Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Food for soul - Yoenghun Jorim, Lotus root in soy sauce

Lotus grows in mud but blooms the flower of heaven. That is what the Buddhist teaching taught me. We are always in the world of deceptions, the world that as murky as mud. Yet, our soul can bloom a beautiful flower of heaven, our deed can be as white as a locus blossom.
Besides of its beauty and its valuable teaching, every part of lotus has many usage. The lotus nut makes delicious snack and has calming effects on nervousness. The blossom has used to perfume the rice wine. Leaves make fragrant tamale-like steamed sweet rice. The stem and roots, rich in fiber, are eaten through out the Asia.

I slowly simmered it in soy sauce along with ginger. I didn't like lotus root that much when I was young child. It is one of the food that , I thought, did not have much taste.
I discover now, it actually have subtle but very distinctive taste like the way potato does. I can not put my finger on it, but something is there to taste.
The root is quite hard and take some time to be fully cooked. But I think the wait is all worth it whenever I bite into it.
Lotus root 1 lb, 2 Table spoon of vinegar + 2 cup of water
Say sauce 1/2 C, water 1 + 1/2 C, honey 1 T, dark brown sugar 1 T, whole black pepper 1/2 t, sliced fresh ginger 1 T
1. Peel and slice lotus root into 5-7 mm thickness and soak slices in vinegar water.
2. Mix soy sauce, water, honey, dark brown sugar, black pepper & ginger in sauce pan and bring it to boil.
3. Rinse & Drain lotus root slices and add them into the sauce pan. Put lid on top and reduce the heat to low. Simmer it till tender (about 30-40 min).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Moon, more than a thousand year old song, and Bindeadduck (Mung bean pancake)

Back in high school, I learned about more than thousand years old song . It was song of a wife, waiting for her husband under the moon. She was asking moon to rise high enough, so her husband would see well on his way home. I loved the words for how it sounded. I loved even more to find out a lady who had same habit with me more than a thousand years ago. I often made a wish upon the moon waiting for my father to come back home in the evening.

Making wish upon the full moon is something older than this song. August 15th on Korean lunar calender, the day with the brightest full moon in the year is celebrated as Thanksgiving. There are many stories about how it began. This is the day when all of family members get together.

This year, I didn't go back. I called up my mother and relatives. Made wish for my brother. Remembered my late father and grandfathers. This was a bit of bitter sweet day for me. But certainly I made food to celebrate the day and made many wishes upon the moon. This cake brought a big smile to my housemate, who also misses her husband who is far away now. A thousand years later, we still look up the moon and look down to the moon-look-a-like. This warm pancake filled our heart as the full moon did the sky that day.

2/3 cup of dried mung bean, 2 cup cold water, 2 T vegetable oil, 1 t sesame oil, 1/8 cup mung bean sprout, 3 dried shiitake mushroom, finely chopped Kimchi 1/8 cup, 1/2 t minced fresh garlic, salt and pepper up to taste.

1. Soak mung bean in 2 cups of cold water overnight. In separate container, soak dried shiitake mushroom

2. Place bean in big and deep enough bowl and rob them between the palm, removing skin. After removing 2/3 of skin, add a cup of water and stir very gently (careful not to disterve beans at the bottom) with fine sieve, removing skin from the bowl.

3. In separate bowl, soak mung bean sprout and pour boiling water on top, let it sit for five min. Drain & finely chop it.

4. Gently squeeze shiitake and finely chop it.

5. Mix mung bean sprout, shiitake, and kimch with sesame oil, salt & pepper.

6. Blend soaked and drained mung bean in the blender. Add two table spoon or so of water if necessary. Mix blended mung bean with 5.

