Monday, February 9, 2009

Day of Five grains and nine herbes, Deaboreum

Moon dictates agricultural cycle. Lunar calendar, therefore, was very important one in the past. Koreans still follow lunar calendar closely for celebration of the year. Ancestral ceremonies and birthdays in traditional family is celebrated according to Lunar calendar. New years day is not the new years day of western calendar. The real celebration begins with January of Korean lunar calendar, which usually falls around February in western calendar. In the past, the new year's day continued till the first full moon of the year.

This year, the first full moon of the New year, called Daeboreum (the word means great full moon) was yesterday. This is the official end of New Year’s celebration.
In the night, while you are greeting the new moon, fire is lit on the dried bank of rice field to prepare for the new rice season.
Food, like all other traditional Holiday, takes important place in this day.
‘Ogokbahp’ (Ogok: five types of grains and beans, bahp: steamed rice) and nine types of special ‘namool’ made from dried herbs and vegetables is made for the day. Depending on region, the rice and namools are rolled in kim, (dried seaweed, AKA nori) and offered as offering to the ancestors wishing for good harvest and good year.

I made it for the day, too. (It was one day after, to be exact, due to the dissertation committee meeting this morning.) Even though I only used three ingredients for rice and made only three ‘namool’s to go with, the effort and taste counts.
I showed off my skill to my Mother, Grandma, and aunties who all see me as a child even though I am adult. Their praise and sweet happy surprises gave me childlike pleasure: the kind of pleasure that a young child would feel when her parents clap and praise for the first drawing she did. I was proud and happy.

One warning! If you have Korean friend, don’t answer their call Daeboreum. They may sell you their Duwi (meaning heat of Summer, symbolizing misfortunes or illness for this year due to the heat of Summer), which you don’t clearly want. The line, “Nea Duwi Sala!” means you just bought my Duwi for the year. I got tricked several times, and resell my misfortune to the other. If you happen to be the last person to ‘buy’ all the heat of the summer, then your salvation is kite. My father told me to write down my name and let it float away with my misfortune.


my version is short, uses ingredients easy to get. :)
for two people,
small red beans (known as pat or azuki) 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup of short sushi rice, 1/3 cup of brown sweet rice, water
1. soak red beans over night in one cup of water. Drain and rinse, add a cup of water and boil till it gets half tender.
2. soak brown sweet rice for one hour.
3. mix red beans, sushi rice, and brown rice. Add 1 and 1/4 cup of water. Boil it over high heat with cover. Uncover when it is about boil over. boil till there is no visible water. (DOES NOT mean DRY, though) Put the lid back on, reduce the heat as low as possible, and let it steam for 25 min.


From the top, Kong namool (soy bean sprouts namool), Moo namool (white radish namool), and Kosari namool (bracken namool)
If you go Korean market, you can get namool. Namool means simple vegetable dish sometimes it is a bit time consuming. Many poeple are more than happy to buy it. But here is recipe, just in case.

Kong Namool or Moo Namool

1 lb of soybean sprout or white Daikan radish, one teaspoon of sesame oil, half clove of minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste

option: finely chopped green onions, toasted crushed sesame seeds, Korean chili flake
1. Rinse soybean sprout. If you are using moo(white Daikan radish) cut it into very thin strips as you can see above.
2. In the sauce pan with lid, heat one teaspoon of toasted sesame oil over high heat with garlic. when the garlic begins to bubble (which is usually right away), add main ingredient, stir well, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 10 min. When you use soybean sprout, you should NOT lift lid before soybean sprout is fully cooked.
3. Turn off the heat,
4. If you can get, season it with pepper and Korean fermented fish sauce. If you can't, just use salt and pepper. You can add green onion, sesame seed or Korean chili flake.

Kosari namool (dried Bracken namool)

This is a typical example of labor and time consuming Korean food. But it is not that complicated.
2oz of dried bracken, water, one teaspoon of toasted sesame oil (Perilla oil is preferred choice but it can be little hard to get), 1 tablespoon of say sauce, half clove of minced garlic, pinch of pepper
1. Soak bracken for thirty min. Rinse and put it into the pot with plenty of water.
2. boil it over medium low heat for 40 min.
3. Leave it till it is cooled.
4. squeeze all the excess water out. Chop it into desirable length.
5. heat oil and garlic, add chopped bracken, stir in say sauce and pepper.
6. Cook it for five min. Cover and let it sit for 10 min.
Add toasted broken sesame seed if you want.

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