Kid-friendly Glazed Korean "Wanja Jorim" Balls + Smashed Cucumber Salad + Honey Chrysanthemum Tea Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Glazed Korean "Wanja Jorim" Balls + Korean Smashed Cucumber Salad + Honey Chrysanthemum Tea

Family Meal Plan: Glazed Korean "Wanja Jorim" Balls + Smashed Cucumber Salad + Honey Chrysanthemum Tea

Glazed Korean "Wanja Jorim" Balls + Korean Smashed Cucumber Salad + Honey Chrysanthemum Tea

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Modest Things/Shutterstock.com
prep time
20 minutes
cook time
15 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Glazed Korean "Wanja Jorim" Balls

Ever notice how many different cuisines have their own spin on meatballs? From Italy’s classic spaghetti and meatballs to Sweden’s cozy meatballs with gravy and lingonberry sauce to Turkey’s meatballs over rice, it seems like practically every country is in on the action, and Korea is no exception. In Korean cuisine, meatballs can be pan-fried, braised, or boiled.

Our recipe for “wanja jorim” offers a unique twist on traditional Korean-style glazed meatballs: tofu is the main ingredient. Why? Tofu has an incredible ability to soak up flavors, and this recipe is all about the flavors! And this is a very hands-on recipe—mixing and rolling the tofu balls, wrapping them in rice paper, sautéing them, and glazing them in a sweet and savory sauce. The result is a yummy, tender, deliciously flavorful orb!  

Round out the meal with our Korean Smashed Cucumber Salad and Honey Chrysanthemum Tea!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief
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Shopping List

  • FRESH
  • 1 pkg extra firm tofu **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 garlic clove
  • PANTRY
  • 1 pkg rice paper wrappers (make sure each kid chef gets 1 sheet of rice paper at least)
  • 3 T soy sauce **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 T ketchup
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, optional **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 to 3 T vegetable oil
  • 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 T rice vinegar
  • 3 chrysanthemum (or chamomile) tea bags
  • 1/3 C honey
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • HAVE ON HAND
  • 8 C water (for soaking rice paper and steeping tea)

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • boil :

    to cook a food in liquid heated to the point of gas bubbles and steam forming (boiling point is 212 F at sea level).

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • marinate :

    to soak food in a seasoned liquid to add flavor and tenderize it before cooking.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • roll :

    to use a rolling pin to flatten dough; use your hands to form a roll or ball shape; or move a round food, like a grape or a meatball, through another food, like sugar or breadcrumbs, to coat it.

  • sauté :

    to cook or brown food in a pan containing a small quantity of butter, oil, or other fat.

  • smash :

    to break up food into smaller pieces or squash food to flatten or soften it.

  • soak :

    to immerse a hard food for a certain amount of time in a liquid to soften it.

  • steep :

    to soak a food, like tea, in water or other liquid so as to bring out its flavor.

Equipment Checklist

  • Large sauté pan or skillet
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Heat-resistant spatula or tongs
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Small bowl
  • Pastry brush
  • Pitcher
  • Small mixing bowl
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Ingredients

Glazed Korean "Wanja Jorim" Balls

  • "Wanja Jorim" Balls:
  • 1 pkg extra firm tofu **(for SOY ALLERGY sub 2 C chopped mushrooms (about 1 per student—button mushrooms are my favorite)**
  • 1 pkg rice paper wrappers (make sure each kid chef gets 1 sheet of rice paper at least)
  • 1 T soy sauce **(for SOY ALLERGY sub coconut aminos)**
  • 1 T ketchup
  • 4 C water, for soaking rice paper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 T vegetable oil for cooking
  • Glaze:
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 T ketchup
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, optional **(Omit for SESAME ALLERGY)**
  • 1 squeeze honey
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Korean Smashed Cucumber Salad

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 T rice vinegar

Honey Chrysanthemum Tea

  • 3 chrysanthemum (or chamomile) tea bags
  • 4 C hot or room temperature water
  • 1/4 C honey

Food Allergen Substitutions

Glazed Korean "Wanja Jorim" Balls

  • Soy: For 1 pkg extra firm tofu, substitute 2 C chopped mushrooms, about 1 mushroom per student. Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce.
  • Sesame: Omit sesame seeds.

