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Butter Chicken With Gently Spiced Jasmine Rice

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Butter chicken with cardamom and star anise jasmine rice.

I’ve been pretty quiet this week — the fact is, at the end of the weekend, I came down with either a very nasty stomach virus or some mild food poisoning. I’m not quite sure. But needless to say, I won’t be recommending any of the places I ate at over the weekend just in case. As you might imagine, I didn’t really feel up to editing photos of food the past few days.

Speaking of the food poisoning versus stomach virus quandary, that’s actually what caused me to come up with this recipe in the first place. A few months ago, B and I went to my favorite Indian place for dinner after work. That night, he got sick. I was convinced he was nowhere near sick enough for it to have been food poisoning. We also shared all of our food, and I had not even the faintest sign of a rumble. Nevertheless, he has put the restaurant on his blacklist and refuses to ever go back again.

It’s not that hard to find decent Indian food in Seoul, but the main appeal of this place was that it was just up the road. Indian food is just one of those things that I find I get powerful cravings for out of the clear blue — I never plan to eat it, really. I just suddenly have to. So having a decent recipe on hand is a good idea anyway.

Butter chicken with cardamom and star anise jasmine rice.

The science behind why Indian food tastes so good is pretty cool — it proves that all of those vague references in food writing to “balance” are not as off base as you might think. I will say that this recipe is in no way authentic — I’ve never been to India, and I don’t know a whole lot about cooking Indian food. I think the basics are there, though, and it tastes pretty good to me.

Oddly enough, chicken curry is a staple meal in my family home. My grandfather was a Baptist preacher, and he and my grandmother became very close to a visiting Indian pastor and his wife sometime in the sixties. The Indian pastor’s wife taught my grandmother how to make a chicken curry dish that has remained a constant on smaller holidays and at family gatherings all throughout my mother’s upbringing and then mine. Easter in my big Baptist family’s Texas house? Curry, for over 50 years. Weird, right? So in an odd way, I get a little bit of that hometown feeling when I’ve got a pot of this bubbling away on the stove.

Butter chicken with cardamom and star anise jasmine rice.

Butter Chicken With Gently Spiced Jasmine Rice

Butter Chicken With Gently Spiced Jasmine Rice


    Chicken Marinade
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala*
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Butter Chicken
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts**
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced***
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz)***
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala*
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Jasmine Rice
  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice***
  • 1 table spoon butter
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 star anise***
  • 2 cardamom pods***
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Notes for Those in Korea
  • *If you don't feel like jumping through any hoops to get your hands on some garam masala (although it is available at the High Street Market and the Arabic-owned foreign markets in Itaewon, as well as on Gmarket), it's actually not hard to make it yourself with some more commonly available spices.
  • **Korean chicken breasts are much smaller, and I recommend using three or four, instead of two.
  • ***If you have any trouble finding these or any other ingredients, let me know in the comments, and I'll let you know where I get them.


  1. Cut the chicken breast into 1"x1" cubes. Combine the yogurt with the marinade spices and put the yogurt and the chicken in an airtight container, making sure the chicken is covered with the yogurt. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours before you start cooking (longer is fine -- you can throw this in the fridge in the morning and have it ready to go when you get home from work).
  2. Melt the butter for the butter chicken over medium heat in a deep skillet and add the onions, garlic, ginger and shallots. Cook while stirring for a couple of minutes and add the tomato paste and water. When the tomato paste is well combined with the butter and water, add the cream and spices. Stir until combined and add the chicken, throwing out the leftover yogurt marinade. Bring to a strong simmer and reduce the heat until it is just bubbling. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, stirring often.
  3. Melt the butter for the rice in a skillet over medium heat. Add the rice and saute it in the butter for 2-3 minutes. Add the water and stir through the salt and pepper. Place the star anise and cardamom pods on top of the rice. Bring the water to a simmer and reduce the heat as low as possible while maintaining a slight simmer. Cook until all of the water is absorbed, or about 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to rest for 5 minutes. Remove the spices from the top of the rice and fluff gently with a fork.

The post Butter Chicken With Gently Spiced Jasmine Rice appeared first on Follow the River North.

