Friday, June 1, 2018

Free Cooking Class | Learn How to Cook Korean Food! (Daegu YMCA)

Spicy Chicken Cooking Class at the YMCA

Whether your food looks like it came straight out of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmare or you’re the the amateur chef that host dinner parties just to make your friends envious, it is never a bad idea to add a few new recipes to your mental cook book. The Daegu YMCA offers cooking classes featuring Korean dishes throughout the year as part of their Korean Cultural Program. The classes are completely free, so you get to learn how to cook new dishes and get free meals. Besides, how great would it be to post meals on Instagram or Snapchat that YOU actually made for a change? No filters needed!

Hyun Jung Kim who also goes by Lily, manages the Daegu YMCA’s Korean Cultural Program. She helped facilitate the class and answered questions related to cooking. She’s super helpful and super sweet!


The chef conducted the class in Korean, however we had an interrupter to translate everything she was saying to us in English. Since the class was pretty small, the chef was able to walk around with the interpreter and individually assist every student during the cooking process.

Last class we learned how to make spicy chicken.

Here is the list of ingredients needed for this recipe. You should be able to find them at most grocery stores including E-mart and Homeplus.

Main ingredients
1 chicken
Rice cakes (add as desired)
2 mushrooms
2 peppers
½ onion
Cabbage (add as desired)
Pumpkins (add as desired)
1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil
200 ml of cooking wine 

For sauce
1 tablespoon red pepper paste
5 tablespoons red pepper powder
1 tablespoon of mashed garlic
⅓ tablespoon of ginger
200 ml of soy sauce
3 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon of black pepper powder

Here are the specific brands we used for class. 

The instructor was kind enough to pre-wash the chicken, place it in the pot with the cooking wine and water, and set our ingredients on the tables before class started.



Step 1: Cook the chicken in cooking wine and water 

*Make sure to remove the chicken fat from the top of the pot as you continue cooking.

Step 2: When you see the chicken is beginning to cook, add the pumpkins. This is the vegetable that takes the longest to cook, so it is important to add it first!  

Step 3: Finally, time to use the sauce! Add half of the sauce to pot 

One of the things the instructor constantly stressed was to make sure that the water didn’t reach a boiling point, so we always had to keep our eyes on the pot and adjust the flame of the oven.

Step 4: Add vegetables

Step 5: Add the rest of the sauce 

My lovely cooking partner is a much more skilled cook that me, so I let her be in charge of watching the pot to avoid a kitchen nightmare.

Step 6: Add sesame oil

Side note, granted that this is called “spicy” chicken, be aware of your own tolerance for heat. Although we were provided with two peppers, my cooking partner and I choose to only use one. If you are one of those people who have a low tolerance for heat, you may want to skip adding the peppers altogether.

Optional Step: Add a pack of delicious ramen noodles to the pot and enjoy, but slurp your noodles up quickly! If you leave them in the pot for too long, they will get super soggy and totally not good for slurping anymore.

The YMCA was more than generous when providing the food, so there was enough food for everyone to go home with leftovers. The chicken was so good that I ate the rest of it as soon as I got home!

I really enjoyed my time in this class. It was a lot of fun, the staff was super friendly and helpful, and I enjoyed chatting with the other participates. I’m definitely coming back. If you’re interested in joining a cooking class, they have classes scheduled all throughout the year. Here is the list of classes they will be offering: 

Saturday, 14:00 - 15:30

1. May 12  김밥 Korean rice roll : Gimbap
2. May 19  닭갈비 Spicy grilled chicken
3. May 26  불고기 덮밥 Bulgogi with rice
4. July 14  삼계탕 Samgyetang
5. September 1  떡갈비 Tteok-galbi
6. September 8  비빔밥 bibmbap
7. September 15  갈비찜 Galbi-jjim
8. October 6  잡채 Japchae
9. October 13  찜닭  Jjimdak
10. October 20  부대찌개 Budae-jjigae
11. November 3  김치  Kimchi

In addition to cooking classes, the YMCA offers a ton of other free programs including K-Pop dance classes next month. If you’re interested in registering for a class or just want to find out more information about their programs, email


  1. Hello. May I ask how can I apply for those class?

  2. Hi! Email and inquire about their cooking classes as part of their Korean Cultural Program! I hope this helps

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  4. Your blog is very useful and all the recipes seem to be delicious.
    I have also a cooking blog with full of French and Italian dishes over here .