Monday, March 15, 2010

Hot, hotter, hottest! - Meaoontang 매운탕

Speaking of winter delight, (or delight of any season, that is) Meaoontang, Korean hot fish stew is one that I can not miss.
I said not all Korean dish is spicy but didn't say all Korean dish is not spicy.
Be aware! Clear the way! This is piping hot (both temperature and taste), burning your tongue hot dish.

One thing I noticed about many people around me in Boston, they are afraid of fish head. For me, fish head is the best part. It makes nice broth. If it is big fish, the chicks are delicious treat.

This particular Meaoontang has little story. I went down to the fish place run by Koreans. I asked Ajooma (The lady of the house) if she had anything for Meaoontang. She looked for any good fish for it, but she had none. She told me to wait for a min. Then, she went into the back room. Lucky me!!!!!!!! There was a customer (whom I deeply feel sorry for his/her misfortune for missing the best part of fish) who took Kwanguh 광어 (Flounder) only the flesh of it, left me good fish bone with all the good parts left! Ajooma was also happy to found it, and more than happy to clean it for me and packed it for free.

I rushed back and made soup, but thought it might not enough. As a host of dinner, I could not make food not enough (both quantity and quality)!! So, I rushed back to other fish place (since the one I got Flounder was closed), got little more fish.

...It turned out it was totally unnecessary. The bones and inners of Big flounder made more than enough dinner for two. So, this one left untouched for the next day.

The next day, I found my two left over Meaoontangs doing all well-made-fish-stews do.

All the gelatin from fish coagulates ensuring I treated my guest with dish made right. :)

Deagu Meaoontang (Pollock Meaoontang)

Small Pollock (2lb), Daikon radish 1 lb, 1/2 package of Soybean sprout, 1/2 package of Tofu , Korean watercress 1/2 lb, Ssukat (type of Korean Herb, if you can't get it, you can increase the amount of watercress) 1/4 lb, 1 Onion, 4C cold water

Seasoning: 1T dry white wine or rice wine, Korean chilli powder 2T (or up to taste), Soy sauce 1T, minced garlic 1/2 T, minced fresh ginger 1/3 T

1. Clean the fish (ask your fishmonger to do the honor. cut it into the four parts including the head!) and soak in cold water. Cut tofu into desired thickness.
2. Cut daikon radish into quarter circle shape, by first slicing it into 0.4 of inch thick disk shape and quartering it. Slice onion into same shape.
3. Pour 4 cups of cold water in the soup pot, add head of Pollock, radish, onion, and all the seasonings. Bring it to boil and cook it till the radish is half cooked.
4. Add Soybean sprout and the rest of fish. Bring it to boil and cook. skim off any foam that may form. When fish is almost cooked add tofu.
5. Take the pot off the heat, add Korean water cress and Ssukat. Close the rid, and wait for 5 min. Serve with hot steamed rice.

Winter serenity

I love poems. One of them is Chinese poet, Li Bai 李白. He loved two things: the moon and good rice wine. He chased those two thing till his death. The legend has it, he had one too many, and tried to hug the moon (actually the reflection of the moon), drowned in the most beautiful lake in China.
Before my trip to home, it snowed a lot, as we all know in the East coast of USA. The night was ripening, snow was falling till all the night was covered white. I could not see the moon. So I decide to drink it, as Li Bai did.

I had nice rice wine and good Oden soup I made for snowy night. And winder gave me good snow.

Snow chilled rice wine and steaming hot Oden.

I found this the best luxury only winder can provide. It is almost over (hopefully). Saying good bye to each passing season is always makes me think of things that only that season can give.