Follow the River North

Freelance writer and editor. American in Seoul. I write about Korean food. I blog about all food. Last year I wrote a monthly column about traveling to different places around the country to explore Korean ingredients and cuisine. This ignited my interest in local foods and cooking, which I blog about regularly now. I also blog restaurant and cafe recommendations, recipes and some background and history about Korean food.

Books & Stuff    Cafés & Shops     Korean Food & Ingredients      Personal     Recipes       Restaurants & Bars

The 798 Art Zone (or Dashanzi Art District) are 50-year-old...

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The 798 Art Zone (or Dashanzi Art District) are 50-year-old decommissioned military factory buildings that have been taken over by artists and turned into an art community. So many artsy things and galleries to check out. Lots of cool stuff to buy, too. 

It’s quite a trip out there and you’ll find yourself walking around for hours, looking at both planned art exhibits and street graffiti equally.

Directions: Subway line 10 to Sanyuanqiao Station exit C to find the Sanyuanqiao Bus Stop. Get on Bus 401 to Dashanzi Lukou Nan (Dashanzi Road Crossing South) Station.


Hi, I'm Stacy. I'm from Portland, Oregon, USA, and am currently living in Busan, South Korea. Check me out on: Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Lastfm, and Flickr.


Snack Recipe – Gangjeong (강정)

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Korean Snack Recipe – Gangjeong (강정)

Gangjeong is a crispy snack you can easily make at home. You’ll find it in stores and markets in Korea. It comes out nice and crispy, not like marshmallow rice crispy treats, which tend to be gooey.

You can use puffed rice or barley and can add in nuts, raisins or anything else, really. You can also use just sesame seeds or nuts to make a crunchy snack. For this recipe, we use rice syrup and sugar to bring everything together.


  • brown sugar –  80g / ½ cup
  • rice syrup – 100g / ½ cup
  • water – 20g / 4 teaspoons
  • puffed rice (barley) – 5~6 cups
  • nuts (optional)


Measure out the syrup, sugar and water into a large cooking pot. Ideally, you should weigh the ingredients instead of measuring by volume. I find it more accurate and consistent while also making it easier to make adjustments later.

If you use nuts, lightly roast them in a pan first. You don’t need to use oil, just put them in and heat them until they brown slightly. This will make them crispier and bring out the flavor.

Measure out the puffed rice so you can easily pour it later. Go ahead and mix in the nuts here.

Now in the pot with the sugar and syrup, turn on the stove and start heating the syrup. Stir as it heats. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down to low. Continue boiling for about two minutes.

Now turn off the heat and pour in the puffed rice (or barley/nuts). Mix well until everything is covered with syrup.

In a baking pan, pour out the mix. (If you have wax paper, lay it out first, it will make cleanup much easier.) Spread the mix and press it down. You can use a rolling pin to roll the mix out or use another pan to flatten the mix.

Move the pan to the refrigerator or freezer to cool for about an hour. Take out to cut and serve.

We hope you enjoy this recipe. Let us know if you made it and how it turned out.


How to Say ‘What Are You Doing?’ in Korean

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It is always good to know a few conversation starters when learning a new language. Knowing how to say ‘What are you doing?’ in Korean will help you start conversations. Not only will this help you get more practice at speaking Korean, but it will also help you strengthen your friendships with Koreans!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!


‘What Are You doing?’ in Korean

Using ‘What’ and ‘To Do’

There are lots of different ways to say ‘What are you doing?’ in Korean, but they all have two things in common. The first is the use of the word 뭐 (mwo), which means ‘what’. The second thing that they have in common is the use of the verb 하다 (hada), which means ‘to do’.

Formal ‘What Are You Doing?’ in Korean

What are you doing in Korean standard

1. 뭐 하십니까? (mwo hashimnikka)

Formal Korean should be used when making announcements, doing presentations, or during an interview.

In these situations, you are unlikely to want to ask somebody what they are doing. However, if you do want to ask them then be very polite about it. Use 하십니까 rather than 합니까 in order to make your question sound politer.


