I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of holidays is the food. Chuseok is no exception! If you would like to celebrate Chuseok at home, these are all the Chuseok recipes you need to make the perfect festive feast.
The Beauty of Korean Cooking
After living in Korea for more than 7 years, I have come to the realization that Korean food is entirely customizable. The best Korean chefs have probably never owned a measuring cup in their life.
Each chef creates dishes a bit differently. So, rather than thinking of these recipes as the law, consider them a general guide. You can change things up based on what’s available to you and what you like. At the end of the day the touch, feel, look, and taste of the food is what really matters.
The first on our list of Chuseok recipes is Jeon, Korean pancakes. Everything is Jeon-able! Squid, kimchi, mugwort, zucchini – I have even seen some desserts turned into Jeon. The concept of Jeon is simple and it is at the core of Chuseok Recipes. You lightly batter something up and cook in on a pan with oil – simple. However, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common Jeon during Chuseok.
Zucchini Jeon (애호박전)
- 1 Zucchini
- 1 Cup of flour
- Pinch of salt
- 2 Eggs
- Slice your Zucchini into disks about 0.5 cm in thickness
- You’ll want to remove some of the moisture from the Zucchini, you can do this by leaving the disks on the counter for around 30 minutes, or by lightly salting them and dabbing them off with a paper towel.
- Next, put the flour in a bag, then put the zucchini in the same bag.
- Shake the bag with the flour and the zucchini until they are fully coated.
- Put some oil in a frying pan and heat it until you get a nice sizzle
- Dip the zucchini in the raw egg
- Put them on a frying pan and cook until golden brown
*This recipe can be repeated with any vegetables that can be pan-fried as well as slices of meat with a similar thickness
Sesame Leave Wrap Jeon (깻잎전)
- 20 Sesame Leaves (Can be substituted for other leaf vegetables)
- 1 Cup Ground Pork (Can be substituted for other ground meat)
- Tofu 1/2 Cup
- Carrots 1/2 Cup Diced
- Garlic 1/2 Cup Diced
- Green Onion 1/2 Cup Diced
- Onion 1/2 Cup Diced
- Salt 1 teaspoon
- Black pepper 1 teaspoon
- Sesame Oil 1 teaspoon
- Flour 1/2 Cup
- 3 Eggs
- Put all of the diced vegetables, ground meat, and tofu in a large bowl and mix them together thoroughly.
- Next, add the salt, black pepper, and sesame oil. Mix thoroughly.
- Next, take your sesame leaves and wash them.
- Once they are washed dip them in flour on both sides. You want an even, light dusting.
- Next, put a spoonful of your meat mixture on one side of each sesame leaf, then fold it shut. It should resemble a taco.
- Crack both raw eggs into a bowl, break the yolk, and lightly mix until incorporates
- Dip your sesame leaf taco into the egg yolk.
- Put some oil in a frying pan and heat it until you get a nice sizzle
- Put your sesame leaf taco into the pan and cook until golden brown.
Beef Galbi JJim (소갈비찜)
This is good! Like really good! Galbi Jjim is one of those homemade foods that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. It is often one of the Chuseok Recipes that most Koreans really look forward to during the holidays. Beef Galbi Jjim is a soy-based beef stew, and the longer and slower you cook it, the better it gets. So, I highly recommend setting some time aside to make this as delicious as possible.
- Beef Ribs 2Kg (can be substituted for pork or lamb) Cut in chunks.
- Hot beef broth 1/2 Cup
- Cooking Alchohol 1/2 Cup (for Halal, dark vinegar however depending on strength may be less)
- Sugar 1/2 Cup
- Daikon Raddish 200 grams
- Carrot 1
- Green onion 2
- Onion 1
- Water 8 cups
- Sikhaye (traditional rice drink) 1 cup
- 1/2 Korean pear juiced
- Onion 1/2
- Garlic 8 Cloves
- Ginger 1 root
- Light Soy Sauce 1/2 Cup
- Dark Soy Sauce 1/4 Cup
- Spicy Green Peper 1
*This is a lot of ingredients, if you can’t find all of them or need to use substitutes it’s ok. Most people in Korea put their own spin on it
- Put your meat into a shallow bowl, and add water until it covers most of the meat. Then, add the cooking alcohol and 1/2 cup of sugar. Leave it for 20 min.
- Remove the meat from the water. Boil the water to make a beef broth.
- Take the ribs and pour the hot beef broth over them. The meat should cook slightly on the outside. Save the broth.
- Put the soy sauces, ginger, shikhye, spicy green pepper, onion, garlic, and Korean pear juice into a food processor and blend until liquid. (If you do not have a food processor, boil for 3 or more hours, then drain and save only the liquid)
- Put around 8 cups of water in a pot, then bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add the ribs and soy sauce mixture. Then turn the heat down to a steady bubble. Put a lid on the pot and leave it for at least an hour. (If you want it to melt in your mouth, leave it longer and check back to see if you need to add more water)
- While the meat begins cooking, get your daikon radish, green onion, and carrots and chop them up.
- Around 25 minutes before serving, add in the chopped veggies.
When it is finally done cooking, there should be barely any broth remaining.
Chuseok Rice Cakes (송편)
Finally, it is time for some dessert Chuseok Recipes. During Chuseok there are different regions that have different kinds of rice cake fillings. However, in Seoul the typical songpyeon filling is sesame. Traditionally these Chuseok Recipes include steaming along with pine needles, which is where the Korean name comes from. However, it can have a bit of an air-freshener aftertaste so many people go without the pine nowadays.
- Sesame seeds 50 grams
- Sugar 50 grams
- Salt 0.1 teaspoons
- Cinnamon powder 1 teaspoon
- Water 1/2 tablespoon
- Lightly mash up the sesame seeds
- mix everything together
Next, we need to make a dough and then fill our rice cakes. This is not an exact science. Depending on the texture and glutenous properties of the flour you use, you will need a different amount of water. I have found that the season the rice was harvested in and how old the flour is will impact the stickiness of the dough.
- Glutenous Rice Flour (MUST be sticky rice/ glutenous rice. Flours made with other varieties of rice will not work)
- Optional: flavor powder (green tea, turmeric, mugwort, prickly pear, etc)
- Boil some water
- Mix a 2:1 ratio of rice flour and boiled water (ex. 1kg rice flour, 500g water).
- Continue mixing vigorously until smooth. Traditionally, it would be hammered with a giant mallet, so really go all in until all of your stress is gone.
- Keep adding a bit of water or flour until the texture is right. It should be smooth and stretchy, but not stick to your hands.
- Once the texture is correct, form a small ball.
- With your hands form a crater in the center of the ball.
- Put the filling in the crater
- Pinch it shut to form a half moon shape
- Finally, steam them for around 20 minutes (for authenticity throw in some pine needles to the steamer)
*If you don’t have a steamer, you can easily create a makeshift one. Get a large pot or wok, fill it with water, and place a cookie or grill inside of it. If the gap between the racks is too wide, cover it in tin foil and poke holes in it. Put the rice cakes on the rack, seal it up, then bring the water to a boil. On trips back home I regularly do this when I crave rice cakes and mandu – works pretty well.
Want to learn more about Chuseok? Click Here to learn about the differences between Chuseok and the Mid-Autumn festival!