Meet Heather Jeong: Top Five Korean Dishes to Try at Home

For the inside track on Korean cuisine, we chat to Korean cookery expert and TV chef Heather Jeong, the master cook who’ll be treating our Chinese New Year Competition winners to an exclusive masterclass in Sydney next month. Here she shares the secrets to Korean cooking, including essential Korean ingredients and must-try recipes.

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1. What do love most about Korean cuisine?

I love Korean cuisine because its complex flavours can be easily created at home using a few ingredients. Due to Korea’s long history and harsh climate, there are many fermented, dried and pickled food that have enormous health benefits.

2. For how many years have you been cooking and teaching Korean cuisine?

I’ve grown up cooking Korean food ever since I was 10 years old, as my parents worked full-time. I’ve worked in the food industry for over 25 years, but for the past 15 years I’ve concentrated on teaching Korean food.

3. Why do you think Korean cuisine is so popular in Australia?

Many people love the taste of Korean food and appreciate the health benefits. As a plus, the ingredients are readily available in Australia.

4. What are the essential ingredients for Korean cooking?

Despite the fact that Korean food tastes complex, it requires only a handful of basic ingredients, most of which you might already have in your cupboard. Essential ingredients are soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin or cooking sake, brown rice vinegar, Korean chilli powder (kochugaru), Korean chilli paste (kochujang), ssam jang (a spicy dipping paste), Korean soy bean paste (doenjang), black pepper, sugar, garlic and spring onions.

5. Name five Korean dishes we should cook at home.

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