최송합니다, 그런데 뭐 하십니까? (choesonghamnida, geureonde mwo hashimnikka?)

Sorry, but what are you doing?


Standard ‘What Are You Doing?’ in Korean

What are you doing in Korean standard

1. 뭐 하세요? (mwo haseyo)


2. 뭐 해요? (mwo haeyo)

You can use these expressions when talking to people who are older or not particularly close to you.

Using 하세요 is a more polite way of asking questions than using 해요. This form can be used when asking other questions too, such as 어디에 사세요? (eodie saseyo?), which means ‘Where do you live?’

You should only use the ‘세’ form when referring to others, never when referring to yourself. Therefore, you should answer the question ‘what are you doing?’ by using the simple ‘해요’ form of 하다.


A: 지금 뭐 하세요? (jigeum mwo haseyo?)

What are you doing now?

B: 일본어를 공부해요. (ilboneoreul gongbuhaeyo)

I’m studying Japanese


Informal ‘What Are You Doing?’ in Korean

What are you doing in Korean informal

1. 뭐해? (mwo hae?)


2. 뭐 하니? (mwo hani?)

You can use these expressions with people who are close to you and who are of a similar or younger age.


A: 뭐 해? (mwo hae?)

What are you doing?

B: 수영해 (suyeonghae)

I’m swimming.


Other Ways of Saying ‘What Are You Doing?’ in Korean

If you are just starting out, then learning the above phrases will be fine. If you want to know some other ways of saying ‘What are you doing?’ in Korean then keep reading!

Note that the following phrases have all been written in the ‘standard’ politeness level first, and the ‘informal’ politeness level second.


Example #1:

뭐 하시는 거예요? (mwo hashineun geoyeyo?)

뭐 하는 거야? (mwo haneun geoya?)

This is a common way of saying ‘What are you doing?’ in Korean.


Example #2:

뭐 하고 있어요? (mwo hago isseoyo?)

뭐 하고 있어? (mwo hago isseo?)

This uses the ‘present progressive’ tense, so literally means ‘what are you doing (right now)?’


Example #3:

뭐 하는 중이에요? (mwo haneun jungieyo?)

뭐 하는 중이야? (mwo haneun jungiya?)

This literally means ‘What are you in the middle of doing?


A Word of Caution About Romanization

If you only intend on learning one or two words in Korean, then you can get away with just reading the romanization of Korean words. However, if you want to go deeper, then the first step is to learn the Korean alphabet, known as Hangul. This will help you understand the structure of the language and notice patterns, as well as improve your pronunciation and reading.

Take our full Korean course to get all the help you need while studying Korean. This will help you move from just knowing a few words and phrases, to being able to actually converse in the language.


Now that you know how to say ‘What are you doing?’ in Korean, use this phrase to start conversations with your Korean friends!


*Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!

Learn to read Korean and be having simple conversations, taking taxis and ordering in Korean within a week with our FREE Hangeul Hacks series:

Korean lessons   *  Korean Phrases    *    Korean Vocabulary *   Learn Korean   *    Learn Korean alphabet   *   Learn Korean fast   *  Motivation    *   Study Korean  


Please share, help Korean spread! 



The Summer Palace began construction in 1750 as a luxurious...

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The Summer Palace began construction in 1750 as a luxurious garden for royal families to rest and entertain. It eventually became the main residence of royal members in the end of the Qing Dynasty. However, like most of the gardens in Beijing, it was destroyed in a fire set by the Anglo-French Allied Force. 

Make time for at least 3 hours to explore the area and feel bewildered by the fact that this massive area was once just for royalty. It’s the most beautiful place I went to in Beijing.

Directions: Take subway line 4 to Beigongmen Station (North Palace Gate) or to Xiyuan Station exit C2 (southwest exit) and walk west to the East Palace Gate. 

