Vegan Meal Prep – KOREAN FOOD STYLE for only $30… Watch video above and check out the written recipes down below!
I know so many people LOVE my budget meal prep ideas where I challenge myself to spend X amount of money for a weekly meal prep. I love doing these because I can show people that being vegan does not have to be expensive at all and you can do it on a ridiculously low budget! This time, I wanted to challenge myself a bit further and only shop at the Asian/Korean store.
There’s a small store near where I live and it specializes in mostly Korean groceries and a few other Asian groceries. The prices there aren’t super cheap because most of the products are imported from Asia so this definitely was a bit of a challenge, to say the least. However, I was still able to make some delicious food on a budget.
I’ve actually done a video a little over a year ago where I talk about some of my must-have Asian vegan ingredients and pantry items. The video goes into detail about the products I like to always have on hand. Have a look:
The limit I gave myself was $30 USD, which equated to about $37 Canadian (I live in Canada). There were a few things that I didn’t buy because I already had them in my pantry – for instance like soy sauce and sesame oil. I didn’t want to be wasteful so instead, I just incorporated the price of what it would’ve cost me to buy. I definitely didn’t use up all of the items especially something like a giant bag of rice or sauces, so obviously, I still had lots of food left over.
WHAT I BOUGHT
- Brown rice (1kg) – $9.99
- Soy sauce – $1.99
- Toasted sesame oil – $2.99
- Gochujang (Korean Red Pepper Paste) – $2.99
- Seaweed – $2.99
- Garlic – $0.79
- King oyster mushrooms – $2.99
- Tofu – $1.99 (I showed two packages in the video but only used one)
- Carrots – $2.08
- Broccoli – $2.18
- Onion – $0.53
- Potatoes x 3 – $1.50
- Spinach noodles – $3.99
TOTAL = $37.00 CAD = $30 USD
WHAT I MADE!
Breakfast – Brown rice porridge, “jook” or “congee”
Ah rice porridge – gotta love this stuff! Chinese people may call this “congee” but Koreans call it “jook” (why does it seem to sound so funny when I’m speaking English? lol I swear, it sounds like a normal word in Korean!). We LOVE our jook especially when we are sick because it’s easy to digest. This is basically the Korean equivalent of chicken noodle soup. I actually love eating jook even when I’m not sick because it’s so comforting and can be filling at the same time. It’s also versatile and you can add different ingredients and make it your own.
I made a very simple brown rice porridge. This will work better with white rice but it still worked pretty well with brown. I highly recommend using SHORT GRAIN rice because that’s the type of rice that Koreans use which is much more starchy, sticky and less dry! I actually accidentally bought the wrong kind of brown rice – I meant to buy short-grain brown rice but instead, I bought SWEET brown rice which is much more sticky. So I mixed the sweet brown rice with some of the regular short-grain brown rice I had. Either way, if you use short-grain rice, you should be able to get a nice starchy consistency.
I don’t really have very specific measurements for the ingredients but I tried to give an approximation. If you watch the video, you’ll see that I cooked a bunch of rice in the rice cooker then I took out a bunch and left a few cups of cooked rice in the rice cooker. Then I added all the extra ingredients, mixed it together and cooked it again to make the jook.
Ingredients (about 5 servings):
- approx. 3 cups of cooked rice
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced ginger (optional: I didn’t add this but recommended!)
- chopped king oyster mushrooms (optional topping)
- More optional toppings:
- chopped green onions
- hot sauce
- If using a rice cooker or insta-pot, just mix all ingredients in the rice cooker (minus the toppings) and cook it in the right setting – I just use white rice setting if I’m not sure!
- If you are cooking on the stove, add ingredients (minus the toppings) into a big pot and let it come to a boil, then simmer until desired consistency – stirring occasionally.
- When finished, place into individual containers/bowls and add desired toppings.
- To reheat: I microwaved for about a minute or two until it was well-heated. Then mixed it well before eating. The mixture gets slightly thicker over time, so you might want to add a little water before microwaving. You can also reheat on the stove – again, you might want to add a little more water!
Lunch – Kimbap (Korean style “sushi” rolls)
Kimbap is a very popular and common dish in Korea. I have fond memories of bringing kimbap in a cute little lunch container to school picnics when I was a little kid. It’s known to be cheap and quick food – almost like Korean style of fast food. It’s savoury, delicious and quite easy to make!
It’s kind of tough to write the written ingredients/instructions – highly recommend watching the video above to see what I’m talking about! I usually don’t measure things properly especially when it comes to things like kimbap or sushi.
Ingredients (approximately 4 servings):
- 4 nori sheets
- 4 cups cooked short-grain white or brown rice
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- a little vegetable oil for cooking
- 1/4 package medium firm or firm tofu, cut into rectangles about 1/3 inch thick.
- 1 carrot, julienned or cut into very thin, long strips.
- 1 king oyster mushroom, cut into long 1/3 inch wide pieces
- 4 long pickled radish (Danmuji) pieces cut 1/3 inch wide (optional, but recommended!)
- Prepare all the ingredients before beginning to make the rolls!
- Cut up
- Heat a small amount of oil in a non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat and cook the tofu pieces on each side for about 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. You can also add a little salt or soy sauce to the tofu for flavour.
- Set aside the tofu then cook the carrots in the frying pan with a small drop of soy sauce and sesame oil. Set aside and repeat the same process with the king oyster mushroom pieces.
- Add cooked rice into a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt and sesame oil and mix well. The rice should be slightly warm but not super hot.
- Now we can assemble the kimbap! Use a bamboo sushi mat if this helps you roll – you don’t need it but it might help guide you.
- Place a nori sheet on the sushi mat and place approximately a cup of the rice on top. Then spoon and spread the rice across the nori sheet, leaving a small edge about 1-2 inches unfilled in one end.
- Place the filling ingredients in the centre of the bed of rice.
- Roll the kimbap carefully by covering all the filling ingredients, pressing down and applying a good amount of pressure. Roll and press the kimbap roll until you get to the empty edge and use a little water to wet the edge slightly to let it stick to the roll.
- Cut into 3/4 inch pieces with a sharp knife – if you have trouble cutting, slightly dampen your knife with a little water.
- You can eat it warm or in room temperature. If you refrigerate it before you’re ready to eat, feel free to warm it up slightly in the microwave or on a pan.
Dinner – Korean style spicy potato and vegetable stew
This is (somewhat) a vegan version of a very popular Korean dish called “dakdoritang”, which is a spicy chicken, potato and vegetable “stew”. I used to LOVE this stuff, my parents would make it for us all the time and we would eat it with a nice steaming bowl of rice. I wanted to make a vegan version of it and it actually turned out quite delicious! It tasted very similar to what I remember the non-vegan version tasted like.
I definitely want to tweak the recipe and make it even more delicious so stay tuned for that!
(pictured above with spinach noodles and served with a side of pan-fried tofu!)
- Vegetables, all chopped into bite-sized chunks:
- 1 onion
- 3 potatoes
- 1 head broccoli
- 2 big carrots
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
- 2 cups water
- 3 tbsp gochujang
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 cup water
- Heat a little oil (or just use water) in a large wok or pot and cook onions until softened.
- Add all other vegetables including garlic into the pot as well as one cup of water. Mix well and cover.
- Meanwhile, mix all sauce ingredients in a bowl until well-combined.
- Add the sauce into the pot and mix until the vegetables are all well-coated and everything is combined well.
- Cover and cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes to an hour until the vegetables have cooked completely. This will taste better the longer you cook it!
- Serve with rice or noodles.