Something powerful happens when we embrace our cultural heritage, especially when it comes to food. Certain flavors and ingredients are deeply interwoven with our memories of growing up, and returning to those traditions helps us connect with who we are and where we came from.
That’s why I get so nostalgic whenever I cook recipes I learned from my mom. She’s from Korea, and that’s also where my parents met while my dad was serving in the Army. When they moved back to the US and got married, my mom made Korean dishes as a way to stay connected to her own heritage. These smells and flavors always bring me back to my childhood—when our family gathered around the table and listened to their stories of how it all began.
In honor of my mom, I’m making three Korean-inspired dishes straight from her kitchen. First up is her Bulgogi. The thinly-sliced beef tenderloin is so rich and flavorful, and I love to pair it with a bed of white rice and a crisp Cucumber Kimchi Salad.
Next up is Hot Dogs & Rice, a recipe my mom leaned on when we were on a tight budget. It’s not exactly authentic, but she infused the dish with Korean spices and my kids love it. Last but not least—for dessert, I’m making Red Bean Mochi, which is the Korean version of a Japanese Mochi.
I’m grateful for the way these recipes celebrate my family’s heritage while also passing along stories and flavors to my own kids. That’s the beauty of food—it always connects us back to each other.
Mom's Bulgogi with Cucumber Kimchi Salad
_from Magnolia Table Cookbook
_thinly sliced beef tenderloin marinated in a brown sugar + soy sauce mixture and served over a bed of white rice or in a lettuce wrap
Cucumber Kimchi Salad
from Magnolia Table Cookbook
a crisp cucumber salad with sweet and spicy seasoning
Hot Dogs & Rice
sliced hot dogs sautéed in Korean spices and served on a bed of white rice
Red Bean Mochi
a Korean take on a traditional Japanese rice cake, featuring a sweet red bean filling