Sunday, November 6, 2011

Water Kimchi Dongchimi 동치미

Here's another easy kimchi recipe from Marja Vongerichten's The Kimchi Chronicles cookbook. This kimchi is unusual in that it doesn't contain red pepper. I've seen other versions with green peppers included to give it a kick but this would be a good kimchi for those with no heat tolerance. Btw, I forgot to have sugar in the photo. It's an important part of the fermentation process.

Here's is the finished product. I think the head of cabbage may have been way too big. It should have only filled the two half gallon jars and I'm thinking it should have a higher liquid to solid ratio. It will sit on my counter for a few days and then into the fridge it goes.

Making kimchi 막김치

I ordered Marja Vongerichten's Kimchi Chronicles DVDs and companion cookbook. It's been an inspiration to get back to sharing my Korean cooking. I decided to start with her recipe for cabbage kimchi.
I started the day driving down to H Mart in Lynnwood. This is the closest Korean store to my town. It's about 40 miles. Not only is it a grocery store but it also has a food court and a good selection of housewares.

Here are the ingredients for this version of kimchi. From left to right, napa cabbage, Korean radish (mu or moo), green onions, fish sauce, garlic, sugar, sweet rice powder, salted shrimp, yellow onion, coarse salt and coarse red pepper.

 Here is the cabbage cut up in pieces.

 And here is the cabbage after being salted and resting for a couple of hours. Notice that it has wilted quite a bit.

 This is the seasoning. It's a mixture of garlic, ginger, fish sauce, green onion, yellow onion and salted shrimp.

This is the kimchi after the cabbage has been mixed with the seasoning. 

This just makes my mouth water.

1.5 gallons of beautiful cabbage kimchi!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kongnamul Korean Soybean Sprout Salad 콩나물

Kongnamul is a very popular side dish for Koreans. It almost always included in the banchan (side dishes) in Korean restaurants. I made this version a couple of days ago and took it to work. The 2 pounds batch was gone by the end of the day. One co-worker really liked it and even put it in the soup she was eating for lunch.

When preparing soybeans for cooking, it's important to pick them over and remove discolored ones and any bean skins that are still hanging on. A traditional Korean mother would snip the skinny tails off of each and every sprout before cooking. Thankfully, this is not usually the case anymore. In fact, the tails have a concentration of an ingredient that is great for hangovers. A very good excuse to be lazy.

Here's a closeup of a few individual sprouts. In her cookbook, Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen, Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall relates how musical notes are called soybean sprout heads by Korean children. It makes perfect sense. Also, it is believed that children who eat a lot of kongnamul will grow up straight and tall.

Here are the ingredients I used for a two pound batch of kongnamul. From left to right - ground sesame seeds, sesame oil, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, black pepper, green onion, salt and garlic.

The sprouts are put in a pot with a cup of boiling water. The sprouts are covered with a lid and cooked on high for about 3 minutes. Do not take the lid off the pot while the sprouts are cooking. Every Korean cook will tell you that the sprouts will taste "off" if the lid is removed too soon.

Drain the sprouts. I usually let them cool a bit also. In the meantime, finely chop the green onions and garlic. Mix with all the other ingredients except for the ground sesame and red pepper flakes.

Sprinkle with the ground sesame and red pepper flakes before serving.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Namdaemun 남대문 Great Southern Gate

Namdaemun 남대문 or Great Southern Gate - Seoul, South Korea

This was taken in 2007 before the gate was burned by a mentally unstable man. The Southern Gate is considered the first cultural treasure of South Korea. I'm glad to have visited it before it was damaged. Restoration work is underway. It is scheduled to be completed in 2012.
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Korean Seaweed Soup Miyeok Guk 미역국 Pt 3

Some cultural notes on miyeok guk.
Korea is surrounded by seas on three out of four sides. The brown seaweed is plentiful and very high quality. It's mostly dried for later use.

Miyeok guk is eaten after childbirth. It's very good for the mother's health and promotes milk production. Because of this, it is traditionally served on the 100 day celebration (백일) of a birth and all subsequent birthdays. In the past, fathers-in-law would go to the market and buy the best quality miyeok available in hopes of getting a grandson. There was even a superstition that folding or breaking the seaweed would cause a difficult pregnancy.

BTW, I don't usually eat miyeok in soup. At H-Mart in Lynnwood, a wonderful cold salad is sold with vinegar, sugar, red onions and shreds of crab surimi. I don't get enough of that stuff.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Korean Seaweed Soup Miyeok Guk 미역국 Pt 2

I made another batch of soup using a different recipe. This was based on chicken broth and chicken breast. In addition to the chicken, it also had medium firm tofu. The rest of the ingredients and method were similar to the beef version. I used American canned chicken broth that is low in sodium. I dilute with the same amount of water.
I added more salt at the table.

Miyeok guk can also be based on a seafood broth and ingredients.

Miyeok is bought in bags. The photo shows two examples. The writing in red on the upper bag is miyeok in Korean. 미역 This is what you need to look for at the store.
Dry miyeok is very dark, bone dry and brittle. If not using the whole bag, I try to separate the pieces instead of cutting it because cutting produces a lot of little pieces.

Here's the miyeok after it has soaked for 10 minutes.
Here's a big piece of seaweed. A lot of the pieces have a seam that should be cut off. On this piece it runs along the top. I use a sharp paring knife but it can also be torn off.

After the seams are cut, the large pieces should be cut into smaller pieces.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Korean Seaweed Soup Miyeok Guk 미역국 Pt 1

Here is an easy version of Miyeok Guk.

It includes beef, soy sauce garlic, sesame oil, black pepper, light beef broth and seaweed. Sliced green onions are used to garnish it.
Combine the sliced beef with crushed garlic, soy sauce, 1/2 of the sesame oil and some ground black pepper.

After letting the beef marinate, heat up the other half of the oil in a pot and brown the beef. Add the broth and seaweed and simmer (lightly boil) for up to 15 minutes.
The finished soup is ladled into individual bowls and then garnished with the green onion.
I'll add some cultural and cooking notes with the next post.
Comments are welcome but also moderated.