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.


Ahna said...

HongHap Tang feels very friendly to me. It resembles the shape of the regional French dish but without cream and curry. Pure and simple, so this must taste wonderful like other Korean clear soups. I love simple recipes that creates scrumptious dishes!

KJ said...

I also was very happy when I discovered the French dish away from home at Rome, Italy reminding me this simple soup. :)