Friday, March 13, 2009

Hobak Kimchi GhukBahp - pumpkin kimchi broth with rice

Ghukbahp is quite uniquely Korean: it is not exactly soup or steamed rice. This is dish usually have very deep and intensely flavored broth and is served piping hot. I suspect the reason why we have it is due to our winter. It is chill-to-the-bone cold. Sub zero gust runs down from Siberia, freezing everything in its path.
Since it has such a impact on mind, it is not so surprising that in Korea many people have special memory around this dish.

Kimchi ghukbahp is usually made with napa cabbage kimchi. The broth is made out of dried anchovy, sea weed, and head of dried Pollock. This was one of my late father's favorites. He did not have perfect table manner, but did have ability to make everyone to want to eat what he was eating. Even just simple one scoop of steamed rice seems the best dish in the world when he was the one eating it. He really enjoyed eating.

That day, my father drove us around and around Seoul that night. My brother and I was too young to have patience to wait for the good things to come. It was way pass our usual bed time and we were tired and hungry. My father and mother seemed to be very excited about the food we were going to eat. It was food from their home town. Something they ate when they secretly become boy friend and girl friend. It was one of the food that my father ordered to hush-off my mother's younger sister, so she would not tell my Grandma about the boy next door holding hands with the eldest daughter of the house.

Finally we arrived at small crowded restaurant, where the only menu was Kimchighukbahp. I didn't enjoyed the food at all. It was too fishy and too hot. But probably my parents fully enjoyed it. They said ghukbahp was very good. Exactly what they wanted. Since in my family who proud of our hometown, my parents rarely complimented food in Seoul. In our opinion, restaurant food in Seoul was too sweet or too salty, too much or lack of this and that, etc, etc.

This is not the exactly same recipe. I used Hobakkimchi instead of Beachukimchi. I did not use fermented shrimp sauce (which I missed dearly!!) because I don't like the things they sell in US. (Yes, you can see I am my parents' daughter) I am spoiled with my Grandma's specially ordered shrimp sauce. All the things I don't have was not matter. I enjoyed it after all this years. I enjoyed the memory of it, as my parents did some years ago.

Hobak Kimchi GhukBahp

Hobak kimchi (or beachu kimchi) about 1 cup + 1/4 cup of water from kimchi, 1/2 cup of soybean sprout, 1/3 dried pollack flake, 1T soy sauce, pinch of black pepper, green onion, 1 cup of steamed rice, 1/4 cup of Bracken namool (for recipe, see here )

broth: 3 cup water, 3 dried anchovy, 2 inch by 2 inch piece of dried konbu, I want to add one more thing to the posting below.

1. Place konbu in the cold water and let it sit for 30 min. Take Konbu out and put dried anchovy. Boil the water on medium heat for 30 hour. Take anchovy out.

2. Add dried pollack, soy sauce, pepper, water from kimchi and boil till pollack is tender.

3. Add hobak kimchi and bean sprout and cover. Boil for 15 min.

4. Place hot steamed rice and arrange kimchi, pollack, Bracken namool on top. Pour broth over carefully. add greeb onion on top.

When kimchi ferments, it develops unique texture and flavor. It is also a proof of good kimchi. Any minor mistake in selecting and handling the ingredient, cooking, and fermenting will make Kimchi something not so pleasant after few month. Well made kimchi is like good cheese: it can go up to three years (which is often the case in my family) and used in various cooking. That is also reason why you SHOULD NEVER EVER HURRY the fermentation. Kimchi needs its time to mature.

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