7. Pan fired the batter as you do with pancake using vegetable oil.

8. Serve warm with soy sauce.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Summer slips through with noodles - Kong Cold noodle in Soybean milk

Korean Summer is intense; the air is thick with heat and humidity, I felt as if walking in the water.
One thing my mother often makes during the summer is Kong Guksu, noodle in soy milk.
Each family has different way of doing it. Some family mix sesame, peanut or pine nut for flavor. I am use to just plane soybean milk with cucumber on top.
You can do it with plane soybean milk. It may be a bit of stretch for non-Korean that eating noodle in soy milk, but remember pasta in cream sauce? It is same concept. :)

I did it in traditional way; sock and boil soy beans, ground it as silky as possible and add salt & pepper. The process takes a bit long, but it is wonderful meditation for me.

The short cut for making broth is blend a table spoon of peanut butter, salt & pepper to your taste with plane cold soy milk in blender. Add cooked and chilled wheat noodle of your choice.

I didn't like this rather bland noodle. My taste was too young to appreciate it. Suddenly, after 30 and some more years, I discover it as if it is new food! Some times, good things take time to be appreciated.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Peang-ee & Aehobak Namool, Enoki mushiroom and Zucchini

I have an obsession; 'I gotta have it NOW' kind of thing; the thing that some girls can't resist; precious pretty vegetables!
I wonder who dare to say no to this lovely thing.

It is hard to avoid. Whenever I see new kind of vegetable or new form of known ones, I have to have it! This time it was baby zucchini. This precious little darlings are too good to miss.
But what can I do with it other than grilling to show-off its lovely shape and tenderness?

I wrapped around it with another my favorite, Peang-ee (AKA Enoki).
Baby zucchini has perfect width to wrap around delicate enoki mushroom.
Usual way I would cook Peang-ee and Aehobak Namool is slice zucchini in half moon shape and sautee it little bit with garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil for about 5 min or so, add enoki, turn off the heat, put a rid on the pan and wait for another 5-6 min. But I decide to make it little bit more elaborate.

Slice zucchini as thin as possible with Vegetable peeler and wrap it around enoki mushroom which trimmed in same length. Arraigned it on the oven safe plate and baked it in the oven for 7 - 10 min (more traditional way would be steamed in steamer but I choose little short cut).

Some times, arranging food in a little bit different way can result in big delight.

3 Baby zucchini, one bundle of enoki mushroom
half clove of garlic, 1/2 t fresh ginger, 1 t of sesame oil, 1 T of soy sauce, 1 T of Water or rice wine (or just white wine)

1. Preheat oven 380F.
2. Trim Enoki into about 3 inch in length. (the rest of edible part you can use it in miso soup or omelet.)
3. Slice zucchini as thin as possible with Vegetable peeler and wrap it around enoki mushroom. Wrap it as tight as you can since enoki shurinks after cooking. Arraigned it on the oven safe plate.
4. Mix grated garlic, grated ginger, say sauce and water. Spoon the sauce over the arranged zucchini and mushroom.
5. Baked it in the oven for 7 - 10 min with rid on.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pure and Simple - HongHap Tang, Mussels soup

This would be food in its simplest form.
Pure water and mussels or clam, little bit of rice wine, salt and pepper, few green onion, and that's it. Fresh clam or mussels does not need anything else. The sweetness from fresh shellfish is sublime. If anything else is added, it would ruin the delicate flavour.

I was about seven or so. My baby brother about five. As soon as we hear the sound of mussel vendor, we ran to our nanny, begging her to buy a big pot full of steamed mussels. For us, a hot summer day treat was piping hot steamed mussels with little bit of broth. A bit unusual taste for a child, but I came from far south part of Korea, where was (and still is) various kinds of shellfish for every season. I was more used to eat fresh steamed clams, mussels and other shellfish for snack than candy.