Instructions

Glazed Korean "Wanja Jorim" Balls

1.
intro

Greet your students by saying "Hello" in Korean: "Annyeong!" (Ahn-nyoung). This recipe is a spin on Korean glazed meatballs, but you will use tofu as the main ingredient to substitute for ground meat. It is also a very hands-on recipe. Wrap the tofu with rice paper and brush it with a sticky glaze while these "Wanja Jorim" (Wahn-jshah Joh-reem) balls sauté. This new take on glazed meatballs will be a delightful addition to your culinary bag of tricks.

2.
crumble

Crumble 1 package of extra firm tofu into a medium mixing bowl. This will fill the rice paper wrappers later in the recipe.

3.
measure + soak + shape

Measure 4 cups water, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon ketchup into a large mixing bowl. Stir the mixture until all the ketchup is incorporated. Take each rice paper wrapper and soak it in the mixture for about 20 seconds. Let a little of the liquid drip off the paper, scoop roughly 1 tablespoon of the crumbled tofu into the center of the wrapper, then start rolling the rice paper into balls. This might take a few minutes. The rice paper balls need to be rolled tightly enough that they won’t unravel while cooking.

4.
sauté + season

Preheat a large sauté pan to medium high heat with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Place the rolled rice paper balls into the oil. Sprinkle with 1 pinch of salt and 1 pinch of black pepper. Cook on each side for 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove each ball from the skillet and reserve for later.

5.
chop + simmer

Chop 2 green onions. Place those in the skillet with any oil that remains from cooking the balls. Then, measure and stir in 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon ketchup, 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, 1 squeeze of honey, and 1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes, or until reduced by about half.

6.
reserve + glaze

Reserve the glaze in a small bowl. Return the balls to the pan and turn the heat to medium. Cook the balls for about 2 more minutes per side while brushing them with the reserved glaze.

7.
serve

Once the balls are toasted and glazed, serve them alongside Korean Smashed Cucumber Salad (see recipe) and wash it all down with a little Honey Chrysanthemum Tea (see recipe).

Korean Smashed Cucumber Salad

1.
chop + measure + stir

Mince 1 garlic clove and chop 2 cucumbers into 4 large pieces and place into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon of salt and reserve for later. In a smaller bowl, measure and mix 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and whisk them together.

2.
smash + marinade + serve

Using a wooden spoon, smash the cucumbers! This step will soften and break down the cucumber into smaller pieces. Once sufficiently smashed, pour the mixture of oil, vinegar, and spices over the cucumbers. Mix and allow the cucumbers to sit for at least 10 minutes to soak up all that delicious dressing. Serve alongside Glazed Korean “Wanja Jorim” Balls (see recipe)!

Honey Chrysanthemum Tea

1.
measure + steep

Measure 4 cups of water and 1/4 cup of honey into a large pitcher. Place the pitcher in a sunny spot in your kitchen, and add 3 chrysanthemum tea bags. Allow the tea to steep for about 15 minutes while you make other recipes. (You can also heat the water first if you need the tea to steep more quickly.)

2.
stir + sip

Remove the tea bags and stir. Pour the tea into everyone’s cups. Cheers!

Surprise Ingredient: Rice Paper!

back to recipe
Photo by Water Shine/Shutterstock.com (rice paper wrappers drying on bamboo mats)

Hi! I'm Rice Paper!

"I'm paper, but you can eat me! That's interesting, isn't it? There is also rice paper that you can't eat, but you can write and draw on it. It's made from tree bark. Yuk! The rice paper you can eat is made from rice flour, tapioca flour, water, and salt. I start out as a very thin rice cake, and then I'm dried out to become like a sheet of paper. You can dip me in water and wrap me around sweet and savory foods. Yum!"

