Today I’m going to show you another easy, simple recipe that doesn’t require any special ingredients from a Korean grocery store or anything. Just potato, ham, and onion. It’s a stir fried potato and ham side dish called gamja-haem-bokkeum!

How many times have I made this in my life? When my kids were in school I made it once or twice a week for years, because children love it and the slightly sweet, salty, and smooth potato and chewy ham go well with rice in a dosirak (Korean lunchbox). It’s also not watery, which is a key point for any dosirak item, because it has to sit in your lunchbox for hours before you eat it, and you don’t want any juices running into your rice before that. My mom never paid attention to this rule, and I ate a lot of rice soaked in kimchi juice growing up. : )

The sliced cucumber side dish is interesting. I learned the recipe from Buddhist monks in Korea and it’s in my second cookbook. Again, the key point is to squeeze out the water tightly from the cucumber so it doesn’t seep into your rice.

I like an over easy egg on top of the rice, but you can leave it out. Even when it’s cooled down by lunchtime, the gooey yolk is tasty with rice. It reminds me of the many people I see dipping some toast in their sunny-side up eggs at breakfast.

I hope you enjoy the recipe! Let me know if you make it.


Serves 4

  • 1 pound russet peeled potato (or Yukon gold, or any potato)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces onion (about ½ cup), cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 3 ounces (about 100 grams) cooked ham, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ½ small carrot (about ⅓ cup), peeled and cut into ⅓ inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or calorie zero swerve), optional
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil



  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the vegetable oil, potato, and garlic. Stir with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes until the potato looks slightly translucent and the garlic turns crispy and fragrant.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, ham, carrot. Keep stirring for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion looks semi-translucent.gamja-ham-bokkeum-stir
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add the water, soy sauce, and sugar. Stir it a couple of times and cover. Lower the heat to medium-low or low and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the potato is fully cooked but not mushy.gamjahambokkeum-water
  4. Uncover and turn up the heat to high heat. Gently stir with a wooden spoon until the juice is evaporated and the potato looks shiny. Be careful not to crush the potato chunks. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the sesame oil.
  5. Serve right away as a side dish for rice, or pack it as a side dish in dosirak (Korean lunch box). You can refrigerate it for up to 3 days.


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One Comment:

  1. AnnaMarie Abilene, TX, USA joined 7/20 & has 6 comments

    I have watched this website for a long time. I love the recipes. I lived in Korea for a few years a few decades ago and when I came back home went back to eating Western food. Over the years I have developed a lot of digestive issues and gained a TON of weight. After this divorce I am going through I have sat and wondered when in my life I was at my best. Honestly, the answer was when I lived in Korea. I ate better, I was more active, my lifestyle was completely different and I was HAPPY. I started looking around for recipes to get back on track and found Maangchi and all her beautiful dishes. I have recreated, with her help through this site, some of my favorite foods and have started being more satisfied and happier, and guess what the weight is falling off. I think a lot has to do with my copious consumption of kimchi again, not enough can be said for the benefits of that, I adapted from one of Maangchi’s kimchi recipes with what I had available locally or could get shipped and it is part of every meal. This recipe here I cannot wait to try, lunchboxes remind me of the little wooden ones my neighbor in Korea would bring me every morning before I went off to work. I don’t have an Asian bone in my body but I miss Korea, I miss my friends and I miss the food and the culture so much. Maangchi and her recipes have helped me bring a little bit of that back into my life. Thank you so much.

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