I find Koreans, including me, are a bit of soup enthusiast. Boiled food has something that gets us going. The comfort I feel from hot broth is indescribable. Many often consider clear soup is poor food. It has nothing but watery broth. But sometimes, that is the whole point. The calming sensation is somewhat like taking warm beath.

for one person

1/4 lb mussel, 1 1/2 cup of cold water, 1 T rice wine, salt, pepper, and fresh green onion or chive

Clean mussel and place them in rice wind, pepper and 1 1/2 cup of cold water. Boil till all mussels are open. Season it with salt and garnish it with green onion or chive.

You can use small clam (vongola) instead of mussel.

Monday, July 28, 2008

pumpkin kimchi

It takes longer than I expected to write something in English for me, which humbles me greatly.
I hope my not-so-good writing does not deter your interest in wonderful food.
Here is one recipe that I have been writing.
You can read story about this dish at

And here is recipe that I promised Ahna.

Pumpkin 2 lb, napa cabage 2 lb, 5 Green onions, daikan radish 1lb, salt (kosher or sea salt with medium grain) 1/2C (for curing) + 2 T (for seasoning), Korean chillie Pepper plaque 1/4 C (can go all the way up to 1 C depending how hot do you want), Minced fresh garlic 2T, Minced fresh ginger 1.5T, Sweet rice flour 1.5 T, Water 1 C

The process is a lot like making kkakdugi.

1. Wash and draine napa cabbage. quarter it in length, and sprinkle 1/4 cup of salt and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it sit for at least 6 hours till it give out plenty of water.

2. Slice pumpkin into about half inch thick and cut 2 by 2 inch size. Transfer it into big stainless bowl and sprinkle 1/4 cup of salt. Mix well and let it sit for 30 minutes.

3. place 1 cup of cold water in sauce pan and stir in sweet rice flour. Place pan on medium heat and stir constantly till the rice flour is fully cooked. Let it cool down.

4. Cut green onions at 1.5 inch length both white and green part. Wash radish cut it into fine strings. First slice it into very thin disks, and then chop.

5. Wash napa cabbage and pumpkin with clean cold water and drain. Put pumpkin into the bowl, sprinkle half of chillie powder, and mix well.

6. In separate big mixing bowl, pour rice porridge and add the green onion, garlic, ginger, half of remaining chillie powder and salt, mix very well.

7. Chop napa cabbage in same size with pumpkin, and add it into the mixing bowl containing seasoning (step 6) along with pumpkin. Mix well. (Use protective globe to protect your hand from spicy chilli powder!!)

8. Put in tight-sealed container and let it sit for a day at room temperature. Keep it in the refrigerator.

** This kimchi tastes good even with not so sweet pumpkin.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

New photo blog

I opened new place for photos. This blog is good for posting, but I found it little bit hard to post photos. So, please come and enjoy more of my food pics at


Of course, I will keep posting recipes here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How to store a bundle of scallions :)

Most of you have experience that bought a bundle of scallion and could not use it all before it became a victim of time. Here is a solution. FREEEEEEEZE!

Scallion freezes very well. If you are going to use it in the soup or stir fry, fresh or frozen does not make any difference.

Here is how.

You need a very sharp kitchen knife, a few freezer bags or containers, and a rubber band (which usually the scallion came bundled with).

Wash scallions and trim the end off.

Halve scallions and tie them into one bundle.

Cut into desired length

Put it in the bag or container and freeze it. :)

You may have to cry little bit, since green onion, as you can see, has reason to be called as onion. But it is worth trying.

If you don't want to freeze it, than you can make kimchi with it. I have to warn you that green onion makes the strongest of all kimchis in both smell and taste.

Long time no see, my blog. :)

It has been long time since I post the last article. Love is blind and fool.

I didn't know what I got myself into when I opened this blog.

Writing in foreign language is hard.

Writing about a culture in different language is even harder! :(

But well, I hope no body would mind my crappy writing as long as the food is good, which one thing even I say so myself!

isn't it?