  • Edible rice paper was first created in the country of Vietnam, where they are called "bánh tráng" (pronounced "baan trahn"). Soaked rice was ground, salt was added, and then enough water to create a thin, semi-liquid substance (a slurry). This mixture was then spread on a large bamboo mat to dry in the sun. Today, machines may be used to steam and dry the wrappers to export to other countries. 
  • Rice paper wrappers in the store typically include tapioca flour (or starch) to make them lighter and last longer. They are thin and become translucent after being immersed in water. 
  • The wrappers vary depending on where they are made and how they will be used. Some include sesame seeds, bananas, milk, coconut milk, or sugarcane syrup. The texture of some wrappers resembles rice crackers. 
  • Vietnamese spring rolls are appetizers made with rice paper wrappers. Some are filled with vegetables and herbs, and others with cooked meat and vegetables. They can be served after the fillings are rolled up in the wrapper or deep-fried. The filling is the star, as the rice paper has little flavor.
  • Edible rice paper can also be used to create cake decorations, like sails; however, wafer paper, made from potato starch, is generally used for this purpose.

History of Meatballs!

Photo by Marian Weyo/Shutterstock.com
  • A type of meatball was recorded in Apicius, an ancient Roman cookbook from the 5th century CE. Around the same time, there were also early Persian (Iranian) recipes for large meatballs made from lamb. 
  • The meatball is known all over the world in different varieties. It is a ground meat mixture formed into a ball shape and then baked, braised, fried, or steamed. 
  • Most meatballs contain some type of binding agent, such as bread crumbs, egg, or both. The ground meat is seasoned and can be beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, or seafood. Sauces are sometimes added to the raw mixture before cooking, or a sauce or glaze is added to the meatballs while they cook. 
  • Korean glazed meatballs are called "goji wanja jorim" (kohgee wahnjah chohreem). They are made with ground beef and pork and braised in a sweet and savory sauce. Vietnamese "bun cha" (boon tshah) are fried meatballs made with ground pork and served with a spicy sauce over rice vermicelli noodles. 
  • Swedish meatballs, "köttbullar" (SHUT-boo-lahr), are made with ground beef or pork and beef, milk-soaked breadcrumbs, beaten eggs, minced onion, salt, and pepper. They are fried and served with boiled or mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam. 
  • "Kofta" or "kofte" are meatballs found in some Asian, Middle Eastern, and North African countries. They are usually made with beef or lamb and mixed with spices. They may be cooked in a tomato sauce, baked, fried, grilled, or marinated. They may be served in soup or stew or with a spicy sauce. 
  • In the United States, meatballs are often served with rice, pasta (like spaghetti!), or potatoes. However, they can also be added to sandwiches, soup, and pizza!

Let's Learn About South Korea!

Photo by JEONGHYEON NOH/Shutterstock.com
  • South Korea is officially named the Republic of Korea. It is a separate country from North Korea. This is because North and South Korea were divided into two countries during the Korean War in the 1950s. 
  • South Korea has a day dedicated to celebrating their children: May 5th. A children's book author started it because he wanted Korean children to have a sense of independence and national pride. It was designated a national holiday in 1975. On this day, cities and towns celebrate with parades, and children receive free admission to many movies, zoos, and theme parks. 
  • Literacy is high—98 percent of Korean adults can read! The alphabet of the Korean language is called Hangul. King Sejong the Great created it in 1443 to increase literacy. Korea's previous alphabet was Hanja or Han Chinese Characters. Today, Hangul is considered one of the most efficient alphabets in the world.  
  • Seoul, the capital city, has a population of about 10 million, densely packed into a small area. Many people live in high-rise apartments.
  • Koreans have two New Year's Days. In addition to January 1st, Koreans also celebrate the Lunar New Year in February.
  • The Korean martial art taekwondo is the national sport. Unsurprisingly, Koreans have won the most Olympic gold medals in taekwondo.
  • Korean babies are considered one year old on the day they are born, then add another year on New Year's Day. Historically, Koreans have not celebrated their birthdays on the day they were born; instead, they celebrate turning one year older collectively on New Year's Day. 
  • Parents hold a party on a baby's first birthday and place several objects on a table to let the child pick their favorite. Whatever the child chooses is believed to predict their future or a dominant personality trait. For example, if the child picks up a book, they are destined to be smart; if the child picks up money, they will be wealthy; if the child picks up food, they will not be hungry; and if the child picks up the thread, they will live a long life.
  • Koreans are very in tune with their bodies, eat the right amount of food, and focus on nutrition. The temperature of their food matters to them. Koreans follow Eastern Asian medicine principles: on the hottest days of the summer, it's traditional to eat boiling chicken ginseng soup! The rationale behind it? There shouldn't be a sharp contrast between a person's body temperature and one's food—or else, your stomach will get upset.
  • Kimchi, the nation's favorite dish eaten at almost every meal, is made by fermenting vegetables, fruit, and even oysters. It is said to help prevent the flu. Kimchi becomes more sour and potent the longer it sits. There are 250 different kinds of kimchi! 
  • During autumn, Korean families come together to make enough kimchi to last several months, sharing with neighbors, friends, and family. This holiday is called Kimjang. 
  • Korean adults eat seaweed soup on their birthdays for good luck, long life, and to honor their mothers. Women who have just given birth also have the soup as it is rich in minerals and nutrients. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in South Korea?