Hours: April 1 to October 31 6:30am-6:00pm, November 1 to March 31 7:00am-5:00pm

Public Sewol Discussion With LA Times’ Steven Borowiec At “Seoul Book & Culture Club”

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Steven Borowiec PresentationOn the two year anniversary of the sinking of the Sewol, dozens gathered at a public event in Seoul to discuss the factors that led to the April 16, 2014 ferry sinking that killed more than 300 people, most of whom were high school students on a field trip. LA Times reporter Steven Borowiec hosted the free “Seoul Book & Culture Club” event where he presented information from his ongoing Sewol reporting & facilitated discussion with both audience members & other journalists in attendance. recorded the presentation & asked the LA Times journalist why he chose to participate.

iTunes 96x33 Spreaker 96x33 Stitcher 96x33 Tune In Smaller Soundcloud 95x33

Interview answers, both in written & audio form, have been edited for length & clarity.










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Itaewon: For Cocktail Lovers?

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This past summer I visited Seoul for a whirlwind, one night only stay after an interview for an MBA program.  I wasn’t there for the shopping or the nightlife, but a couple of friends from Busan were up for the weekend so I decided to stick around.  We checked out Prost, which I have since revisited and which has been jam-packed and unbearable each time.  Up until this weekend I hadn’t really had a wild and wonderful night on the town.  Enter Ramie’s and Fountain.

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Saturday night it rained HARD.  We were pretty tired, and with the rain the thought of going out was an option, but certainly not a priority.  I got a message from a friend of mine mentioning that her friends had taken off and that she was having a single social in Itaewon.  The cab to Itaewon tends to be around KRW 10,000, so we packed the ol’ umbrella and were soon whisked away to the Hamilton Hotel, behind which you’ll find both bars.

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For some reason, the rain seemed to make the neon lights pop even more brightly.  We could see a number of spots we had never explored, one of which was Fountain.  The stone staircase looked like it could be a really cool spot, but we were meeting at Ramie’s so we didn’t immediately stop in.

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At Ramie’s, I had my first Moscow Mule in AGES, which was served properly in a beautiful copper mug.  It was really tasty and well worth the KRW 11,000 for us to sit in the upscale, but still relatively casual and modern bar with some sweet, ambient lounge tunes.

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I’d like to try it out again for dinner (the menu looks amazing!) and drinks on a night when it’s a little busier, as there were only two or three tables on the third floor that were getting any action.  That said, it was raining something fierce!

20160417_051014.jpgAfter Ramie’s we wandered down to Fountain.  Of course, I had no idea that it was brand new, I just loved the old school Italian vibe wandering up the stone staircase to the venue.  20160417_024252

No cover was required, which surprised me as I walked in and saw a huge stone wall that made the bar which was oddly reminiscent of The Alamo, The Roman Forum, and the library of Celsus at Ephesus.

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Even more wonderfully bizarre?  The DJ played a hit list from my childhood.  We selfied a video of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” (which I will most definitely not be sharing here! :P) as well as “I Want it That Way” (Backstreet Boys, obviously) and a whole slew of other jams from my youth.  It turns out I had actually shared a profile of Fountain from A Fat Girl’s Food Guide.  Coming to the realization that I was in that barcade was pretty wild!

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The vibe was insane with the music, the decor, the Champagne (they have G.H. Mumm for a decent enough price as well as Veuve Clicquot and Moet & Chandon if you’re celebrating), the KRW 8,000 Negroni (seriously – where can you get a Negroni for $8 anywhere?!  That’s a 3 oz beverage, ladies and gents!), and the free arcade games (yes… FREE..thank you for sponsoring my new favourite place, Jack Daniels).


I think this spot was built with me (or any other entitled, childish, and fabulous millenial) in mind.  Fountain, you’ll definitely be seeing me again!

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International Wines and Spirits Expo 2016

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When it rains it pours!  If you haven’t already marked your calendars for the Makgeolli Festival at Goyang, or the Korean Traditional Liquor and Food Festival at Namsangol, then you might as well do that and add another!  One of the biggest events of the year in the alcohol industry is happening for a short three days starting on Thursday this week.

Held at COEX, this exhibition shows wines, spirits, sake and yes of course Korean traditional alcohol! There will be exhibitors from 200 companies spanning 20 countries.  We know first hand that there are some artisan brewers showcasing at the exhibition, so if you have any time feel free to get over to COEX and show them support…and of course taste some truly excellent brews!