Monday, April 28, 2008

cure for all - salted dried pollack soup Bukeo ghuk

Salted and dried pollack-which has several name depending on how and where it was dried- is hard as a rock. How hard? Well, it can be used as weapon or something that you can take all of your frustrations - such as a husband who was too busy hanging out with his friends and totally forgot about anniversary - out.
This soup is well-known as hang over cure.

Now back to the bad husband and his poor wife. The next morning, the poor wife goes to kitchen, finds the poorer dried cod, and beats the heck out of it. The beating tenderizes the fish and may also soothes the mood of wife. Wife serves the bowl of soup to now regretting husband. When he comes back from work that day, he may buy flower or little gift for his wife. No, I am not talking about my parents.... or am I?

Some times you don't need word. :)

These days, you can buy already well prepared and flaked fish in Korean market. The recipe is simple.

Perilla oil (deulgireum*) 1/2 T, salted, dried and flaked Korean cod (Bukeo or Hwangtea) 1/2 C, Half package of firm tofu cut into 6-7 pieces, one half package of soy bean sprout, 3 cups of water, one 2 by 2 inch piece of Konbu, Chinese leek (or green onion) halved and chopped in 2 inch length 1/4 C , salt and pepper, hot green chili pepper (optional)

1. Heat oil in the sauce pan and fry the cod flake little bit, add and soy sauce, and saute it little bit more.

2. Add water and konbu and boil. Skim over any foam. Boil about ten minutes.

3. Take out konbu and add leek (if you use green onion, add just white part now and set green part aside), tofu and soy bean sprout. Boil about five minutes or till the leek is tender.

4. add pepper and salt up to taste.

5. if you want to enjoy spicy soup, add halved green chili pepper just before serving. Add green part of green onion as garnish.

* you can find it in most of Korean market. If you can't you can substitute it with little bit of dark sesame oil.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunday lunch, family style

This was my Sunday lunch; rice with sweet peas, Doenjang ghuk, and a mackerel with pumpkin kimchi: a fish, kimchi, rice and ghuk which is very basic meal in my family. My family came from coastal area of Korea. Fish is preferred than meat or poultry.

Mackerel and Pacific saury (kongchi, in Korean) was cheap every day fish. People say that the fried skin of Mackerel is very addictive, which I do agree; the salty, greasy and some what fish taste may not for every body, but certainly for me.

I found this fish at the market in Boston. The joy of finding was indescribable. This blue-backed fish is very popular. It can be grilled and stewed in various seasonings. Most popular form is simply grilling it with salt which I did.

Pumpkin Kimchi is something not so well known, since it is dish from North Korea. I found it had very pleasant and clean taste. Usually pumpkin kimchi is eaten after cooking. Every time I made this dish, I felt strangely sad. I went Senegal and Bangladesh. I lived in Italy and am studying in U.S. Even though it would take less than three hour drive to North Korea from Seoul, that is the land which I can not go freely.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Kimchi- a poor man's dinner which makes me feel rich

In Korea, Kimchi and steamed barley (without anything else) was considered a poor man's dinner. Depending area and season, staple can vary from rice to potato. But as far as I know, kimchi is something must have. Even for those ones who beg food, Kimchi was given with leftover steamed barley or boiled potato.
Kimchi and staple stands for simplest composition of Korean meal. My friends often say they feel rich because their mother send them big batch of kimchi from home which make meal preparation so easy for at least for a month.

This is how my dinner few days ago looked like. Of course, I had bowl of steamed mixed rice (white and brown sweet rice).
Except for the egg with enoki mushroom, the others were three different types of kimchi, all I made.