  • South Koreans treasure children, and family is very important. They teach kids to respect parents and elders. It is a custom for kids and adults to take their shoes off when they enter the home.
  • Many parents have high expectations for their kids' education. Middle and high school kids have long days at school that last from 8 am until 5 pm, and then they may have extra school, tutoring, and homework until 10 pm or later.
  • Computer games are extremely popular with South Korean kids. However, they may also play some traditional games. One game is "gonggi" (KON-chee). It is similar to "jacks" but played with small genuine or plastic stones. One of the tricks is to land the stone on the back of your hand after picking it up and throwing it in the air. Another game is "jegichagi," played alone or with other players by kicking a paper "jegi" (like a badminton shuttlecock) in the air and trying to keep it aloft.
  • Some of the sports kids participate in are football (soccer), baseball, golf, skiing, ice skating, and taekwondo, a martial art. In addition, they like music, especially K-pop music (Korean pop).
  • Children learn "nunchi" (noon-chee) by three years old. The literal translation is "eye-measure" and could also be called emotional intelligence. Kids learn to be aware of their environment, observe people and situations, quickly discern another person's mood, read a situation correctly, and respond accordingly. Nunchi helps a person navigate their world in a caring and intelligent way throughout their life. 
  • Kids have rice with just about every meal. They will eat it with eggs, fish, or another protein for breakfast. They may have "ramyeon," which is like "ramen," a Japanese noodle soup, or more rice and protein for lunch. Desserts made with sweet rice or red beans are popular. For example, kids may have "bingsu," shaved ice often topped with sweet red beans and sweetened condensed milk, or "bungeo-ppang," a fish-shaped pastry filled with sweetened red bean paste, pastry cream, or chocolate and cooked like a waffle.

THYME for a Laugh

Did you hear the tall tale about rice? 

There wasn’t a grain of truth behind it!

That's Berry Funny

What is a foots’ favorite food? 

Toe-fu!

Lettuce Joke Around

What’s green and very noisy? 

A cucumber playing a drum!

That's Berry Funny

A teacher asked students to draw and write about their favorite flower. One of them said, "I like chrysanthemums." The teacher asked, "Can you spell "chrysanthemums?" 

The student said, "Actually, I sorta like roses better!"

The Yolk's On You

What did one rice say to the other rice? 

"I hope I see you a-grain!"

The Yolk's On You

What do teapots wear to a tea party? 

T-shirts!

THYME for a Laugh

What is the Alphabet’s favorite drink? 

T, of course!

The Yolk's On You

"Doctor, doctor, I’ve got carrots growing out of my ears! How did that happen?"

"I don’t know, I planted cucumbers there!"

Lettuce Joke Around

Why must you be careful of tea at night? 

Because it might mug you.

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