*This post is sponsored by Lobster PEI but opinions are of my own
Ever wonder how you can make Korean food right at home? Well, it’s actually quite easy and today, I want to show you how to make two of my favorites: a delicious Soft Tofu Soup (soondubu jjigae) and Seafood Pancake (Haemul Pajeon) with one whole pre-cooked lobster from Lobster PEI. Perfect to enjoy year-round, if you want to learn how to make these comforting dishes make sure you follow the recipes below.
Why Lobster PEI?
Prince Edward Island produces really amazing lobsters because of its unique “terroir” much like how grapes in vineyards reflect where they grow and affect the type of wine produced. Surrounded by pristine cold ocean water from the Northumberland Strait and warmed by the gulf stream that opens to the Atlantic ocean, the high mineral content that creates the deep red soils and sands PEI is known for makes it an ideal location to produce flavourful and delicious lobsters. The PEI lobster fishery is also MSC certified sustainable, which means that their practices are sustainable and are enforced by the government to make sure conservation measures are utilized to the highest degree possible protecting the lobster industry in PEI.
What I also love about Lobster PEI is that they can be delivered to your doorstep and they offer a variety of options that the lobster can come in like whole cooked, cooked meat, lobster tails, live, frozen, etc. I think this is really important because sometimes you might not want to cook the lobster or sometimes you might just want the tail and not have to de-shell a lobster. I am so thrilled that they offer such varieties to their customers. It really makes them stand out from the rest of the world.
So, you might be wondering why I wanted to use a pre-cooked whole lobster this time. Well, we made a chimiponzu lobster tail dish previously, which was spectacular and perfect for summer bbq season. But today, I wanted to try something different (as I always do) and add lobster with two of my favourite dishes that I always make, and I don’t see too many recipes using lobster either. I also wanted to showcase how to use every bit of the lobster as many people just discard the shells after, which is such a waste when precious broth can be made.
My Background with Korean Food and Cooking
Full disclosure, I am not Korean nor am I trained in Korean cooking but I am married to a Korean (my husband is full Korean) and I live with my in-laws so through the years I got to know the inside scoop on the culture very well and of course the magnificent food. I actually prefer cooking at home more than at restaurants because it just tastes better and has less MSG and oil and so satisfying to know you can make it. The key to Korean cooking, in my opinion, is to learn how to use the ingredients properly which is so important, and to use authentic ingredients which are not hard to find these days. So I am ready to give you the inside scoop – let’s get started.
Lobster in Korean is Gajae so today, as mentioned, we are making two dishes from one lobster and it’s going to be amazing. I like to start by first deshelling and getting all the meat from the two-pound pre-cooked lobster from Lobster PEI; I will save all the shells, including the head and tail, and use that to make lobster broth (much like you would for lobster bisque) for the Tofu Stew.
Gajae Haemul Pajeon (Lobster Seafood Pancake)
I’m going to start by making the lobster seafood pancake first because it’s easier and it can be re-panfried later when guests come after the tofu stew is made because you want it to be super hot to enjoy.
Serving: Yields 4-5 medium-size pancakes
Cooking time in total: 20 mins approx.
½ cup of cooked lobster meat
½ small onion
3-4 stalks of green onions
Half bell pepper
Half of the green Korean pepper or 1 small one
2 tablespoons of cooking oil (neutral)
½ cup of mixed seafood (clams, scallop, squid etc) either fresh or frozen but just make sure it’s all dried before pouring it into the batter.
1 cup of cold water
1/2 cup of Korean pancake mix
1/2 cup of Korean frying mix
pinch of salt & pepper
2 tablespoon Korean soya sauce
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
¼ Korean chili flakes
Green onion scallion (124
Sprinkle of sesame seeds
Prepare the ingredients and cut everything ¾ length. Then, chop up the lobster into small chunks (not mince) so you can taste the lobster meat in the pancake. An important step is to make sure all the ingredients are as dry as possible so you don’t add too much additional water.