I have pride on my kimchis, even though they are no way nearly as good as my mothers. Mine is much simpler -which is an euphemism of 'one note'. The important point is I MADE IT!
Like as all other old foods in urban area, Kimchi in current days is usually bought from shop than made at home. Even in my family, one of our distant relative makes huge batch of kimch, and all of us buy from her. So, usually people give a look of great sincere admiration when you say you can make kimchi. As a student who is alone in foreign country, the one single most missed food can be kimchi if one doesn't buy it from Korean grocery stores. Unfortunately, still kimchi sold in US is not as good as those in Korea.
Making kimchi is something that gives me great pleasure and connection to home. Even though the recipe can not be exactly my mothers, I can taste and smell all pleasant memories of childhood while I make kimchi. The smell of fresh napa cabbage is sweet in a way only fresh vegetable can be. The fiery white radish burns mouth but promises the kimchi will be good. Red chili flake, pungent garlic and ginger is mixed with shredded Asian pear, white radish and chives.

Whenever I make fresh batch of kimchi, it is instant trip to home. The end result is also rewarding - a full container of kimchi! I guess I have been over indulging my pleasure since I now have five different types of Kimchi in my refrigerator. :)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

S, Segments & Streams: food for seaonal holidays

The seasonal food Koreans eat on the specific days functions as a gate that begins new season and ends the old; the signal that segmentation and succession of time. For instance winter solstice (Dong-ji, in Korean) is celebrated with Pat-juck, red bean soup.

Pat(Korean red bean, AKA azuki bean) is red; the color that symbolizes blood. Blood has been believed an essence of power and life. It drives all jealous evil which may lurk on good days to ruin the happiness. The color red also means 'yang': power of sun. Winter solstice is the day when the yang finally begin to grow. By eating this soup, Koreans wish for the growing yang to be stronger as the growing daylights.

The cellular structure of 'Pat' is unique. Each cell has thick wall which allows to be made into smooth pastes or fine powder once they cooked. This characteristic of Pat is fully appreciated and utilized in many sweets and savory dishes around North East Asia.
Pat-juck is usually savory in Korea. The sweetened version is called Dan-Pat-juck. ‘Dan’ indicates sweetness. It is served with both extra salt and sugar so each person can season it as they desire.
Smooth silky texture is both from finely grounded Pat and sweet rice which cooked in the soup. The simple soup is served with white sweet rice balls.
As child, I didn't like this soup. It was too hot, rice ball stick to teeth and was hard to swallow. The taste was rather bland to the child’s tongue But making it was fun. The rice ball is made by all of the household members. I remember making it with my parents and younger brother. It wasn't easy to form perfectly sized balls as my father's and mother's. But I insisted to have rice ball I made.
I made it the bitter cold wet & snowy winter day -an example what the New England winter can offer. The warmth of this soup -or porridge if you may insist- brings up Yang, the breath of spring Sun hidden somewhere waiting for the growing days.

New year's day -which same day with Chinese new years day - is called Seol-nal. The ancient Korean word 'Seol' means something pure and white; the end and the beginning.
This way is also celebrated with special food; Tteok-ghuk.
Tteok’ is various form of rice paste. For Tteok-ghuk, rice paste is made into stick shape and sliced thin. Tteoks are usually sweet but also used or made in savory dish. In most cases they are made with rice. Depending on occasion, various types of Tteoks were served and still are served.

When I was young, Seol-nal preparation began with trip to miler who would make over night soaked rice into rice stick. Freshly made rice stick was warm and chewy. It makes excellent snack for me and my younger brother. Our nanny –who was also worked as domestic helper for our family – brought still steaming bundle of rice stick to home. It was dried and sliced into thin oval shape.
In Seol-nal morning, the special soup, Tteok-ghuk was made with this sliced rice stick. Special broth had been simmered all day since the morning before. Depending on family, dumpling is added.
When we stayed at Seoul, my uncle’s family came early morning and we enjoyed family meal. Unlike holidays in United states are generally celebrated in the evening, Korean holidays begin early with ancestral ceremony.After the morning feast, I, my brother and two cousins would do Se-bea, a formal bow to the elders. In return, we got small amount of pocket money with blessing for the year.