Wine and spirits expo


Industry Show Days:   Thursday April 20th – Friday April 21st

Public Day:  Saturday April 22nd

Time:  10am – 6pm (5pm on Saturday)

Where:  COEX Exhibition Centre

Cost:  20,000won

For more details on how to get there and what’s going on visit here.

The spring season for makgeolli festivals and expos continues!!

Makgeolli Mamas & Papas

Ox: Smoke and Grill

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American BBQ seems to be taking off in Korea! In Seoul there are several restaurants, including the excellent ‘Linus’ and ‘Manimal’, to name a couple. In Busan we have the fantastic ‘Haeundae Smokehouse’, and now, the new kid on the block….literally.

‘Ox: Smoke and Grill’ is situated in the heart of Haeundae, just a few minutes’ walk from the subway station, in a tight cluster of streets full of restaurants, love motels and Hotels. The restaurant itself is on the ground floor of the Industries Hotel. You can view their Facebook page here.

The interior is light and airy. Cool, grey tiled floors and imposing white marble table tops greet you as you walk in. The banquette seating is plush and black, with modern art installations on the walls. All-in-all a classy, contemporary vibe has been achieved.

The restaurant opened its doors on Thursday April 14th, and myself and 5 friends paid a visit on Sunday April 17th. Very hungry, we dived straight in. We each ordered the ox platter, to share between two people. This enormous meal comes with brisket, pulled pork, and your choice of either ribs or smoked chicken. Apple coleslaw, dry rub fries and two mini rolls are included as sides.

The first thing I should say about the platter, is that I think it represents excellent value. At 36,000, two people can be extremely well fed, as the portions of meat are generous. Now, onto the food. The brisket was good, with a fantastic, flavoursome rub, a well charred outside, and a tender middle. The smoker has been imported from Georgia, and the authenticity shines through. The pulled pork was also delicious, rich and moist, and extremely flavourful. The ribs however, were the standout. Huge, meaty things, with a sticky, peppery marinade that provided a beautiful counterpoint to the richness of the meat. Similarly, the sides were well executed, tasty fries, and a sharp, sweet apple coleslaw that was a lovely accompaniment to the meat. I hugely enjoyed piling pulled pork into the bun, with a generous scoop of apple coleslaw. Fantastic stuff! The only downside to the platter was the temperature of a couple of the elements. The pulled pork and the fries were bordering on cold, which was a shame.

We also ordered some additional sides to accompany the platter. The BBQ beans were extremely tasty. The sauce was spot-on flavour wise, and the pulled pork in the sauce was very generous! At times, it looked like we had more pork than bean! The only downside to this was the beans were also served on the cold side. A shame. The mashed potato was creamy and smooth, with a dollop of the BBQ beans on top, to provide some extra zing.

The mac’n’cheese (a must try at any BBQ restaurant in my opinion) was a surprise. Rich and creamy, but with chopped spring onion and red pepper in the sauce, not quite traditional. However, it was served piping hot and with a pleasing layer of grilled cheese on top. A big winner for me! The only downside was that the mac’n’cheese was served a full 15 minutes after the rest of the meal. It was  hot and excellent, but getting it ready at the same time would have been welcomed.

Ox serves Korean draft beers, such as Max, and also Gorilla craft beers. A couple of IPA’s went along fantastically with the food. These are priced at 7-7,500 regularly, although we were lucky enough to arrive during the opening weekend, so were a steal at 3,00 each!

All in all, I was impressed with Ox. There are a couple of wrinkles to iron out, but it represents fantastic value for money, and you certainly won’t go home hungry, as the portions are extremely generous. A welcome addition to Busan’s dining scene!


To find Ox: Smoke and Grill, come out of Haeundae subway station exit 5 and walk down towards the beach. Take the third exit on the right and walk about 25 metres. The restaurant is on the ground floor of the Industries hotel.

Address: 16, Gunam-ro 24beon-gil, Haeundae-gu, Busan, Korea. Industrie Hotel, 1F

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Filed under: Food Tagged: american, American BBQ, Brisket, busan, craft beer, Food, restaurant, ribs

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