For the batter, in a medium mixing bowl mix ½ cup Korean Frying Mix with ½ mix cup of Korean Pancake Mix and 1 cup cold water with a pinch of pepper and salt to create a batter that is somewhat runny (not the same as western pancake batter). The key is to add the cold water slowly, mixing as you go (do not dump all the water at once or else it will be clumpy) Next add all the vegetables, lobster meat, and mixed seafood into the batter.
Heat up your frying pan and remember, depending on the size you use, your cooking time will vary. So if you have a large pan where you can make 3-4 pancakes then it will be shorter than if you cook with a single small pan. On medium-high heat, scoop around 1 tablespoon of batter onto the well-oiled pan first then slowly add more forming a desired shape and size for the pancake and even thickness. After you find your size, pan-fry for 1 min and turn it over and brush over with beaten egg for that extra crispy texture and repeat on the other side after another min. I would say a small-medium pancake will take about 8 mins to get that nice desired crispiness, but it’s up to you.
While the pancakes are cooking, you can make the dipping sauce. After the pancakes are done, set aside and begin making the Soft Tofu Stew.
The making of Gajae Soondubu jjigae (Lobster Soft Tofu Stew)
Gajae Soondubu jjigae (Lobster Soft Tofu Stew)
I found that through the years, this way of making Tofu Stew for me is the easiest and adding in the lobster just makes the soup that much tastier! You can also adjust your level of spiciness with the chili flakes and chili paste so I encourage you to play around and make this dish a few times to get it just right for you.
Serving 1 person
Cooking time: 30-40 mins
(1 whole lobster shell) all the shell from one lobster
1 piece of Korean radish
6 dried large anchovies
3 green onion stalk
1 piece of dried Korean kelp
1-2 tablespoons of salt (you want the broth to be salty but taste it first)
1 package of soft tofu (in a tube)
1 pack of string mushrooms or enoki mushrooms
1 tablespoon of chopped green scallions
6 small fresh clams
Half a small onion sliced
1-2 Tablespoons of Korean chili flakes
1-2 tsp of Korean red pepper paste
1 tbsp of sesame oil
1 tsp of minced fresh garlic
¼ cup of mixed seafood
The remaining half of lobster meat (do not cut into chunks, slice vertically if too big)
¼ zucchini sliced
First, start by making the broth! Boil around 8 cups of water (making lots of broth to freeze and use later) and once it boils put in all the ingredients for the broth and remove at different times. First, remove the large anchovies after 5 mins and then after another 5 mins remove the kelp and then after another five mins remove the lobster and strain broth. The total cooking time for the broth is 15 mins but you are removing ingredients out every five mins to avoid over boiling the ingredients which will lead to a bitter taste so definitely recommend you follow those steps. Now set aside.
Use a stone pot (if you have one) and turn the heat on medium and add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and stir fry minced garlic, seafood, lobster meat and add chili flakes together and stir-fry for about 1 min. Then add in 1 cup of broth and turn the heat on high to boil. Now, you can add in 1 or 2 tsp of chili red pepper paste and once it boils (which will be quick cause the broth is already hot) add in 1 package of soft tofu, onions slices, zucchini, half of the enoki mushrooms, fresh clams and add in 1 egg (semi-cooked) cover lid
The whole process for this part will probably take about 15 mins and the soup is done when the clams open and top with chopped green onions or scallions! Now you can reheat the pancakes for another 1 minute on both sides and serve with rice, Korean side dishes, and of course the Tofu Stew.
Lobster is Good For You
Over the past few months, I had the privilege of learning, cooking and attending two special cooking sessions with Iron Chef Alex Chen from Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar and Chef Andrea Carlson who owns and operates Burdock and Co who made impressive dishes with Lobster PEI. I actually never knew of the many ways lobster could be enjoyed and not only that, but lobster is also really good for you because it’s low in fat, carbs, high in protein, vitamin B12, an excellent source of copper, selenium and Omega 3 fatty acids. And did I mention it has very few calories so what is there not to love?
But I had the most fun creating these recipes and especially being able to infuse lobster with these traditional and classic Korean dishes that I love and eat every day. The lobster really adds that extra special texture and flavour to the soup and pancakes. So I really hope you try it out and have your friends and family say your cooking is daebak!
To find out more on where to order your Lobster PEI, click HERE.