Pat (Azuki bean) 1 cup
Sushi rice (or medium rice)
1 cup Water 4 cups + 2 cups
Sea Salt 1/2 T
Dark brown sugar 1 t

1. Soak washed bean in cold water for an hour. In separate bowl, soak rice.
2. Boil beans in 2 cups of water for 5 min. Through away water and add 4 cups of cold water, cook it on medium heat till beans are completely cooked.
3. Ground beans in blander finely. Add the water that the bean was cooked. (careful!! It is culinary version of lava!!) Sieve it with fine shiv over clean big stainless steal bowl. Through away whatever left on the sieve.
4. Return the liquid in stainless bowl into the pot. Add rice (removed from the water) salt and sugar.
5. Heat the pot on medium heat. Stir very well while it is on heat.
6. Add sweet rice balls when the rice is almost cooked.
7. Serve warm with extra salt and sugar.

For sweet rice ball
Sweet rice flour 3/4 cup
Boiling Water 4 T
Fresh Ginger, ground 1 t
Cinnamon, ground 1/2 t
Pinch of salt

1. Mix rice flour with Ginger, Cinnamon, and salt.
2. Add boiling water and mix well till it forms smooth paste.
3. Make it into 3/4 inch diameter ball. (about the size of quail egg)
4. Boil about 3 cups of water in a pot.
5. Cook 4-5 balls at a time in boiling water. It is cooked 1-2 min after it floats on top.
6. Spread them on coated cookie pan, cover them with plastic wrap after they cool down.
** They are very sticky. Do not let them stick to each other or the cookie pan.

Pre-sliced rice stick 2 cup - available in Internet or in Korean groceries
Water 5 cups
Soy sauce 1 1/2 T
Pinch of salt & Fresh ground pepper
Dried shiitake, 3-5
Dasima (Dried stalk sea weed, ) 3 inch by 3 inch, 1 slice
Garlic, minced, crushed or sliced (I prefer sliced ) 1 fat clove
Ginger, fresh, minced, crushed or sliced (I prefer sliced ) 1 t
Egg, large 1
Leek, washed through 1 cup
Sesame oil 1 t

1. Soak washed & stemmed shiitake and dasima in 5 cups of cold water.
2. Heat sesame oil, add leek, garlic, ginger. Stir and cook till leek is half cooked.
3. Add 1 with shiitake and dasima. After boil, reduce to lowest heat, and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, soak rice stick slice for 20 - 30 min in cold water and remove before adding into the pot.
5. Increase heat, and when the broth boils, add rice stick slice. Cook till rice stick is fully cooked.
6. Remove from heat, add egg and stir.
7. Put it into serving bowl, add garnish, and serve warm right away.

** This is vegetarian version. For non-vegetarians, use ground beef if you desire. Season ground beef with soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Heat little bit of sesame oil, add beef and leek, cook till leek is half cooked, add water and boil.

Kim komung (Nori garnish) - cut sushi nori into thin, short, same length strip
Egg garnish
Two large eggs, vegetable oil, pinch of salt
1. Separate yolk from white. Gently beat each with pinch of salt.
2. Heat gently vegetable oil in coating pan.
3. Pour egg white first. When the egg is half set, turn off the heat and cover the pan.
4. Remove cooked egg white and cook yolk in same way.
5. Cool it down and slice it or cut it into diamond shape.

The garnish is not just for the decoration. Nori flakes is a must!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

D, Desperation & Delicary - Poygobusut Kongnamool Bhab

I often think that the first person who ate many of the delicacy today was the most desperate one; the one at the blink of death by starvation. That person bumped into the strange creatures and vegetation after long and desperate walk to find something to eat. Now he faces new question; he would die if he doesn't try or he will die trying it. Being the first always has risk. For instance, Shennong, the mythical emperor of China, turn blue after trying all the plants to find out what effect it has -good or poisonous- on human. But, who knows? He may live if the creature or the vegetation which nobody had tried it is indeed good to eat despite their scary and strange look. The leap of the faith had been made. And now we have delicacy as result of ancestors' desperation and their spirit of never giving up.

