Healthy recipes from top chefs

Healthy recipes from top chefs

With South Korea’s well-being trend showing no signs of abating, health-conscious dishes are an increasing fixture on the menus of many restaurants and cafes throughout Seoul.

It is with such dishes that chefs demonstrate their flair for using wholesome ingredients to create palate-pleasing fare and drinks that keep one coming back for more.

Now, three prominent chefs are making it possible to recreate healthy favorites at home by sharing their recipes.

Haap’s baesuk

Ever since Haap owner-chef Sin Yong-il first opened his artisanal rice cake shop in 2010, he has been serving his riff on “baesuk,” a traditional Korean pear-based drink that is customarily made to soothe colds or help keep them at bay.

Made with ginger and Asian pear, this fortifying drink has stayed on the menu at Haap for over four years now, attracting a steady flow of customers who purchase it by the bottle or glass to help ward off colds or as a healthy gift for that someone special.

Of the ginger in the beverage, which can be enjoyed either cold or warm, Sin, 41, says, “It refreshes the mouth and warms the stomach” and “is good for one’s throat.”

The sweet, fragrant beverage, which is smooth and boasts a hint of spice at the end, goes well with rice cakes that are not too sweet, Sin added.


1 whole Asian pear (weighs approximately 450 grams)

60 grams ginger

1.5 liters water

80 grams honey

syrup (1,300 grams of sugar to 1 liter of water) to add as desired


1) Peel and slice pear and remove seeds. Peel and slice ginger. Add 1.5 liters of water and put into a deep pot with a relatively narrow mouth and boil.

2) Once it starts to boil, reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer for three to four hours. Chef Sin says that it is key to simmer the drink for all those hours in order for the flavors to emerge properly.

3) After straining the mixture, add honey and stir till mixed in thoroughly.

4) Add syrup to taste as desired.

5) Drink can be served cold or hot.

Hearty breakfast cookies

Canvas Cake says its breakfast cookies are low in sugar, rich in fiber and potassium and full of heart-healthy nuts. (Mimiyangheng, Youseok Kim)

At Canvas Cake, a small dessert shop-in-shop that has garnered a loyal following for its seasonally-sensitive, ever-changing line-up of sweets, one will find pastry chef Choi Yoon-young’s toothsome breakfast cookies.

Large, craggy and crisp-edged, these treats taste like amplified oatmeal-raisin cookies and beg to be enjoyed with a hot cup of coffee.

Choi, who studied baking and pastry arts at the Culinary Institute of America before working at Bouchon Bakery’s NYC outpost and Mercer Kitchen, describes her treats as “muesli in cookie form,” “low in sugar,” “rich in fiber and potassium” and “full of heart-healthy nuts.”

Here, the 37-year-old chef shares a modified, easy-to-make-at-home variation on her recipe.


2/3 cup butter

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 banana, mashed

1 cup oats

1 1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

3/4 cup raisins


1) Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

2) Cream butter and sugar.

3) Add eggs and vanilla.

4) Add the dry ingredients.

5) Add the mashed banana.

6) Add oats, nuts and raisins and mix just until the dough comes together.

7) Scoop about 2 tablespoons per cookie on a lined baking sheet.

8) Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Manu Terrace’s sea bass and brown rice risotto

At Manu Terrace, owner-chef Lee Chanoh demonstrates his mastery of seafood with near-flawless dishes like his kadaif noodle-encased sea bass over kabocha squash puree.

Buttery, flaky, but not fall-apart-soft, the sea bass at Manu Terrace is devoid of any trace of fishiness and retains a certain resilience of texture that heightens its light and fresh taste.

Here, celebrity chef Lee, 31, who says that sea bass tastes best in the summer, shares his restaurant’s sea bass and brown rice risotto recipe.


200 grams sea bass fillet

1 tbsp olive oil

100 grams brown rice

vegetable/chicken/seafood stock

salt and pepper for seasoning

chopped onions, garlic and other vegetables (optional)

dill or fennel (optional)


1) Rinse sea bass with water and then pat dry with a paper towel. If so desired, remove bones from the fish. Season with salt and pepper.

2) Heat approximately 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet, at medium heat, sear fish, skin side down for approximately two minutes. Flip fillet over, flesh side down, turn off flame and allow to cook via residual heat for three to four minutes until cooked through completely. Season with additional salt and pepper.

3) For the risotto, take 100 grams of washed brown rice and boil vigorously at high heat in a pot filled with plenty of water, as one would when cooking pasta, for 20 minutes.

4) Strain brown rice and place in pot. Add double the amount of chicken stock or any stock of choice to cooked rice, add chopped onions, garlic or other vegetables of choice and then boil on high heat for five minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.

5) Place brown rice risotto in a dish, top with pan-seared sea bass and garnish with dill or fennel.


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