My obsession with Korean food began with a YouTube video - It was a ‘What I eat in a Week’ by a Canadian-Korean girl, saranghoe. Her parents create her all these meals - breakfast, lunch, and dinner - using normal ingredients in ways I’d never seen before. For example, mille feuille (shabushabu) is a pot full of layered cabbage slices and other vegetable or meat slices, mushrooms in the centre, topped with a flavourful stock. It looks like a flower, and is so healthy, so hearty, and simple!

It was my birthday coming up and I debated on celebrating at a restaurant or at home. Home won over, being a creative project which I liked.. though I could never stop thinking about it!


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Entree

Silken Tofu With Spicy Soy Dressing, from NYT Recipes

A super easy, good-looking dish - Pat dry the a block of silken tofu, pour over a soy dressing, and top with fresh green onions and herbs. For a larger group, I sandwiched two blocks of tofu with a middle layer of dressing and herbs.

Kingfish Cured in Kombu and Chilli, from SBS 

I wanted to recreate the kingfish, aged ponzu, Kombu, chives dish from Ms G’s. It strangely reminds me of a flavourful pack of chips as a child
Mine didn’t turn out as refined as theirs!

Main

Momofuku's Bo Ssam, from NYT Recipes

This is a pork shoulder that is salted and sugared overnight so that the next morning, you have quite a layer of juice drawn out!
You stick it in the oven for 6 hours, and you have an amazing, caramelised centrepiece. A lady from the Korean mart later told me to put a teaspoon of coffee in the rub to give it more colour and scent out of the oven.

Fable mushroom meat

Sides (to wrap the proteins with)

Lettuce leaves

Nori sheets - Get a good brand for more crispiness and texture

Banchan
There is a little store ‘Food World’ in Strathfield Plaza with cool, freshly made banchan (side deishes). They had all sorts of kimchi, colourful kimbap (Korean sushi), fermented peanuts and seafood, japchae (stir-fried vegetarian noodles), and salads

Dessert

Strawberry rice cake from Siroo, a cafe that specialises in rice cakes like mochi and savoury tteokbokki (sort of like gnocchi).

This is an interesting cake made from steamed rice with layers of strawberry jam and fresh berries. The icing is made from red bean. I was so excited when I discovered this type of cake - healthier, yet still sweet!

TIPS

Delegate

Have a mix of homemade food, plus food outsourced. You really have to balance out your work as the host, with the pleasure of having this event!

Good recipes

Find stunning recipes that are also easy to manage

Plate beforehand

My partner and I plated the shared entrees and mains before everyone came, so that we had all the time to spend with everyone during the dinner. The mains could be left in the oven, too, to heat up - So definitely recommend oven-safe serving plates.

 

by Veronica Rillo

Founder of COOKY - though not a chef herself - and lover of dinner parties 

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