Many good foods come from resilience of people facing the hardship. The ones who had never given up the desire for good life no mater what kind of hardship they are under. The poor farmers wife in Korea had stretched the rice to feed all of her hungry children by mixing other grains and vegetables. Now it is transformed into special rice dish Koreans enjoy: food of desperation transformed as food of delight.
The dish itself remains same. The place and situation has changed. And it makes huge difference.

The rice is cooked in Poygobusut (Shiitake) broth and Kongnamool (soybean sprout). Simple dressing made with soy sauce and sesame oil goes great with the taste if mushroom and crunch soybean sprout.

When I was undergraduate, my uncle visited the school. He had known one place that hidden in the campus served good simple food: a little hut made out of tin just behind the campus in the wood. This was the place the non-students go for cheap good meal while the university campus is bustled with students. They only serves two menu; Kongnamool bhab and noodle. It wasn't hip cool place by any means. The tin hut was small and the tables told the time of their prime had far gone. But the ambiance was calm and mature. The adults who actually made their living with their hands will come alone and eat reading the news paper. No fuss, no nonsense, no ism, no anything- just one quite calm spot the one who actually faces all the bitterness of the society would fuel their energy to face the world with optimism from the good food.
My uncle and I ate with small talk. We talked about many things which I have remembered none. One thing I surely remember is how good the early summer breeze from woods nearby was, how tasty the simple meal was, and how happy I and my uncle were.


4 Dried shiitake, 1 Cup of sushi rice, about 4 once of soybean sprout, 1 T green onion finely chopped, 1 Cup of water

Dressing: Toasted Sesame oil 1/4 t and Soy sauce 1 T

1. wash lightly and rehydrate shiitake in 1 cup of cold water for 30 minute.
2. Add water, shiitake and rice in the saucepan and put on high heat till the most of water evaporates.
3. Add soybean sprout and put lid, lower the heat as low as possible. Cook for 10 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat and take out shiitake. Put the lid back on.
5. Slice shiitake into small pieces and put it into the dressing.
6. Add green onion to the rice and gently mix.
7. Place it into the bowl and put the shiitake peices on top. Serve hot with dressing.

** make this rice right before serving. It does not do well for long term storage unlike steamed plane white rice.

Monday, January 14, 2008

H, Hope & Home - Miyeokghuk (Wakame soup)

My mother used to light a candle in the morning of my birthday. A scoop of rice was placed in white bowl as the offering for the ancestors and spirits, wishing me a year of happiness and health like my mother's mother did for my mother. For the breakfast, she made special soup with Miyeok (a type of sea weed, AKA wakame) and beef. This is the soup served for the first meal to the new mothers after they give birth. It stands for celebration for the new life and wish for the new happy life. Every birthday, many Koreans have a bowl of Miyeokghuk in the morning as their mother had it when they gave birth.

Miyeok ghuk has taste of sea - the sea that gave birth to many lives. The soup is murky and warm. It is salty but has hint of sweetness to it.

The soup, like Kimchi, varies family to family. Some add fresh fish in the place of beef, while some use baby clam. Garlic is used in my family but not in other family. The one thing consistent in the most of Korean families, no matter how much the recipe varies, is the question from the parents to children who lives far away from their parents' house in their birthday.
"Did you have bowl of Miyeok ghuk?"


15 g of dried Miyeok (cut it to one or two inch in length), 5 cups of water, two table spoons of soy sauce, Half table spoon of minced garlic, quarter pound of minced beef, half table spoon of toasted sesame oil

1. Rehydrate Miyeok follwing the provider's instruction - usually about 10 - 15 min. Wash it if necessary.
2. Heat sesame oil on medium heat, add beef, garlic, and soy sauce. Stirr till beef is browned.
3. Add Miyeok and stirr.
4. Add water and boil for 30 minut or till Miyeok is softened