Obsessed with K-beauty and skincare? Don’t stop there - bring the hallyu fever into your home with these simple healthy cooking and eating tips we picked up from South Korea.
PHOTOS: 123RF.COM, COURTESY OF CUCKOO
You probably already know about the 10-step Korean skincare regime for beautiful glowing skin, but what’s on the inside counts, too. We visited Busan and Seoul with leading South Korean household brand Cuckoo, where we picked up some handy health-boosting ideas to give your kitchen an upgrade and help you live your best and healthiest life at home.
1. Load Up On Gaba Rice
It’s no secret that rice is a staple in Korean cuisine, as it is in many other Asian countries. While white rice has always been a staple, more Koreans have turned to brown rice, specifically germinated brown rice called Gaba (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid) rice. Said to be healthier than regular brown rice and yummier than white rice, these grains are rich in vitamins B1, B6 and E, as well as calcium, potassium and other nutrients, making them good for helping to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, amongst other benefits. And while they traditionally require over 20 hours to prepare, you can serve up soft and healthy Gaba rice with Cuckoo’s advanced multi-cookers in just two hours (see “More Than Just A Rice Cooker” below).
2. Be Good To Your Gut
No Korean meal is complete without kimchi, of course. This flavoursome and fibre packed pickled vegetable is famed for its probiotic powers and metabolism-boosting properties, and helps keep the gut healthy and happy. And there are so many ways to cook with it – from using it as a side dish or topping, to adding it to soups and stews. But if you’re not a fan of kimchi, you can replace it with other vegetables like bean sprouts and pickled daikon that work just as well.
MORE THAN JUST A RICE COOKER
Want to whip up healthy meals like the Koreans? Look to Korea’s homegrown appliance brand Cuckoo’s high-tech and innovative range of pressure multi-cookers. Each model is equipped with smart technologies that can adjust power and pressure for over 300 recipes, not just plain rice. And pressure cooking helps cut cooking time and energy use by up to 70 per cent. High pressure and heat also retain the minerals and flavours better and ensure that food is cooked more evenly.
The HN10 (pictured on right) and M10 multicookers available in Singapore feature multiple cooking modes and presets such as Soup, Cake, Roast and Fry, are packed with 22 safety features and can produce quality and ultra-fluffy Gaba rice at the touch of a button, making healthy meals so much easier for the whole family. Available from $520, at Cuckoo stores.
3. Portion Your Meals Right
If there is one thing Koreans don’t do, it’s to overeat. That they use chopsticks may have something to do with it, as you tend to pick up smaller, bite-sized pieces of food compared to when using a fork and spoon. But step into any Korean restaurant and you’ll see the ubiquitous side dishes, also known as banchan, that are served in small plates ahead of the main course. These usually comprise of fermented or pickled vegetables like kimchi, which are healthy and also help fill you up. But it ultimately boils down to cultivating the good habit of portioning your meals and sticking to these portions. The Health Promotion Board recommends filling half your plate with fruit and vegetables, a quarter with wholegrains and another quarter with meat, fish or other proteins such as lentils and mushrooms.
4. Cook More Soups And Stews
One of the best ways to ensure that you and your family get the right nutrients is to cook your meals yourself, instead of eating out all the time. Herbal soups, such as ginseng, are easy to make and typically low in carbohydrates and calories. We learnt that some Korean households even have two or more multi-cookers for preparing different types of dishes, such as soup, rice and stews.
5. Hydrate Well, And Often
Think swapping out sugary drinks for plain old water is good enough? Despite having some of the highest quality tap water in the world, many Koreans don’t drink straight from the tap. Instead, they prefer to consume water that’s been boiled, bottled or filtered. This is because contamination can still arise from the water distribution system such as leaching of chemicals or heavy metals from the pipes. So while tap water in Singapore is generally potable, consider hopping on the safe side and boiling your water first, or getting a filtration device that saves you time.
Singer, actor and Cuckoo ambassador Lee Seung-gi of A Korean Odyssey fame shares his secret to staying healthy:
“I exercise a lot, and don’t normally overeat!”
At Cuckoo’s Busan headquarters, we were served Gaba rice straight from the pot. Our verdict: It’s extra fluffy and delicious!
DRINK TO GOOD HEALTH
Keep your family healthy and well-hydrated with refreshingly clean and clear water from Cuckoo’s advanced and stylish water purifiers. They contain a state-of-the-art filtration system with patented filters like the Nano Positive Filter (which helps remove traces of bacteria and heavy metals such as lead and arsenic) and the Natural Plus Filter (to sieve out impurities and maintain water at a mildalkaline level). Further more, they’re designed to blend beautifully into your home.
There are six models in Singapore to suit different lifestyle needs, such as the ICON (pictured below) which dispenses cold, hot and room temperature water with 13 types of water temperature adjustments. It features Cuckoo’s revolutionary In & Out Electrolysis Sterilisation System that enables your water purifier to clean itself from the inside, meaning less maintenance and pristine water every time. Available from $1,199, at Cuckoo stores.
ALL LINED UP The water purifiers are assembled in Cuckoo’s factory in Seoul, where units are tested and screened for quality.