5 Delicious Recipes to Make for Chuseok

Gather at the table to celebrate the season's bounty.

Related To:

Songpyeon

Songpyeon

Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

Chuseok, Korean Autumn Festival (also known as Hangawi), marks the 15th day of the 8th month according to the lunar calendar. It is a major holiday in South Korea — you might think of it as Korean Thanksgiving. Families come together during this holiday to give thanks for the year past and wish luck for the upcoming year by eating, drinking and playing games together. On the eve of Chuseok, families gather and spend most of the time preparing the traditional foods like songpyeon, japchae, galbijjim and jeons to celebrate the bounty of harvest and give thanks to the ancestors. Here's how to make some of these delicious dishes.

Songpyeon (pictured above)

"Song" translates as pine tree (these rice cakes are traditionally steamed over pine leaves), and "pyeon" means a piece or rice cake. The cakes represent abundance and prosperity and are enjoyed by family and friends and offered to ancestors in gratitude for the bounty of the harvest. There are many options for coloring, folding, shaping and filling songpyeon. This recipe makes white, vibrant yellow and deep green ones since these are the colors I grew up making and eating. The cakes are typically folded into half-moon shapes, but I use a different folding method I learned watching my grandmother and mother. Sweetened bean and other fillings are popular, but a sesame seed filling is my favorite and included here. Songpyeon is traditionally steamed over pine needles; here we use a layer of cheesecloth for simplicity. In my opinion these rice cakes are best eaten at room temperature but you can certainly enjoy them hot out of the steamer.

Wanjajeon

Wanjajeon

Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

Jeon is a catch-all term for the popular pan-fried battered food in Korean cuisine, and wanjajeon — or egg-battered meatballs — are among the more popular types. (The dish also goes by dongeurangddeng.) It is one of my favorite dishes to eat during Chuseok, or as an appetizer or side dish at any meal. The meatballs are best eaten hot and fresh but you can freeze them in resealable plastic bags, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator and pan-fry (or air fry!) again briefly before serving.

Saeng Sun Jeon (Fish Jeon)

Saeng Sun Jeon (Fish Jeon)

Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

Of the many types of jeon in Korean cuisine, saeng sun jeon (fish jeon) is among the more popular, especially during the autumn festival Chuseok. Don't stop there: The crispy fish strips are simple enough to make anytime you want a tasty banchan or appetizer. This traditional recipe calls for cod fillet, but any other flaky white fish would work well too.

Japchae

Japchae

Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

Japchae is a sweet and savory stir-fried noodle dish that you can make with as many or as few vegetables as you like. (The word “jap” in Korean means to gather and mix many ingredients; “chae” means vegetables.) Served at special occasions, such as weddings, birthdays and holidays, as well as for everyday meals, the dish is generally prepared in large quantities and is meant to be shared. This recipe takes no shortcuts and calls for each component to be cooked and seasoned individually so the flavors are cleaner and more distinct in the finished japchae.

Description: Food Network Kitchen's Instant Pot Galbijjim. Keywords: Korean Pear, Onion, Garlic, Soy Sauce, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Mirin, Korean Radishes, Carrots, Shiitake Mushrooms, Sesame Oil, Scallions, White Rice

Description: Food Network Kitchen's Instant Pot Galbijjim. Keywords: Korean Pear, Onion, Garlic, Soy Sauce, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Mirin, Korean Radishes, Carrots, Shiitake Mushrooms, Sesame Oil, Scallions, White Rice

Photo by: Matt

Matt

This braised short rib dish is typically so labor-intensive that it is reserved for special occasions, with the process stretching out over a couple of days. The first day generally involves soaking the short ribs in water; the second day involves parboiling the ribs over low heat and regularly ladling out any impurities. Using the Instant Pot, we created a version of the dish that takes a fraction of the time and equipment, but doesn’t compromise on flavor. And for a touch of freshness, we add the vegetables at the end of the cooking process.

Related Links:

Next Up

What Is Korean American Food? The Answer Is Found at Home.

When Eric Kim took an unexpected detour back to his childhood home in Atlanta, he found himself spending a year developing recipes with his mom and interrogating the definition of the cuisine — at times, a complicated task. The result is his highly anticipated new cookbook, Korean American.

My Chuseok Menu Brings a Taste of Korea to Michigan

Chef Ji Hye Kim shares her family recipes and traditions for the harvest festival.

What Is Ddukbokki? A Dish Fit for Kings, My Dad’s Birthday and Me on a Weeknight

Plus, two ways to prepare the dish — do you prefer savory or spicy?

How to Cook Korean Barbecue at Home

With some simple setup, you’ll be salivating over your spread in no time.

What Is Kimchi? A Deep Dive Into the History, Varieties and Nutritional Benefits

Plus memories of families in Korea gathering together to make enough kimchi to last the winter.

An Essential Guide to Making Napa Cabbage Kimchi

Our expert introduces the nuances of the ingredients and walks us through her technique for making kimchi with jeongseong.

How to Cook with Sesame Oil Every Night of the Week

This aromatic oil makes everything better.

What Is Tamari?

Everything you need to know about soy sauce’s gluten-free cousin.

How to Cook Chinese Hot Pot at Home

Many cities have hot pot restaurants, but it’s cheaper to make at home and easier to prep than you think.