mix it all up.  Before you bite into your creation, you will need to mix it all together in order to combine the flavors.  This is the fun part.  Using two chopsticks you can cut it together so that the eggs and hot sauce combine and mix into everything.

Now it's time for you to eat!!!